Free & cheap things to do in Byron Bay

Although home to glamorous resorts and fine restaurants, there are many ways to get the best out of Byron Bay on a budget. Here are 10 affordable experiences to do in the sun-kissed North Coast town and surrounds.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jun 2024 -
min read

Explore the nearby national parks 

Byron Bay is almost as famous for the surrounding hinterland as the town itself – lush, subtropical landscapes that are ripe for exploring. Reserve a day to spend in one of the many nearby national parks, free for all to explore. With kids? Take them on the magically named Unicorn Falls Walking Track in Mount Jerusalem National Park, which leads you to a peaceful waterfall surrounded by trees. There are also plenty of mountain biking trails if you are a biking family.  

Unicorn Falls, The Tweed - Credit: Cape Productions | Tweed Tourism Group Australia

Unicorn Falls, The Tweed - Credit: Cape Productions / Tweed Tourism Group Australia

If you don’t have a lot of time, Arakwal National Park is close to town yet feels remote. This secluded strip of coast is a lovely spot to soak up the sun while spotting osprey and white-bellied sea eagles. Border Ranges National Park is a magnet for animal lovers and keen photographers; part of the Gondwana Rainforests, this heritage-listed park is home to the rare Albert’s lyrebird, the jewel-coloured Wompoo fruit-dove and the long-nosed bandicoot, among others. Seeking a spiritual journey? Marvel at the glow worms and swim under waterfalls at Nightcap National Park.  

Cost: free 

Border Ranges National Park, Lismore area - Credit: Branden Bodman

Border Ranges National Park, Lismore area - Credit: Branden Bodman

Hand-feed animals on a farm 

The Farm Byron Bay is a local institution and a great affordable option, especially with kids. A working farm that houses several eateries, they hold daily free animal feeding sessions, where you’ll learn fun facts from the farmers as the animals feast. Interested in regenerative farming? Guided farm tours take place from Friday to Sunday, where you’ll visit the flower fields and marvel at the produce grown on site. Free, self-guided tours are encouraged, too. Finish with a gelato or smoothie at Baylato, using locally grown ingredients.  

Cost: free. Guided farm tours are $15 per adult, $10 per child under 10 years, free for kids under five. 

The Farm, Byron Bay

The Farm, Byron Bay

Stay in (affordable) style 

Wake Up! Byron Bay is a modern, bright and bohemian hostel and one of the most affordable spots to stay at when visiting the top tourist town. Opposite Belongil Beach, just a 20-minute walk from the town centre, it offers a variety of options including shared dorms and private rooms. There’s an on-site restaurant and bar, a resort-style pool plus all the other hostel mainstays such as shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Take advantage of the free surfboard hire, daily yoga classes and shuttle bus into town when staying at this hostel.    

Cost: from $34 a night 

Do an iconic walk 

Have you even been to Byron Bay unless you have photo evidence making it to the summit of the Cape Byron walking track? You’ll see why a walk to this historic lighthouse – or the ‘lighty’ as it is known to locals – is so popular as soon as you start. The 3.7km track meanders through rainforest and across clifftops, teasing you with glimpses of stunning ocean and hinterland views. Keep your eyes trained on the deep blue and you might see dolphins, and if in season, whales. The Pass Cafe is the perfect stop to refuel afterwards, with cheap all-day dining options such as burgers for under $20 and more gorgeous views.  

Cost: free 

Experience a famous wellness retreat for less 

If you’ve seen television drama Nine Perfect Strangers, about nine stressed out guests who attend a boutique wellness retreat, and have wondered where it was filmed – Byron Bay is your answer. While Soma – the real retreat where most of the show was filmed – is a high-end stay, you can attend Soma Sunday for a sample of what they offer. Starting with a 60-minute group meditation, attendees will hear an inspiring conversation with a guest, followed by a communal dinner and live music.  

Soma Byron - Credit: Luxico

Soma Byron - Credit: Luxico

The swimming scene from the show is filmed at Killen Falls, a half-hour drive from Byron Bay. The waterfall is just a short walk from the parking area, with a viewing platform to gaze on the pool of water below. Head down to the base of the falls for a dreamy photo opportunity.  

Cost: free to visit Killeen Falls, Soma Sundays is $98 

Killen Falls

Killen Falls, Northern Rivers

Join a half-day yoga retreat 

While it’s true Byron Bay is now known as the epicentre of Australia’s wellbeing industry and is home to many glamourous resorts, there are affordable options too that speak to Byron’s culture of humble spirituality. If you’re seeking some inner calm, head to The Byron Yoga Centre. Established in 1988, it is well respected within the industry, and is just a short distance from the town centre, set on a breathtaking 12 hectares. A half-day retreat includes a 90-minute slow flow yoga class, a 60-minute yogic lifestyle session, vegetarian lunch, and use of retreat facilities including the heated 20m magnesium mineral salt pool. Walk out with a sense of peace that will stay with you for the rest of your holiday.  

Cost: $89, or $169 with a 45-minute massage included 

Book a distillery or brewery tour 

There’s something in the water in the Northern Rivers region – or the terroir, if we’re being accurate – that has borne a high number of exceptional food and drink products. If you’ve been to a pub anywhere in NSW you’ve probably seen Stone & Wood’s bright logo – they’ve been making beer in a sustainable way since 2008. Tours of the brewery include a welcome beer and cover everything from the history of beer to the brewing process, or you can do a quick guided tasting, which will allow you to try their range and find out how they are made.  

Tucked within a macadamia farm in the hinterland, Cape Byron Distillery offers a true taste of the region, with 17 of the 25 botanicals used in Brookie’s gin sourced locally. The rainforest and gin tasting tour is a unique experience, where you’ll be taken through the subtropical rainforest, gin and tonic in hand. 

Lord Byron Distillery runs on renewable energy with a zero-waste policy, and also makes excellent spirits, especially rum. Learn more from the passionate makers on a tour and choose three products to try.  

Cost: Stone & Wood: $30 per person for a guided tasting, $45 for a brewery tour and tasting; Cape Byron distillery tours: from $45.35 for adults, $21.50 for minors; Lord Byron Distillery: $25 per person for a guided tour 

Lord Byron Distillery, Byron Bay - Credit: Lord Byron Pty Ltd

Lord Byron Distillery, Byron Bay - Credit: Lord Byron Pty Ltd

Stock up at the markets 

An affordable way to try the region’s premium produce is to head straight to the markets to buy direct from the farmers and cook up a feast in your own kitchen. There’s something infectious about the positive community spirit at the Byron Farmers Market and it’s a fantastic way to learn more about farming, be inspired to cook simply and try something new. It’s held on Thursdays in Byron Bay and Saturday in Bangalow, rain or shine.  

A short 15 minutes from Byron is Bangalow Markets, held on the fourth Sunday of the month. The grounds on which the markets are held are shadowed by giant camphor laurel trees, giving it a magical atmosphere. Find clothes, ceramics and art, as well as food and coffee.  

Cost: free entry 

Fresh produce at Byron Farmers Markets

Fresh produce at Byron Farmers Markets, Byron Bay

Ride the solar train 

A world first, the solar-powered Byron Bay Train is evidence of the region’s commitment to novel sustainable solutions, and is also a completely charming experience. The 1940s-era heritage train runs 364 days of the year (excluding Christmas Day), between the town centre and the North Beach precinct (home to Elements of Byron, Sunrise Beach and the Arts Estate, home to Stone & Wood Brewery). Glide past littoral rainforest, coastal wetlands and over the Belongil Creek on your journey. 

Cost: adults are $5, kids six to 13 are $3 and kids five and under are free. 

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