Byron Bay conjures up so many images - colourful markets, clean beaches, the lighthouse, endless summer surfing, migrating whales, pods of dolphins, artists, designers, the outdoors. So here are the best of them all laid out for you.
Byron Bay Markets:
Let's start with the markets. A visit to Byron Bay is simply not complete without a visit to the rotating weekly Regional markets. These are held in Byron Bay (1st Sunday of the month), The Channon (2nd Sunday of the month) and Bangalow (4th Sunday of the month). The atmosphere is vibrant, creative and full of rainbows, live music, delicious food, and hippie fun. If you can't make it to the big market, head along to the Byron Farmer's Market (every Thursday morning 8am - 11am) for super fresh, local produce.
The region is renowned for its pristine beaches and popular surf breaks. From the clothing optional Belongil Beach to The Pass to the stretching kilometres of Tallow Beach, there are plenty of opportunities for sun baking, sand castle creations and swimming here. Join a surf school and learn to ride the waves with the pros, or join Cape Byron Kayaks for an unforgettable paddle with the Humpback Whales, dolphins and turtles in Cape Byron Marine Park.
Cape Byron Lighthouse Cafe - coffee with the best views in town
Johnson Street is the main drag running through town and it is packed with shops and boutiques full of hidden gems. If you want to shop at the source, head three kilometres north of town to Byron Arts and Industry Estate, home to 75 local artists' and designers' warehouses. Stop in at some of the 23 galleries, studios and showrooms marked by the white flags along Byron Arts Trail. You can even join an art class at Byron Bay Arts Studio, for those with an artistic bent.
Byron Bay Eateries:
With so much fertility in the hinterland soils, the local produce is top quality. Anyone with an appetite is spoiled for choice with a plethora of excellent local cafes and restaurants on offer.
I reckon Byron Beach Cafe is the perfect Byron Bay eatery - perched on a sand dune, they offer stylish food with fantastic views out to Julian Rocks, without being pretentious.
Steps leading up Tallow Ridge along Cape Byron Track
Officially, Australia's most easterly point, a visit to Cape Byron Lighthouse at any time of day is a must. Join the fit crew and take the stunning 3.7km circuit. The Cape Byron Track begins and ends at Captain Cook Lookout car park. The track passes Palm Valley, then crosses Wategos Beach, before it ascends to The Lighthouse, for sweeping 360 degree views, and hopefully a Humpback whale spotting or fifty (their migrating season runs from May to November). Take the track past the hang gliding launch, down Tallow Ridge and back to the car park. Your legs might be sore but your lungs will feel rejuvenated by all that salty air.
The mountains behind Byron Bay are the real personality behind the region. A drive into the valleys via Bangalow and Mullumbimby is worth a good day trip, with roadside food stalls, rain forests and waterfalls to visit along the way. Hinterland highlights include Minyon Falls, Mt Warning and Crystal Castle.