AN INTRODUCTION TO BYRON BAY

Article from Conde Nast

There’s magic at work in Byron Bay on Australia’s east coast. People who go there tend to have life-changing experiences. So what makes this small seaside community so special? David Leser, a resident, explains.

“This is a story I swore I would never write. It’s about a little jewel under a lighthouse, where the rainforest meets the sea, where pods of dolphins frolic in turquoise waters and migratory whales breech and sigh out in the Bay, where surfers, hippies, musicians, writers, farmers, teachers, artists, film-makers, fishermen, stockbrokers, you name them; where all these and more have gathered for some great modern-day experiment in living.

“Who’d believe such a story? A New Jerusalem on the most easterly point of Australia with the perfect wave, the perfect climate, the perfect soil; with sunkissed, friendly people; with a Green mayor and a politically conscious community; with fine dining, smart cafés and bookshops; with music, arts and literary festivals, with a goulash of massage and alternative health therapies so diverse you could spend an entire month floating from one to the other.”

“It is also a sacred Aboriginal meeting place. A woman’s place. A healing place. A place where the counter-culture rubs up against the city. A place where Australia first meets the sun and the streets are named after poets and the plumber takes his shoes off at the door.” …

Paradise Found

Byron Bay is the quintessential Aussie Beach Holiday Destination.

The Cape at Wategos offers a luxurious escape in a spectacular setting:

Choose from great rainforest and beach-track walks only footsteps away from The Cape, then Surf the best waves Australia has on offer on your doorstep.

Go for a swim in crystal clear waters and sparkling white sand beaches at Byron Bay’s iconic Wategos’s Beach infront of our property or take it easy and relax on your outdoor deck, watching whales and dolphins and surfers catch waves.

That’s what we call Lodging in Paradise!

We have compiled some of our favourite suggested experiences to inspire you on your stay

Spend a day at the Cape learning to surf at the beach infront of our house, enjoy whale watching from the comfort of your outdoor deck, kayak the bay, hike the rainforest, beach or lighthouse tracks around our property or go for a drive in the country past lush farms and cows to Harvest restaurant in picturesque Newrybar for a county lunch. Then venture on to Nimbin for a bit of fun and jump into one of the many waterfalls on the way.

For the adventurists there are also many outdoor activities on offer such as Surfing, Kite boarding, Ballooning, Paragliding , Horse riding & taking off at a magical spot right beside the iconic Byron Bay lighthouse, Diving and snorkeling around Julian Rocks, Cycling the hilly hinterland, Golfing, Stand up Paddle boarding, Kayaking, Horse riding or enjoying all that Byron Bay has on offer such as exploring the area.

A bonus is that most of these activities are around Wategos Beach, making our location so convenient.

Or simply take it easy on your holidays, shopping or dining at some of Australia’s best restaurants.

We have also compiled our favourite restaurants under the Dining section on the website

48 hours in Byron Bay, what are the must-dos?

The Cape is perched above the golden sands of legendary Wategos Beach and is centrally located to experience some of the finest that Byron Bay has on offer, as well as world-class restaurants, superb wellness facilities and activities for the whole family

A must do is certainly an early morning walk through the Rainforest past spectacular Wategos Beach to the iconic Cape Wategos lighthouse.

Swim at Wategos Beach after the walk, which is so refreshing.

Breakfast at Rae’s footsteps away from the Cape, or “The Beach Byron Bay” or Bayleaf or alternatively explore Harvest in Newrybar or the Woods in Bangalow, followed by shopping.

For lunch drive up to Harvest in Newrybar or alternatively grab some some fresh oysters or smoked trout from the Fish Co-op and some bits from the gourmet deli next door and set up your own picnic on the beach.

Have a mid afternoon break at The Byron at Byron and book yourself into the Spa followed with some drinks and barfood on the veranda

Drinks at The Mez Club or St Elmo’s followed by dinner there, or

Book a table at the local and exclusive Rae’s Restaurant at Wategos (30 meters from the Cape) for dinner or go for a spontaneouse sunset Cocktails and Barfood at Rae’s Cellar Bar (50 meters from us)

Explore the hinterland and head out to Doma Cafe in Federal if you’ve got a few hours – or just laze at little Wategos Beach or The Pass under an umbrella and call it a day.

Sightseeing

What are some must-see iconic sights ?

Probably the boardwalk leading towards The Pass on the Lighthouse walk, or the lookout at the Pass all footsteps from Wategos Beach.

Favourite Beach:

We love little Wategos. (on the eastern conrer side of Wategos beach)

We also love a walk on Tallows Beach (Cosy Corner end) as its so secluded and wild and it feels you are a million miles away from everything.

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Located at Cape Byron Walking Track, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481

Newrybar

A small town with a deli, Newrybar Merchants, and Harvest restaurant. Cute excursion

Just 20 minutes’ drive from The Cape is Bangalow, a small village packed with beautiful boutique stores. Visit ROWIE to discover another talented local designer (she also has a store in Byron), and Millar & More for irresistible fashions and homewares and the Island Luxe shop

FederalDoma café- Japanese restaurant for lunch

Mullimbimby – Markets on Friday and “Milk and Honey “for great pizza

Brunswick heads – Brunswick river and township

Cape Byron Distillery

Located at 80 St Helena Rd, McLeods Shoot, NSW, 2479

Local distillery that also makes muesli

Around the corner. Famous Rae’s , amazing food, great views. Open for Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Byron bay ballooning

Fancy a balloon flight to view Byron Bay’s beauty?

Kayak Tours

Kayak tour to see Whales and Dolphins

Learn to surf

rustymillersurf.com

Byron is worldfamous for its surf. Don’t miss out.

Byron boasts some of the world’s most spectacular surf beaches. The pace of life is easy-going, the local welcome genuine and the location out of this world.

Surfing is an exhilarating, healthy and fun experience. Private lessons offer one-on-one instruction. They will cover a range of topics from surfing fundamentals to ocean safety. Each lesson is tailored to your skill and experience level.

Horse Riding on The Beach

https://www.zephyrhorses.com/

Explore the Hinterland with Guides

small personalized Tours including Paddock to plate, girls days out, boys days out, boozy days in the bay etc

www.greentreehop.com

walking Tracks

Couple at Byron bay lighthouse walk

Elements has compiled some great walking track suggestions around Byron Bay:

Hinterland hills, endless beaches and tranquil trails that reconnect you to yourself and nature all around – walking in Byron Bay is a year-round pleasure.

Nature Walk and Bird Watching: Enjoy a hike to explore the extensive wilderness around The Cape at Wategos and get up close to local flora and fauna.

Whether you prefer a flat beach stroll or challenging rainforest summit climb, there’s a walk for everyone in and around Byron Bay. Each is accompanied with near faultless scenery that will have you stopping regularly to stare (and snap a few photos!)

Here are five of the best local Byron Bay walks to enjoy during your next visit.

minyon falls aerial

Minyon Falls

13km (3-4 hour return trip) – dirt track, some basic scrambling and steep insections

One of the Byron Hinterland’s real gems, Minyon Falls, offers a range of trail options. From a short stroll connecting the car park (directions) to the viewing platform (about 15/20 mins return) to the longer hike we’ve featured below, there’s a whole host of ways to access these 100m waterfalls surrounded by stunning rainforest.

The longer hike begins at a trailhead located around 1km before the main viewing car park (directions). The road up to both is a well-maintained dirt road suitable for most cars.

Head down into the forest and descend via switchbacks for around 1km to reach Repentance Creek. Continue along this path which, with a short section of rock hopping, leads you directly to the foot of the falls. After a quick dip (no sunscreen, please), cross the creek and continue along the loop track as it climbs up towards the escarpment.

As you ascend, enjoy the views of Condong Falls. At the Quandong Falls fork, keep to the Minyon Falls Loop Track (on the right) and follow the escarpment to the top of Minyon Falls. This section is exposed, so ensure you have sunscreen ready-at-hand. After taking in the spectacular views about the falls, head back down the road to the trailhead.

You can read more about the falls and watch some gorgeous footage of this hidden gem in our Minyon Falls article.

family walking on the beach

Beach Walk from Brunswick Heads

Time and distance variable – flat all the way

If a beach stroll is what you’re seeking, you’re spoiled for choice around Byron Bay. There’s Byron’s Main Beach and The Pass, Suffolk Park’s Tallows Beach and the (almost) unbroken stretches south to Ballina and north to the Gold Coast.

But the beach walk from Brunswick Heads is a firm favourite.

Park in the fishing village (directions), which boasts a great range of cafes, shops and plenty of grass areas perfect for a picnic, then wander out towards the sea wall. From here, turn right and head out along the beach, bordered on one side by coastal bush and on the other by breaking waves.

This beach continues unbroken all the way to Byron Bay—though that’s a little over 10km away—so it’s perfect for a stroll of any length. Just remember to turn around and head back to Brunswick Heads before dark!


Three Sisters Track

1.6km – 30-45 mins – gently undulating dirt track

The Three Sisters Walking Track gives quick access to spectacular ocean views and a non-challenging coastal bush trail to the south of Byron Bay. It’s a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy some serenity.

The walk begins at Broken Head car park (directions). With the beach to your left, spot the trailhead tucked up a small grassy rise and under the canopy of coastal flora. Follow this track to its logical end, where it dives down steeply to the right to meet Kings Beach (this is the start an alternative loop route that’s only available at low tide).

En route, take time to read the aboriginal history of the Three Sisters and enjoy a little picnic on the grass overlooking the ocean.

Walk in Arakwal Bundjalung Footsteps 

Walks of various lengths – Aboriginal cultural activities and guide

Australia is home to the oldest culture in the world. Walk alongside local Arakwal Bundjalung elder Delta Kay through important cultural sites, taste bush food you’ve picked yourself or make your own ochre body paint.

Learn about the stories and traditions of the Arakwal Bundjalung people and connect with this truly unique place.


byron bay lighthouse walking trail

Byron Bay Lighthouse

5km – 1-2 hours – undulating paths, some steep

The Cape Byron Walking Track, known locally as the Lighthouse Walk, is a loop trail that takes in beach, lighthouse and rainforest, as well as some of Byron’s most spectacular views. It involves a paved path, stairs, a stretch of sand and some trail.

There are many variations on this trail, but our recommended route begins and ends at Clarkes Beach car park (directions). Head down to the beach via the staircase alongside Beach Byron Bay, then turn right along the sand, away from the town centre. Walk to the Fisherman’s Lookout then head up to and through The Pass car park, up the stairs that lead over the cliff and down to Wategos Beach.

At the far end of this idyllic cove is a paved path rising to your left. These lead directly to the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse.

Take time to enjoy the views en route, including those from Australia’s most easterly point. After pausing at the top, continue past the cafe and toilets, and follow the curving road until the pavement’s end.

Disappear into the forest up the steep paved path, passing the hang gliding launch point, and follow this trail as it undulates to its end. You’ll re-emerge by Captain Cook’s car park. Turn left and wander back down the road to refind the trailhead.

Your reward for this Byron Bay walk? A host of cafes and restaurants ready for you to refuel, share and reflect all those views. Looking for more walks in Byron Bay? Check out the Byron Trails book.


 East Ballina to Lennox Head Coastal Walk

13km – 3-4 hours – undulating paths, some steep

Get ready for the drama! Sheer cliffs, long stretches of beaches, 150-year-old surf clubs and sweeping views – this recreation path is 13 kilometres in length and takes approximately four hours one-way. We recommend driving to Shaws Bay in East Ballina to begin the walk as it’s easy to catch the bus back from Lennox Head afterwards.

Some of our favourite elements of the walk include historic Fenwick House and the Lighthouse Beach Surf Club, the volcanic red cliff tops on the path up to Whites Head and then into the town of Lennox Heads.

A significant portion of the track is open which allows for wonderful views, but please ensure you come prepared with sunscreen, hats, water and snacks.

Want more inspiration for things to do in Byron Bay? Check out Element’s Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay.

Drinks & Nightlife

Rae’s Bar

Around the corner from The Cape at Wategos –– our Local favourite:

Start the night with cocktails at Rae’s Bar and some snacks

The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

Located at Byron Bay, NSW, 2481

Great Bar with cute decor, nice food to enjoy the Byron Township

Byron at Byron

Start the night with cocktails on the verandah overlooking the pool

The Mez Club

Known for Bar

Great Bar with cute decor,

The Mez Club – don’t leave without trying the Salted Caramel Russian or the Butterscotch Martini

St Elmo’s

Great cocktails and Spanish style tapas

La Locura

Mexican cocktails and snacks in town

Top Byron Shops

Island Luxe in Bangalow and Island Luxe Tribe in Byron are both a must;

Ahoy Trader (both are also great for kids)

Nikau for flowers and homewares

Hendrix and Harlow or Hope & May for homewares,

Spell & The Gypsy – Modern boho fashions, designed right here in Byron Bay and loved around the world.

Take a stroll around Centennial Circuit, Banksia Drive and the numerous small streets that make up this revitalised shopping district.

St Agni – Handmade leather footwear and women’s clothes with a distinctive Mediterranean style.

Stitch and Hide– Leather goods that beautifully blend the fashions of Australia and Southern California.

And, of course, a short stroll north is arguably the most recent exciting recent addition to shopping in Byron Bay – Habitat.

This minimalist complex has curated a selection of the best local designers’ latest creations. There’s a delicious eatery, Barrio, across the courtyard and a whole host of health and wellbeing spaces, such as the boutique pilates studio, either Body Mind Life in Town or at the Industrial Estate BENDE Byron Bay.

And if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, head out to Bangalow in the Byron hinterland.

Just 20 minutes’ drive from The Cape is Bangalow, a small village packed with beautiful boutique stores. Visit ROWIE to discover another talented local designer (she also has a store in Byron), and Millar & More for irresistible fashions and homewares.

And while you’re grabbing a coffee at Harvest, stop in at artisan collective Newrybar Merchants – it’s become a bit of an institution.

Don’t miss out on the Honesty food stalls in the hills around Bangalow and Midgen Flat Road.

Creature Yoga. It’s an institution, get there early because it fills out.

Habitat at the industrial estate.

Health, Massages and Fitness

Start the day with a Walk up to the lighthouse on The Cape Byron Walking track leads from our local beach, Wategos Beach, then up to Cape Byron Lighthouse.

En route, you’ll pass Australia’s most easterly point, a side trail leading to Little Wategos beach and near constant stunning views of the ocean and coastal bush.

Then head for breakfast to “The Beach” , Topshop or Bayleaf, by walking on the beach for 20 minute walk towards The Pass .

There’s even an exhilarating forest track that makes this a loop route and makes this a varied experience including road, stairs and trail.

If you like to run in the monrings you’ll find a plethora of paths, not to mention beautiful beaches, to enjoy in Byron Bay. (Our favourite would be Cosy Corner on Tallows beach for a long beach run with nobody in sight.)

If you prefer yoga or fitness classes in the morning then you might be interested in

BENDE Byron Bay – (yoga/ pilates classes)
Suite 35 C2, 1 Porter Street, Byron Bay

  • From $25/class. Holiday packages available (book online)
  • Classes start at 6:30am most days

The Academy
74 Centennial Place, Byron Bay

  • From $20/class. Holiday packages available (inquire online)
  • Morning Conditioning classes | 6-6: 45 am Mon – Fri

Spa DAY at the Byron at Byron

One of our favourite past times and a perfect way to start your holiday is to book in a lazy afternoon at the Byron at Byron for a Spa and massage treatment.

The lovely setting is truly relaxing and will ease you right into holiday mood.

Follow your Spa treatment with drinks and food on the veranda watching the sunset and overlooking the majestic Rainforest & Pool.

Make sure to book in early, as they do get booked out.

Its a great option also for a rainy day.

Parks & Nature

Cape Byron Walking Track

Located at Cape Byron Walking Track, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481

Great hiking trail behind our property

Mt Warning Rainforest Park

Located at 153 Mt Warning Rd, Mt Warning, NSW, 2484

Known for State & National Park

Old and beautiful National park with some restaurants such as Mavis kitchen.

Minyon Falls lookout

Located at Minyon Platform Track, Whian Whian, NSW, 2480

Beautiful Waterfall and Track through the National Park

Massages and other In House treatments

Book in advance to make sure you don’t miss out.

Enjoy a range of Beauty and massage treatments in the comfort of your suite or the outdoor deck.

Please contact Ally on Mobile: 0411 375 084
for Spa Menu so you can book in more treatments visit aleshiamarie.com
You will also find a Copy in the Room

Private concierge Service

Make the most of your Byron Bay Experience by engaging the services of a private concierge service.

We can highly recommend the services of Caplice Concierge who will be delighted to help you arrange a most unforgettable Byron Bay holiday experience .

Experiences include Cooking Classes, Farmers Markets, Dining arrangements, airport transfers, Babysitting, personal errands and assistance, premium event tickets etc.

For further information and pricing please view this website https://capliceconcierge.com or contact Chrissy directly under: +61 402 170 337 or chrissy@capliceconcierge.com