Byron Bay is widely recognised as one of the best surf towns in Australia. Surf aside, we found it to be one of the most enjoyable and relaxing towns we’ve visited in all of our travels. The locals are incredibly warm and welcoming. The beaches, lakes and surrounding hills are breathtaking and ripe for exploring. And there is a plethora of excellent restaurants, cafes and shops. During our stay we enjoyed exploring the many little towns in the surrounding hinterland (all within a 20-minute drive from Byron) as much as Bryon itself. We only wish we could have stayed longer. Here’s a list of our favourite spots:
- When we visited Byron Bay six years ago on our first campervan journey, wet weather kept us from doing the usual beachy things. Instead we drove inland and discovered the gorgeous little town of Bangalow. With cute shops, great cafes and a friendly community of residents, we knew we wanted to base ourselves there if ever we returned. Luckily, we discovered the Granuaille Residence on the Kid & Coe site last year when we started planning our trip, and we immediately booked it. The house is cosy, kid-friendly and stylish. It’s also perfectly located within a short walk of town. As fate would have it, we ended up becoming good friends with the owners, who returned from an extended trip to California in time to meet up while we were still in town. Poppy is a film director and Andy is a musician who will soon be releasing a rock album for kids. He gave us a preview copy of the album and it’s become a family favourite (More on that when the record is released!).
- The Top Shop: A Byron Bay institution, and rightfully so! The coffee and food is delicious, and its location makes it the perfect place to stop before or after a surf.
- Harvest Café in Newrybar: One of the best restaurants in the area, Harvest opens up their gorgeous bakery every Saturday and sells delicious treats from a big farmhouse table. We met friends every weekend we were in town and enjoyed great coffee, croissants and pastries in their pretty garden. The perfect way to kick off the weekend!
- The Roadhouse in Byron: Apparently this is the hipster hang out, but they welcomed our boisterous gang of beach rats with open arms. Great food and amazing coffee are on offer in a lovely patio space. Dinner is great too but be warned, kids aren’t allowed in the evenings.
- Woods Café in Bangalow: Just a 5-minute walk from our house in Bangalow, this was our favourite local café. The staff is super friendly and the plant-based food is divine. There’s also a pretty courtyard where kids can run around while you wait for your food or enjoy a second coffee.
- The Treehouse: Best for the beachy atmosphere and drinks, we enjoyed this relaxed place for a couple impromptu dinners with large groups. You can come straight from the beach as you won’t feel a bit out of place here with sandy feet or wet clothes.
- Miss Margarita: A small Mexican restaurant in the centre of town with a happening vibe and good food. Be prepared to queue though.
- Basiloco: Good wood-fired pizzas and a relaxed, family friendly vibe can be found in this Sardinian owned Italian restaurant just minutes from The Pass.
- The Farm: Located just outside of Byron Bay, this working farm/restaurant/café/shop/play-space is a wonderful, family friendly spot to hang out, meet friends, and enjoy a delicious meal.
- Doma Café in Federal: This Japanese-Australian restaurant was one of our favourites for their delicious food and pretty outside dining area. Definitely worth the drive to Federal just for the restaurant!
- The Belle General in Lennox Head: We discovered this café/restaurant when we camped in Lennox Head before arriving to Byron Bay and loved it so much, we went back a few times over the course of the next month. Really delicious food and coffee.
- Mullumbimby Farmers Market: we loved this market for the great organic food stalls, friendly people and laid-back vibe. (See previous post)
- St. Elmo: lots of friends recommended we try this place and we kept meaning to book a babysitter and have a date night – but it never happened. But it looked great when we walked past with the kids one evening. On the list for next time…
- Surf at The Pass: The Pass is the perfect place for surfers of all abilities. The point break and gentle waves were ideal for every surfer in our family and it’s a gorgeous place to watch the sunset. (See previous post)
- Beach day at Wategos: Wategos Beach is just another of Byron’s gorgeous beaches – with good surf, lots of sand, and public BBQs for evening dinners with friends.
- Walk up to the lighthouse for stunning views up and down the coast (see previous post).
- Snorkel and swim with sea turtles at Julian Rocks: we booked a snorkel tour with the Byron Bay Dive Centre. The minimum age is 6, so Marlow was too young – but Michael took the three bigger kids and they loved it! They saw sea turtles, leopard sharks, and all sorts of fish and other sea life.
- The Crystal Castle: botanical gardens filled with extraordinary crystals, sub-tropical plant life and mystical statues. It’s hard to define the appeal of this place – something to see and experience for yourself.
- Killen Falls: There are several creeks and waterfalls in the gorgeous hinterland surrounding Byron Bay. We loved swimming at the base of Killen Falls (though the large, jagged rocks make it slightly tricky to get into the water). We even saw some baby turtles swimming next to us!
- Tea Tree lakes: There are a few different tea tree lakes scattered around the Byron Bay region. The lakes are warm thanks to their dark colour, and are believed to have healing properties due to the tea-tree oil infused waters. (See previous post)
- Newrybar Merchants: This gorgeous shop is a collective of creative local artisans and shops and offers a variety of beautiful homewares, gifts, clothes and accessories.
- Our Corner Store in Bangalow: They have a beautiful selection of homewares and fashion, and they even have a small corner with a well-curated selection of children’s products. Great for gifts!
- Tiny People in Byron Bay: a great children’s shop with lots of my favourite brands from all over the world.
- Mary Ryan’s Bookstore in Byron Bay: a charming bookstore with a good children’s section.
- The Bangalow Market: held on the 4th Sunday of every month, we loved this big market full of gorgeous, locally-made products and crafts. We would have bought loads of things if we weren’t living out of suitcases. ☺
- Afends: a local surfwear brand for men. Afends has mastered simple and understated designs with a great eye for colour and texture. Michael would have loved to buy one of everything, but settled for one pair of swimmers.
- Channel Island: A notch above the rest when it comes to style and sophistication in surf products. Beautiful boards, stylish board bags and a great selection of clothes.
The photos above were taken by Reagan Glazner at our favourite local cafe, Woods Cafe (mentioned above).
4 thoughts on “Byron Bay, Bangalow and the surrounding hinterland: Our favourite spots!”
It’s wonderful you felt so settled and really got to know the area. As much as the excitement of travelling and discovering new places can’t be beaten, its nice to stop and breathe for a little while. I stayed there a long time ago and it sounds like I’d love it as much now as I did then. Safe onward travels x
Oh I am dreaming of your next life there!!! I want to visit you already!! Will email you more on the other message Where are you now? (Feels like a where’s Wally question!)
Vanessa Boz +44 780 9898 623
Hi, just discovered your blog and loving it! I dream of exploring Australia and new Zealand by campervan! To see turtles would be my absolute dream come true! What time of year did you see turtles at Byron bay? Many thanks for taking the time to get back to me. Kind wishes, cate.