A 3-day itinerary in Byron Bay for adventure seekers
You may think Byron Bay is all beaches, bars and beautiful people. But go a little deeper and you’ll discover incredible natural wonders and off-grid adventures. Here’s how to spend an adventurous three days in Byron.
Snorkel among thousands of fish at Julian Rocks
Ride a horse along the beach at sunset
Kayak with dolphins through the Cape Byron Marine Park
Watch the sun rise at the most easterly point in Australia
Swim at the base of a secluded waterfall
Sip gin in the rainforest at Cape Byron Distillery
DAY ONE: Beach beauties
DAY ONE KEY FACTS:
Rusty Miller Surf is located at:
- The Pass, Cape Byron, Byron Bay
- A five-minute (2km) drive from Main Beach
As soon as you arrive in Byron Bay, you’re going to want to head for those sparkling beaches that have made the town world famous. Main Beach is in the centre of town and popular with both swimmers and surfers. Further around the bay towards Cape Byron, Clarkes Beach is north-facing and generally protected from the wind. Wategos Beach is close to the end of the cape, in the shadow of the lighthouse, and you’ll often see dolphins frolicking in the waves.
Grab a seat outside at the Kiosk at Beach Byron Bay for a quick lunch. Options include burgers, bahn mi, fish and chips, and acai bowls. You’ll need the energy for your next activity – a surf lesson with local legend Rusty Miller. His surf school is the only one with a license to teach at The Pass, one of Byron’s most iconic breaks. All lessons are private and Rusty or his daughter Taylor will teach you about the magic of surfing and the philosophy of surf culture as you learn to catch a wave. If you’re already an experienced surfer, hire a board from Bay Beach Hire and head out on your own.
Check in to your hotel, the retro luxe Swell Hotel. This adult-only retreat has just 16 rooms, an ozone pool, and an ice bath and infra-red sauna for recharging those weary muscles.
For dinner, Balcony Bar and Oyster Co is a short walk from the hotel and serves up exceptional seafood in an open-air space above the buzzing main street.
DAY TWO: Chasing waterfalls
DAY TWO KEY FACTS:
Killen Falls is located at:
- Killen Falls Drive, Tintenbar
- A 25-minute (25km) drive from Swell Hotel
It’s time to go dolphin spotting! Cape Byron Kayaks runs guided tours through the Cape Byron Marine Park every morning and they see dolphins on 90% of their trips. (And if you don’t, you can go again for free.) You’ll also see sea turtles and humpback whales (during the winter months), get a unique perspective on the Cape Byron Lighthouse, and pull into a secluded beach for a Tim Tam feast.
You’re heading for the hinterland this afternoon, so stop at Harvest in Newrybar on the way. This popular cafe, bakery and deli is spread across a number of historic buildings and has a creative menu featuring seasonal, local produce.
Killen Falls is around 30 minutes south of Byron Bay, close to the village of Tintenbar. The waterfall is a hidden paradise set inside the last remaining pocket of big scrub rainforest in the region. Admire it from the lookout above or follow the trail from the car park to the bottom of the falls. The steep track is rated a Grade 3 bushwalk and there are some tricky sections. At the base, you can walk right behind the waterfall or swim in the large pool beneath it.
Saddle up for a peaceful sunset ride through sub-tropical bushland and along the beach with Zephyr Horses. The two-hour Forest to Beach ride departs at 5pm and is suitable for all levels. Experienced riders will be able to canter along the sand as the sun is setting.
Local favourite Light Years moved to the new Jonson Street dining precinct in late 2022. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the hotel and serves up bold, colourful Asian share plates alongside quirky cocktails.
DAY THREE: Under the sea
DAY THREE KEY FACTS:
Sundive is located at:
- 9-11 Byron St, Byron Bay
- A six-minute (450m) walk from Swell Hotel
Wake up early and set off on Byron’s most famous walking track before the sun is up. The Cape Byron Walking Track loops out to the very edge of the point, past the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse. It’s also the first place in mainland Australia to see the sun rise every morning. After watching the sky illuminate, follow the track around past Wategos Beach to The Pass Café for breakfast with a view.
The rocky outcrop you would have seen offshore on your walk this morning is Julian Rocks. It’s recognised as one of the best snorkelling and diving spots in Australia, sitting at the point where warm tropical waters and cooler southern waters meet. That makes for a truly spectacular array of fish as well as dolphins, whales, sea turtles, manta rays, leopard sharks, grey nurse sharks and much more. Sundive is the only dive centre in town and runs daily scuba and snorkelling tours.
Toast a successful weekend with a behind-the-scenes tour, guided tasting or cocktails on the balcony at Cape Byron Distillery. Surrounded by rainforest just 15 minutes from the centre of Byron, this is the home of the famous Brookie’s Gin as well as Cape Byron Whisky.