Byron Bay is a charming and eclectic small town that attracts people from all over the world. It is so international that you will often hear other languages being spoken in the streets. It has a decades-long history of being counter culture and some of that energy still exists today. There is also a decidedly different flavour in a town that is a haven for social media influencers. With many local brands, unique shops and healthy cafés there is much to be enjoyed. If you want to get out of the Byron Bubble, then hop in a car for any of these fantastic day trips. All distances noted below are approximate and one way from the centre of Byron.
Brunswick Heads is a coastal village that gives visitors the option to enjoy the ocean or the Brunswick River. Boats or kayaks can be seen on the river, and can be rented nearby. Hotel Brunswick, known locally as The Bruns, hosts free gigs all the time. With a family friendly atmosphere this is a fantastic place to get some pub food and listen to live music. It’s right across the street from the river, so you can easily duck in and out as you feel. If you’re around for the June long weekend, check out the Old & Gold – where much of the town is transformed into a giant garage sale. There are also central fairs to browse, with something for everyone.
Some people say that Mullumbimby is what Byron used to be like. What does that mean? Well basically it’s alternative and much more low key than modern day Byron. With Mount Chincogan in the backdrop of your drive in, you are sure to feel something. Large fig trees (one even covered in handmade knit wear), businesses selling unique goods and the feeling that no one is rushing are part of Mullum’s charm. If you want to indulge a little, check out Kiva Spa. A visit is very affordable, and you’ll feel like you’ve walked through the wooden gate into another world.
Minyon Falls are part of the Nightcap National Park, and only a short drive from Byron. Parking is close to the scenic lookout that showcases the falls and even gives views of the sea on a clear day. There are picnic spots, barbecue facilities and a number of walking trails. Surrounded by stunning eucalyptus trees and other native plants, the fresh air is deeply nourishing. As far as the falls go, depending on the rain, you may find a trickle or gushing water so be sure to check the recent weather to know which it will be!
The Crystal Castle is home to the world’s tallest geodes. At 5.5 metres high these spectacular Crystal Guardians of smoky quartz with amethyst and calcite crystal flowers are something special to behold. There are many other big and small crystals to see, including the many available for purchase in the gift shop. With different guided activities daily, as well as a crystal cave immersion experience, there are options if you are looking for more structure than a free-flowing wander. They are open from 10am – 5pm almost every day of the year, so there are many opportunities to immerse yourself in the powerful energy of the land.
Most of Bangalow’s shops are on or off the main street, so park your car and have a wander without agenda. You may also like to time your visit with one of the markets held at the Bangalow Showgrounds. On Saturday mornings, you can enjoy the Farmers Market and on the fourth Sunday of every month you can check out the Bangalow Markets. There you will find food stalls, locally made artisanal products, clothing, musicians, and more.
Killen Falls is an easy drive from Byron Bay (and if you have the time, you can stop in Bangalow on your way there; it’s only a short detour). The water hole is fairly small but certainly big enough for a nice swim. The power of the waterfall will be reflective of how much rain the area has been receiving. Sometimes it’s too strong to be directly underneath and other times it’s possible to have a shower in its misty but still strong spray. Be careful on the slippery rocks, and do drive slowly when entering the parking area.
After you’ve worked up an appetite from a swim at Killen Falls, stop at Newrybar’s Harvest restaurant on your way back into town. Their seasonal, local menu is thoughtful and delicious, and is beautifully complemented with an award-winning wine list of small conscientious Australian wine-makers. Newrybar itself is exceedingly charming so do take the time to wander the shops of the one-street town.
Farm & Co is Cudgen’s charming family farm that sells homegrown organic produce. You can also pick your own sunflowers in their infamous field. Many a post has been made on Instagram with the stunning backdrop of sunflowers, so if you’re feeling for a little shoot or an uplifting visit, take a ride up the coast.
For something much closer check out The Farm Byron Bay. They too have a sunflower field and so much more, including animals, gardens, orchards and an incredible farm to table restaurant. We just didn’t list it because you don’t have to day trip – it’s at the edge of town and easily accessible by bicycle.
Want to go for a surf somewhere new? Get out of Byron and head up the coast, just past the border of Queensland to Surfers Paradise. Some of its best surfing beaches are Snapper Rocks, Kirra, Rainbow Bay, Duranbah, Currumbin Alley and Burleigh Heads. If you aren’t keen to surf, then you might like to check out the Gold Coast’s many shopping outlets, amusement parks, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs.
If you really want a big city experience then Brisbane is definitely your place as a Byron resident. Only two hours drive, the third most populous city in Australia has much to offer. If you’re looking for it, odds are you can find it in Brisbane. One such thing is concerts and performances. Big names come to Brisbane so many make the drive for an evening performance. Just make sure you have a designated driver and that you don’t speed, as there are cameras set up along the highway.