Byron Bay through our eyes – Our guide, insights and more!

complete byron bay guide things to do where to stay food cafes

Picture this – a quintessential coastal town, chilled vibes, great food, gorgeous men, bare foot babes, surfers lining up along the break, live music, humming nightlife… chances are you’re imaging Byron, whether you’ve actually been here or not.

Byron screams what we can only imagine foreigners expect when they book a fight down under, drawing thousands of international travellers each year. Which makes its indigenous name of ‘Cavvanbah’ meaning ‘meeting place’ quite fitting. Chances are if you’re looking to meet some interesting travellers along the way Byron is the place to be.

We’ve both visited for short get aways multiple times, and each time it’s nailed the brief. Tess visited post finishing high school, where it fit the ‘party vibes’. We have done trips as a couple for a romantic stay, and with friends. The purpose of our 5 day visit this time was as a ‘mini-moon’ after our Mornington Peninsula wedding in March (stay tuned to the blog for a few photos). Byron fits the perfect mould for a relaxed few days away, especially from Melbourne where the flight time is around 1.5hours (Melbourne to Ballina). As we rode the emotional rollercoaster of the wedding, this little getaway was an ideal location to stop, reset, and do not much… but have a great time doing it.

See below a list of our favourite things to do while you’re here as well as our top picks for cafes, restaurants and bars. This isn’t a complete list, but it canvases some of what we loved during our stay and think you might enjoy for your upcoming visit!

Some of our favourite things to do in Byron Bay!

Byron is perfect if you want to do a lot, or do not much. We have listed a couple of the best things to do during a visit to Byron Bay, including some of our favourites from this trip and others:

Enjoy the beaches!

Byron Bay is famous for stunning coastline, with crystal clear water and white sand beaches. It something from an Australian tourism add.. literally. While they are ‘surf beaches’, many of them sit in little bays/coves meaning while there are waves and currents, it’s not a ‘rough’ as some areas. We have listed a few of our favourite beaches below, but the entire coastline along Northern NSW is beautiful. We spent much of time during Byron visits enjoying these beaches and you definitely should too!

Enjoy the hospitality scene

Byron has some excellent restaurants, both fancy level and relaxed cheaper options. We have tried most of them over our multiple trips, and will share some of our favourites below! We loved the Asian and Asian-fusion cuisine, plus the multiple good Mexican cantina’s never goes astray! Additionally, Byron Bay has an thriving café scene! There are a lot of ‘nomad’ style workers in Byron, with café’s forming workspaces for many. You know us well enough now, we are a sucker for 2-3 coffees a day on holidays, so of course we have tried most of the best cafés in Byron Bay. Read below for our top picks!

Listen to live music along the foreshore

Some of Tess’s favourite memories from her trips to Byron centre listening to live music on the foreshore. At golden hour travellers and locals alike flock to watch the sunset and have a snooze in the dappled light. Sit on the grassy area across the road from the beach hotel and just soak up the atmosphere.


Byron had some world famous surf breaks, particularly the long waves the break at ‘The Pass’, located at the end of the main beach. Surfing for the locals is almost a religion, and you often see the surf breaks busy in the morning and after work/school in the evenings. There’s numerous smaller breaks around, including off Wategos and to the left of the main beach, so you’ll have a multitude of locations to carve the swell. We didn’t surf on this trip, but have in the past (we’re not very good.. but enjoy the fun). You can easily hire boards from many hostels and surf shops in the town.

Chase some waterfalls!

There are some great day trips nearby Byron, with our favourites definitely the waterfalls. While we didn’t hire a car on this trip, we have previously visited the nearby waterfalls on other holidays. Our favourite is definitely Killen Falls, where you can walk down the charming little waterfall and swim bellow the falls.

Walk to the Byron Lighthouse

The iconic walk to the Byron Bay lighthouse is around a 3km journey one-way (up to 6-8kms return), but it’s worth the effort for those that enjoy some activity on holiday. You could run the trail, or leisurely stroll up the boardwalk and along the cliff. Be prepared for decent elevation and some stairs when navigating the area near the lighthouse. However, the views are worth it! For those that aren’t keen on the effort to reach the lighthouse, catch an Uber or drive to the top.

Enjoy the ‘wellness vibe’ in Byron..

This right up some people’s alley, and not at all for others. However, if this is something that interests you, Byron has excellent opportunities to indulge, including yoga (Tess did a class overlooking the beach!), retreats and more!

Watching the sunsets!

Golden hour and sunset is a special time, and something we always try to capture! We were treated to some beautiful sunsets during our short trip. We recommend you make your way down to the main beach and you may even be treated to a busker to serenade you through golden hour and into the sunset. There is a popular rocky outcrop to the left of main beach which locals and tourists perch to catch the last rays of sun.

And more?

There’s also lots more to do, including sunset or dolphin kayak tours, breweries, distilleries, boutique shopping, tattoo parlours, late night part spots and so much more!

Restaurants & Bars we recommend in Byron Bay:

Bang Bang

This is our favourite spot to head for dinner in Byron Bay. Think aesthetic décor, great vibes with a DJ playing mellow house tunes, and top tier Asian fusion food! Bang Bang is located at the top of the main part of the town, and get’s busy, so book in advance if you want to make sure you get in.. especially on weekends. It’s not cheap, but good value for the price! A must for you Byron visit!

The Mez Club

The Mez Club is another 2 Cups of Travel favourite in Byron. The concept centres around ‘Mezze’, referring to a selection of small dishes designed to be shared with others. Offering Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine, The Mez Club has a great atmosphere and tasty food! Another option that isn’t particularly budget friendly, however it’s a great spot for a drink and a few shared plates, or a full meal if you’re not fussed on the cost.

Japonaise Kitchen

Authentic Japanese food in a cozy setting. What you see here is what you get, meaning if the line  out the front is anything to go by its worth the wait. They don’t take bookings and the kitchen closes surprisingly early (8pm on weeknights at the time of writing) for a restaurant just off the main street but if you’re after a hearty ramen or tasty udon without the fuss this place is for you.


Tucked away down an alley just off the main street, Moonlight sports a chic aesthetic and banging playlist. This Japanese inspired hibachi grill is from the same team behind another one of Byron’s top restaurants ‘Light Years’. While on the pricier end if you’re after a full feed, we very much enjoyed just sitting at the bar and sipping a wine while soaking in the atmosphere.

Miss Margaritas

This Mexican cantina brings the vibes. Located in the heart of town just off the beach, Miss Margaritas delivers tasty food and excellent cocktails. Head there between 5-6pm for great margarita happy hour specials. Whilst not the cheapest Mexican food around, it’s a great spot for vibes, drinks and food.

Fish Mongers

Hands down the best fish and chips Byron has to offer. Eat at one of the tables on the street, or even better – take away and eat it by the beach listening to live music. There’s a reason we come back time and time again – the fish is fresh and the chips are delish. Our favourites are the salmon and the chargrilled octopus.

Orgazmic Falafel

Don’t expect fine dining, but do expect tasty falafels! Like the Fish Mongers above, it’s a great take-away option to have down the beach, particularly at sunset, with live music playing! We also enjoyed getting some take-away falafels as a snack to tide us over until dinner.

No Bones

No Bones is a highly rated plant-based restaurant that we visited on a previous trip in 2022. The food is excellent, and definitely one for those vegetarians/vegans, or anyone wanting to mix up their cuisine when in Byron.

The Coop Byron

This little take-away shop delivers excellent roast chicken and a multitude of delicious (and healthy) salads. A great option for those looking for something healthy on the go.

Karkalla Byron Bay Restaurant

This aesthetic little restaurant is one of our favourites! Featuring locally sourced, seasonal produce, Karkalla is a top spot to visit for a nice dinner. On weekends they also serve up an excellent brunch menu!

And so many more..

There were a multitude of other excellent bars and spots to stop and grab a beverage, including The Loft, The Beach Hotel, The Balcony, Stone and Wood Brewery, Railway Hotel (great for live music) and more. Want to get an acai bowl? Head to the popular Combi for one of the best acai bowls in Byron!

The best coffee in Byron Bay?

Byron Bay has an excellent café and coffee scene! You know us, we tried most of the cafes in town over the course of recent trips. We have listed a few of our favourites below, and will put together a complete list in coming days.

  • Folk – Our favourite cafe in Byron. Located 2kms out of town, it’s worth the effort to visit. A must for your stay in Byron.
  • Barefoot Brew Room – Top coffee in a cute laneway.. yes please!
  • Bay Leaf Cafe – Bustling cafe, great vibes, top brunch and good coffee. Yes!
  • Sparrow – Another alleyway cafe delivering excellent coffee in Byron.
  • Sunday Sustainable Bakery – Good coffee and a great spot to chill out.

Some of the top beaches in Byron..

Wategos Beach – The best beach in Byron!

Wategos Beach is definitely our favourite, and this little secluded bay is our pick for the best beach in Byron. With calmer, clear waters, this beach offers a perfect escape to relax. There’s a popular little surf break off to the right of the beach, the boardwalk winds past up to the nearby lighthouse. It’s top of our list every time we visit Byron Bay.

Main Beach Byron Bay:

Located infront of the surf club, the Main Beach is popular, and it is a top spot to have a swim. There’s often lifeguards patrolling, and the water is clear with less currents than some parts of the beach. This was a spot we visited regularly for our morning swims.

Clarkes or Byron Beach:

Situated a little to the right of ‘Main Beach’, these are a continuation of the main Byron Bay beach without as many people. The sand is white, the waters often clear and shallow. Watch out for currents here, and there’s no lifeguards patrolling.

Tallow Beach:

Located around the corner of Cape Byron, this beach is calmer, and has an almost untouched feel. The wide white sand beach may be virtually empty when you visit, which can contrast the busy Main, Wategos or Clarkes beaches. Be warned, the waves and currents can be stronger here, and there are no lifeguards.

Belongil Beach:

Head to the left of main beach and you’ll find the quitter Belongil Beach. Boasting the same clear waters and wide white sand, it’s a great pick to ‘beat the crowds’ on a busy day.

Where should you stay in Byron?

Let’s be straight up.. accommodation in Byron Bay isn’t ‘cheap’, however, there’s a variety of different options available depending on your price point. We have stayed in a few different accommodations over our visits, and list some top picks below for you to consider:

Or take a look at more options below..


Has much changed in Byron over the years?

Having visited Byron Bay over a number of years, it is nice to see that not much has changed. It still has the same ‘vibes’ and relaxed astmosphere. However, we noticed even between 2022 and our visit in 2024 that there are more vacant shopfronts, costs are higher, and more ‘commercial’ restaurants are creeping in (e.g. Grilled, Subway etc). Perhaps this is cost of living biting? We also have observed the costs in Byron have significantly increased in recent times. Byron isn’t a ‘cheap holiday’, but there’s lots of ways to save on cost, including buying food/drinks to enjoy on the beach and participating in ‘free activities’ like relaxing on the beach.

So should you visit Byron Bay?

In short.. yes! Especially if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere, good food, beautiful beaches, great bars and a lovely ‘wellness vibe’.

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