Last Updated on December 11, 2021 by queenie mak
If you are a surfer, you may have heard of Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia. It is the most easterly town of Australia where there are many spectacular beaches for surfing.
But you don’t need to surf in order to enjoy the quaint little town of Byron Bay. You can enjoy the beautiful beaches, bike around town, boutique shopping or simply relax in the most charming coastal town.
But if you only have one day, you can still see and do a lot in Byron Bay. Spending one day in Byron Bay includes visiting several beautiful sandy beaches, panoramic coastal views, an easy walking path that will lead you to the most visited site in Byron Bay and the most easterly point of Australia mainland.
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Why Byron Bay is great for a solo female traveller
Byron Bay is a lovely little beach town and one of the best surf towns in the world! Almost everyone I spoke to who knows Byron Bay can’t stop praising about it!
The atmosphere in Byron Bay is relaxing, chilled and just has an overall good vibe. If you are travelling alone, you can easily meet other travellers or enjoy the town on your own.
As a solo traveller, I tend to travel in a way that allows me to have the most flexibility and yet keep within my budget. And typically, I try not to rent a car if I don’t have to. And with most places in Australia, it is definitely easier to travel in a vehicle.
However, you can still see Byron Bay without renting a car. I visited Byron Bay from Sydney and continued my way to Gold Coast and Brisbane. I didn’t drive throughout the entire journey. So travelling without a car is not an issue at all!
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Before you go to Byron Bay
Before you go to Australia, take a look at my list of 17 things you need to know before travelling to Australia. I included information about Australia including applying for ETA, transportation, money and accommodation.
How to get to Byron Bay
Flying into Byron Bay
Getting to Byron Bay is pretty straight forward. The closest airport to Byron Bay is Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Regional Express and FlyPelican have flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle to Byron Bay.
If you are flying in from overseas, you will have to connect either through Sydney or Melbourne first then take a domestic flight to Byron Bay.
Shuttle Bus from Ballina Airport to Byron Bay
From Ballina Airport, there are several companies offering shuttle bus services from the airport to Byron Bay. The journey takes about 30 minutes.
Steve’s Ballina Byron Transport costs $20AUD one way and $35AUD return.
Go Byron costs $20AUD each way.
Car Hire at Ballina Airport
If you want to hire a car, there are several reputable car rental companies at Ballina Airport.
Although renting a car isn’t necessary, especially as a solo traveller, it can be a great option if you want to explore other parts of New South Wales and Queensland.
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Road Trip to Byron Bay
If you already have a rental car and will be driving to Byron Bay, you could be coming from Sydney, Brisbane or Gold Coast.
Driving from Sydney to Byron Bay
From Sydney to Byron Bay, it will take over 8 hours of driving. The total distance from Sydney to Byron Bay is about 766km. It is a long drive! You might want to split it up and visit Port Macquarie or Coffs Harbour in between Sydney and Byron Bay.
Driving from Brisbane to Byron Bay
Driving from Brisbane is much closer. It will take about 2 hours to drive the total distance of 166km from Brisbane to Byron Bay. The route will pass by Gold Coast as well. Byron Bay makes an excellent weekend trip from Brisbane!
Driving from Gold Coast to Byron Bay
Whether you are in Surfer’s Paradise, Burleigh Heads, or Coolangatta in the Gold Coast area, it will take over an hour and about 95km to get to Byron Bay.
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Long-Distance Bus to Byron Bay
Greyhound Australia is Australia’s long-distance bus operator. The bus system has many routes, and many connect different parts of the country. The Greyhound bus has recline seats, USB chargers, and free wifi. And the easiest way to purchase a ticket is online. Go to Greyhound Australia, and search for your route.
Long-Distance Bus from Sydney to Byron Bay
From Sydney, there are two direct buses and about $100AUD. Both buses are overnight buses, and the entire journey takes about 12 hour and 45 minutes. There are several stops along the way for food and bathroom breaks.
Long-Distance Bus from Brisbane to Byron Bay
From Brisbane, there are four direct buses to Byron Bay. About $41AUD each way depending on how early you book your ticket. And it takes about 3 hours for the entire journey.
Long-Distance Bus from Gold Coast to Byron Bay
You can either catch the Greyhound bus at Southport, Surfers Paradise, or Coolangatta in Gold Coast. The bus ticket costs between $25 to $35AUD each way. And the journey takes about an hour up to 3 hours depending on where you hop on the bus.
How to get around Byron Bay
If you are staying in Byron Bay, you can walk to almost anywhere. Most of the cafes, restaurants and shops are concentrated around the town centre.
You can also hire a bike and cycle around town and even to surrounding areas as well. There are bike paths in and around Byron Bay which makes biking around that much easier. Just remember to wear a helmet when you are on a bicycle.
And if you decide to get a rental car, that works too. There is plenty of parking around town, at different accommodations, at the park and beach, etc.
Bike Hire in Byron Bay
Like I mentioned already, cycling around Byron Bay is a lot of fun and a great way to see the town and surrounding areas. There are a few places you can rent bikes.
Byron Bay Surf and Bike Hire
Located in the centre of town, you can rent bicycles, surfboards, stand up paddleboards and other equipment from Byron Bay Surf and Bike Hire.
You can rent a bike for half a day, full day or even longer. Rates start at $15AUD for half a day, $20AUD for a full day, etc.
I rented a regular bicycle with a basket to bike to The Farm because it was a bit out of town. The bicycle was decent but basic. But not a bad price for half a day. Don’t need to call ahead or reserve a bike; just pop into the store and rent one on the spot. Remember to bring a photo ID.
The Bicycle Emporium
The Bicycle Emporium has the cutest vintage Lekker Jordaan bikes (see photo above).
You can either collect the bike in Ballina (at their location) for free. Or they will deliver the bicycle to Byron Bay for $30AUD per bike each way. The cost of renting a bike for the day is $25AUD for same-day return. Remember to bring a photo ID when you rent the bike.
This option has a cuter and prettier bike. But it will require a bit of planning, coordinating and costs a bit more.
If you are interested in renting a retro vintage bike to boot around Byron Bay, send a request and they will email you all the information.
Or if you are staying at Wake Up Byron Bay, the hostel has the same type of bicycles, and they will loan it to you for free while staying at the hostel.
Where to stay in Byron Bay
There are quite a few hostels in the town centre because Byron Bay is a popular destination for many travellers. Mid-range accommodations are also in town.
- Byron Bay YHA ($) – There is a Youth Hostel Australia (YHA) in almost every major city in Australia. The newer hostel (there is another YHA in Byron Bay called Cape Byron YHA) is in a modern building and has an outdoor pool, shared kitchen and spacious public areas. There are so many public areas where you can hang out. For $27AUD, you can get a basic bunk bed in a dormitory room or pay $88AUD to get a double room with your own bathroom.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Wake Up Byron Bay ($) – Located opposite of Belongli Beach, get a dorm bed or private room in this newly built beachy hostel. They have daily activities like yoga at the beach, pizza night and live music. And they have free bike rentals – you can ride the Jordaan Lekker bikes for free! The hostel has a shuttle bus to the centre of town, or you can bike there in 15 minutes.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- The Lord Byron ($$) – The 4-star modern hotel has quaint luxury rooms. The deluxe queen single room is nicely decorated. The bathroom is clean. And the room has a balcony and kitchenette too. The hotel is just south of the Greyhound bus stop near the centre of town.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
Where to eat in Byron Bay
Eating in Byron Bay isn’t exactly cheap. I noticed the prices are higher than in Sydney and Melbourne. But there are affordable options like fast food and buying food from grocery stores.
Below are some budget and mid-range food suggestions. You can find more information about each location in the attached google map by clicking on the individual pin (see interactive map above).
- Sparrow Coffee ($) – they make a solid flat white. They open early if you want your coffee as soon as you get up. And they also close early so check hours of operation before you go.
- Barefoot Brew Room ($) – a cozy little coffee shop with excellent coffee. Can you tell I love coffee? Ha!
- Combi Byron Bay ($) – the colourful decor makes Combi one of the prettiest cafes in Byron Bay! Try their gluten-free pear & coconut muffins, topped with creamy cashew & macadamia frosting. It is one of their favourites, and it is usually sold out by lunchtime.
- Goodies Juice Bar ($) – acai bowl is trendy in Australia! And there are many places where you can find healthy smoothies and bowls. Try one or try them all!
- Bayleaf Cafe ($$) – a very popular cafe with a fantastic breakfast menu. I tried the dukkah poached eggs. It comes with sourdough bread; house-made dukka and lavender-infused honey. So yum! One of my top picks for the best cafes in Byron Bay!
- Byron Fresh Cafe ($$) – the charming little restaurant is in the middle of town. Their menu focuses on fresh ingredients and healthy options. It is an excellent spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And if you don’t have the chance to dine in, pick up a coffee and pastry to go and enjoy it on the beach.
- Three Blue Ducks ($$) – located at The Farm, the restaurant serves delicious organic food in a barnyard setting.
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How many days in Byron Bay
If you ask me how many days you should spend in Byron Bay, my answer is forever! Honestly, it is one of the best beach towns I have ever been to. I didn’t want to leave!
But with time and budget constraints, it is possible to see Byron Bay in one day. And if you have an extra day, you can visit other beaches, try other outdoor activities and see the surrounding areas as well.
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One Day in Byron Bay
Start your day early
Byron Bay is paradise on earth! Spending the perfect day in Byron Bay includes beautiful beaches, a hike up to Cape Byron and a gorgeous sunset on the beach.
All the top things to do in Byron Bay and the surrounding area are pinned in the interactive map below. You can find more information about each attraction by clicking on the individual pin.
First, visit Byron Beach, the main beach for some sun and fun. Many people visit the beach from early morning to after sunset. And you will find many people at the main beach swimming, surfing or simply enjoying the beach.
To the east of Byron Beach, you will reach The Pass, a favourite spot for more experienced surfers. In the morning, high tides cover most of the beach so you’ll have to take the pedestrian walkway to The Pass. There are shower, toilet and other facilities in the area as well.
And to the west of Byron Beach, The Wreck is just north of the public parking lot. The Wreck is more like a surf break than a beach. It is named after the SS Woolongbar shipwreck. You can still see part of the shipwreck protruding out of the water. If surfing is not your thing, you can snorkel in the area to see the shipwreck.
Before taking a few hours on a trekking trip to Cape Byron, visit one of the cafes in Byron Bay for a lovely brunch.
After a healthy brunch
From the centre of town, walk east along Lawson Street and Lighthouse Street and follow the signs for Cape Byron Walking Track in the Cape Byron State Conservation Area. The walking track is a marked path that will take you to everything you need to see in Cape Byron including several beaches, lookout points, and a lighthouse.
Near the beginning of the path, it will lead you to Clarkes Beach. It is a sandy beach excellent for swimming and surfing.
As you keep walking, you’ll reach The Pass (again, if you haven’t been already), and you’ll reach Fisherman’s Lookout. Walk up the flight of stairs to get a view of the beach and water. The rock formation in the area is quite stunning.
Then you will reach Wategos Beach, a smaller beach than Clarkes Beach but just as scenic. Many people like to hang out here as it is not as busy as the main beach. Also an excellent spot for swimming, surfing and stand up paddleboarding.
Next, you will see Cape Byron, which may feel like it is the most easterly point but it is not. This is a spot where you can see fantastic coastal views. As you continue on the path, the most easterly point of Australia mainland is next. You will not miss it – there is a sign, and many people take photos here.
Then walk up to Cape Byron Lighthouse. It is possible to take a 20-minute tour of the lighthouse and visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse Maritime Museum. The lighthouse is one of Byron Bay’s most visited sites.
Continuing on the path, you will see a panoramic view of Tallow Beach from Cape Byron. Keep walking on the track, and it will take you back to Lighthouse Road.
If you are back in town early, stroll through the town as it is quite charming. There are many boutique shops selling clothing, souvenirs, and more clothing. I’m not a big shopper, but I quite liked browsing through all the shops.
Head back to Byron Beach just before sunset. Many people hang out on the beach or by the lawn overlooking the beach. It is one of the best spots to view the gorgeous sunset in Byron Bay. Bring a blanket and some snacks and enjoy the view.
2 Days in Byron Bay
If you have an additional day in Byron Bay, you can do a few more things in Byron Bay on your second day.
Have brekkie at The Farm
Rent a bicycle and cycle to The Farm Byron Bay to take a tour of the farm and get a hearty breakfast from the bakery or the restaurant.
The Farm has farm animals, a garden shed, a market selling local produce, a bakery and also a restaurant called Three Blue Ducks. It is about 8 km from Byron Bay, and it will take about 40 minutes of cycling. There is a bike path from Byron Bay to The Farm, but the path is a bit segmented but not hard to follow.
An afternoon of fun
When you get back to Byron Bay, rent a surfboard from surf shops like Byron Bay Surf and Bike Hire or Soul Surf School and head over to The Pass or The Wreck. Or sign up for a half-day surf lesson at Soul Surf School for $69AUD. They also have private surf lessons if you want one-on-one instructions.
If you want to do other things on your own, there are other equipments you can rent for the day, like stand up paddleboard, skateboard, and snorkel set. You can rent them from Soul Surf School. Or sign up for a yoga class and have a zen afternoon.
And if you want to participate in other group activities, consider kayaking with dolphins and turtles or even skydiving!
Or enjoy the hippie side of Byron Bay and experience a festival or touring the town of Nimbin.
Relaxing late afternoon
To finish the day, visit Tallow Beach on the southeast side of Byron Bay. You can easily walk there from Byron Bay. Walk east along Lawson Street, and turn into Tallow Beach Road. The road will take you directly to Tallow Beach.
Tallow Beach is popular with surfers, and locals love hanging out there too. It is my favourite beach and the most beautiful beach in Byron Bay. And the sunset here is quite magical.
Want more options? Check out these lessons and tours:
Are you ready to visit Byron Bay?
I didn’t get a chance to visit Byron Bay the first time I visited Australia, which was 15 years ago and I have been kicking myself since! I was not about to miss it again!
Byron Bay is always a favourite amongst travellers and locals. The coastal town is the perfect getaway for a weekend. But if you only have one day in Byron Bay, it is still worth visiting. So are you ready to visit Byron Bay during your next trip to Australia?
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