The Backpacker’s Guide to Byron Bay
Traveling on a budget? That’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the paradise known as Byron Bay.
Like any other destination, planning a trip to Byron Bay may take some time. It’s especially true when you don’t want to spend a fortune while you’re there.
You have to keep in mind that Byron Bay has wildly popular beaches and amazing natural attractions. That’s why there’s always something fun to do, some even for free.
But before you take off, let’s start with one of the most essential Byron Bay travel tips…
First and foremost, you have to know how to get to Byron Bay. Some essential travel tips to Byron Bay include knowing that it has three airports.
- Ballina Airport is 15 minutes out of the city
- Gold Coast Airport is 45 minutes away
- Brisbane Airport puts you two to three hours away from the city
Gold Coast Airport is often your best bet because it has a broader range of flights. But if convenience is your priority, Ballina is a fair option.
You can also go here by car. Brisbane, the next state over, is the closest major city. However, anyone planning a ride from Sydney should know that it’s on the other end of New South Wales and not exactly practical.
Tips on Finding the Best Byron Bay Accommodation
Perhaps the most popular of all Byron bay hotels is the Byron Bay Beach Hostel. It’s newer than most and its location in the city’s center provides quick access to many points of interest.
In addition, Byron Bay offers a variety of choice accommodations. It has social hostels, upscale resorts, and quite a few inns right on the beach.
The general rule here is that the further away from the center, the cheaper the rooms.
Of course, the time of your visit also affects pricing. Low seasons or Australian winter has the best room rates. But if you’re arriving during the peak season, expect prices to be as much as triple the usual rates even at the cheapest places.
Don’t forget that Byron does offer campsites and caravan parks, too. While they won’t be the cheapest compared to the rest of the country, they’re good enough for a premium destination like Byron Bay.
Areas of Focus
You can split your attention in half: there’s Byron Bay and then there’s the Outside Byron area. And each destination has its unique pros and cons.
For example, most backpackers who focus on Byron Bay would stick to the beaches. It’s great for surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and partying after all. But there’s not a lot of hiking or truly spectacular things to see within the city.
Outside Byron is where you can do your real backpacking. It’s the part of Byron that’s famous for its hippie vibes, gorgeous scenery, and unique attractions.
There’s a lot to do here and time just seems to fly as a result, so make sure you map out some favorite routes to make the most out of it. You can take on bike trails, walking trails, hikes, and plenty of scenic routes of varying degrees of difficulty. In fact, exploring Outside Byron on foot is probably the best way to do it.
You can check out the national parks, try to find a few waterfalls, or even interact with the native wildlife. The area around Byron is where most nature lovers feel at peace.
Byron Bay Travel Tips – Budgeting Your Trip
If you’re an avid backpacker, chances are you like your freedom. But you probably don’t want to spend a fortune, either.
As such, it’s good practice to know about the free things you can do in the area. To start with, going to the Byron Bay markets can help you find cheaper food and affordable trinkets to bring home. Take advantage of the many picnic and BBQ areas on the beach and cook your own food.
If you want to have a spa day, check out Tea Tree Lake. Swimming doesn’t cost anything there and the water is teeming with essential oils. That’s why it’s one of the most common things to do in Byron Bay.
When you want some entertainment, wander around town and listen to the local buskers. You’ll always find someone playing there in the main park.
Spending a few hours on the beach also doesn’t cost a penny, save for the price of sunscreen. But activities such as snorkeling, diving, whale watching cruises aren’t free.
And if you want to party but nightclubs aren’t good for your budget, try something else – join one of the many drum circles. It’s a great way to interact with both locals and other tourists and spend a few hours swapping stories, dancing, eating, and drinking.
Know the Best Surf Spots
The Wreck is Byron’s most iconic surf point. It’s also crowded but it has fantastic breaks and, at night, the aforementioned drum circles.
Main Beach is a solid choice if you’re a beginner and can’t handle big swell rolls. But the season for experienced surfers doesn’t last long here.
Belongil is a suitable alternative thanks to its beginner-friendly inside section. However, this spot offers steep faces during peak season.
Tallows is a perfect spot if you want to chase massive hollow waves. There’s no real room for beginners there, which means lighter crowds.
Affordable Places to Party
Not all of Byron Bay is expensive. Locales like Woodys or Aquarius (AQ) have very affordable drinks for you to enjoy.
Dancing also goes on for most of the night. So if you want to hear some cool live music, know that places like the Rails or Northern often host gigs.
But by far, Cheeky Monkeys wins the popularity contest among backpacker bars. The party here lasts seven days a week, there are many drink deals every day, and dancing on a table is a local custom.
Take Your Time If You Can
Many people would tell you that five days in Byron Bay is enough. But the truth is that the city and its surrounding areas simply have a lot to offer.
So if you want a memorable vacation, try to stay at least a full week. That should give you more time to experience the vibe of the place, interact with the locals, and check out most of its unique attractions, all while not having to stop and catch your breath.