Byron Bay’s Best Kept Secrets
From stunning beaches, laid-back lifestyle and fantastic food, you’ll find plenty of exciting things to do in Byron Bay and its surrounds. As a guest of Broken Head Holiday Park you will be a local for a little while at least – so if you’re wondering what to do in Byron Bay that’s a bit ‘hush hush’ we’ll let you in on a few of the local secrets. That way you’ll have an insider’s guide to getting the most from your stay.
Don’t visit Byron Bay until you read these local secrets!
1. White’s Beach
Choosing Broken Head Holiday Park as the base for your stay means that you will be sleeping right on the doorstep of what is undoubtedly one of Byron Bay’s best kept secrets – White’s Beach at Broken Head.
Its secluded location has helped keep its pristine sands and azure waters a local secret for generations, and it is the perfect place to escape the tourist crowds. The whisper amongst in-the-know surfers is that White’s Beach offers some of the best summer surfing, thanks to the northerly winds which whip up world-class waves. Ask our staff for directions – but don’t tell anyone else how to get there!
2. Munro Handcrafted Surfboards
If a day at White’s Beach has inspired you to invest in your own surf board, drop by Munro Handcrafted Surfboards, where local legend Brett Munro sells his hand-shaped boards. Known as much for his laid-back approach as his quality craftsmanship, Brett is the first choice of many locals when it comes to purchasing a board.
3. Black Dog Surfing
Now you have your board and superb beaches, all you need is a surfing instructor. Byron Bay has a range of surf schools to suit everyone, but among the best is Black Dog Surfing, owned and managed by Dean Johnstone. Dean stood up on his first surfboard when he was 3 years old and has years of competing, judging and coaching behind him.
Black Dog claims to have the best student – instructor ratio of any surf school in the area and if you don’t get to your feet on your board during your first lesson, you can go back for a second lesson for free.
4. Happy Hour at The Byron at Byron
After a hard day of relaxing among the peace and tranquillity of Broken Head Holiday Park, you may be tempted to step in to Byron Bay town centre for a bit of nightlife. Make sure you time your trip in to town with Happy Hour at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, which is on your way, if you choose the right route.
Set within a stunning tropical rainforest off Broken Head Road, The Byron at Byron is an award-winning and luxurious retreat, but you don’t need to be staying there to enjoy a little of its fine living. Happy Hour at The Byron is one of the best-kept local secrets and happens daily from 4.30pm – 6.00pm. Indulge yourself with a classic Champagne cocktail or spritzer at just $10 a throw, or for healthier option try The Byron Mocktail – lemonade or tonic mixed with fresh mint and lemon for just $5.
5. Boardwalks at The Byron
Another of the best things to do in Byron Bay are the boardwalk strolls behind the Byron at the Byron Resort and Spa, which are open to the public. These trail for miles alongside rainforests and are the perfect wind-down after a day in town and ahead of Happy Hour at The Byron itself.
6. The Railway Friendly Bar
Travellers to Byron Bay quenched their thirst at the Railway Friendly Bar for the best part of a century until the final whistle blew on the Casino to Murwillumbah railway line. The trains through Byron Bay might have stopped but the bar by the historic station is thriving, and is a favourite watering hole with locals, particularly on Friday nights.
Known locally as The Rails, this bar is classic and unique, with a rustic metal roof over the inside areas, but lots of outdoor areas too. Describing itself as the only bar in Australia to offer live music every night for over 30 years, it’s the perfect place to down a pint or two after a hard day’s relaxing at Broken Head Holiday Park. Owned by ex-rugby league hero Tom Mooney, this is reputed to be the watering hole where you are most likely to spot him enjoying a drink, if you are lucky.
7. Jewels by Jacqueline
Popular local jewellery designer Jacqueline McCoach started out at the markets in Byron Bay but her oxidized silver pendants, broaches, bangles and rings were soon in such demand that she eventually opened her own store in Byron Bay’s Suffolk Park area (4/11 Korau Place) a couple of years ago.
Jewels by Jacqueline is now stocked in a few select Australian boutiques too. Her trinkets appeal to a younger crowd but you’ll find the older glam set adorning them too. These designs are too nice to pass by!
8. Daily ocean swim
Every morning up to 50 locals gather for a communal swim in the Pacific. They meet up at 8am at the Byron Bay Surf Club at Main Beach, then walk to The Pass and swim the 1.5km back.
Some of the locals who gather for this morning ritual have been enjoying it for decades. As starts to the day go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
9. Byron Bay Farmers’ Market
If you only plan to do the daily ocean swim one day, you might want to splash out of the water and on to the local Byron Bay farmer’s market on Thursday for breakfast. This weekly event is officially open from 8am until 11am, but locals gather there from 6.30am onwards, enjoying a caffeine kick from one of the coffee stands and taking the opportunity to socialise.
This is the perfect chance to pack your picnic basket with a simple and wholesome lunch before heading off for the day – organic bread, locally produced cheese, a handful of Nimbin Valley pecans and some organic fruit. All you need now is a mountain walk and a great view.
10. The Cumbebin Wetlands Boardwalk
You can find this boardwalk just ten minutes from the centre of Byron Bay at the Cumbebin Wetland Sanctuary. These paperbark wetlands are behind the Butler Street market area and are rich in birds and frogs. Take a seat on the boardwalk in the shade of the bangalow and enjoy the view across the wetlands while eating your farmers’ market picnic. This has to be in our top three favourite things to do in Byron Bay.
11. Protestor Falls
Among the highest and most spectacular waterfalls in Australia, the Protestor Falls are named to honour the people who staged the Terania Creek protests in the late 1970s, which saved this important part of the rainforest from loggers. Located in Nightcap National Park, it is well worth venturing out of Broken Head Holiday Park to enjoy a beautiful walk through subtropical bangalow palms and tamarind trees then magnificent rainforests specimens of strangler figs and yellow carabeen trees.
To find the Protestor Falls walking track, drive to the village of The Channon, then carry on for a further 14km to the end of the gravelly Terania Creek Road to find the walking track.
12. Byron Bay coffee orchards
Byron Bay has acquired a reputation as home to some of the best coffee houses in Australia thanks to the 150 plus boutique coffee orchards to be found in its hinterland. The cool microclimate of the New South Wales’ north coast leads to a slower ripening season, resulting in beans with a characteristically sweet taste, which tend to be low in caffeine.
Among the most high profile local coffee orchards is Zentveld’s, which boasts over 22 medals from The Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. Just five minutes south of Bangalow, it’s worth stopping off to buy some of their roast grains or beans from the front office. Believe us, when it comes to secrets locals share, this is one of the best!
For a cup of hot Zentveld’s coffee drive pull up to Bangalow Espresso & Pizza Bar in Bangalow itself – just follow your nose towards the scent of roasted beans.
13. Bangalow Antique Shops
Make a day of it in Bangalow, by browsing its great selection of antique shops which are an invitation to spend a lazy day in this charming hill-side community. Check out Country House Antiques, specialists in restoring artefacts or treat yourself to some classic threads from Don’t Tell Mama.
Bangalow has a beautiful and historic streetscape, and if you want to escape the beach for the day, a trip up the winding hill road to this charming town will add a different perspective to your holiday at Broken Head Holiday Park.
Visit on a Saturday and you can also catch the farmers’ market on Bangalow’s Byron Street which runs from 8am – 11am every Saturday morning.
14. Harvest Cafe at Newrybar
Watch the sun rise at Broken Head Holiday Park then put on your hiking boots for a half hour walk to the village of Newrybar, where the Harvest Cafe, Deli & Bakery serves breakfast from 8am. Relaxed yet chic, Harvest Cafe in Byron Bay has a strong following among locals thanks to the superb local produce.
With delights such as fruit and nut toast served with ricotta and honeycomb and macadamia smoked ocean trout served with scrambled eggs, lemon and sorrel, this is one of the best places to eat in Byron Bay and the breakfast menu is well worth the walk.
15. Newrybar and Coopers’ Shoot farmers’ produce stalls
Take the Byron Bay farmers market experience a step further by pottering past the roadside stalls of Newrybar and Coopers Shoot where local farmers lay out freshly picked fruit and vegetables at roadside stalls – just pick what you want and drop your coins in the honesty boxes provided – a taste of old world charm in every way.
16. Garage sales
Peopled with environmentally-friendly types as it is, Byron Bay is a hotbed of recycling and sustainability and there is no better way for an out-of-towner to grab a bit of this vibe than by seeking out the garage sales which many locals hold on Saturdays at their own homes. There are no regular locations for this, just jump on your bike or in the car and explore….
17. Kayak at Belongil Creek
Renowned for the stunning beachside dwellings, the Belongil area is also home to a fantastic Creek. Launch your kayak near the Belongil Beach Resort and paddle inland past wetlands and across rural farmland.
Off the beaten track, this is a great way to escape the tourist crowds and possibly the second favourite of our list of things to do in Byron Bay.
18. Percussionists at The Wreck
Back in town, The Wreck is one of Byron Bay’s top surf spots, named after the wreck of the ship Wollongbar, which was blown out of the pier during a cyclone in 1922 and sank – parts of the wreck are still visible, depending on the tide. On sunny Sunday afternoons the beach-front car-park overlooking The Wreck is the gathering point for percussionists who will play ’til the sun goes down – one to seek out if you are in the mood for a bit of music.
19. The Belle General
With its motto of “Eat to live to your full potential” this family-run eatery has fast earned a reputation among locals as perhaps the best cafe near Byron Bay. It’s a place to find quality, nourishing food such as its signature egg-white omelettes and muffins which are free of gluten, dairy and sugar.
Using local produce where possible, The Belle General has particular appeal for those who prefer a no-gluten or low-gluten diet, as all their cakes and sweets are gluten-free and often use sugar alternatives such as honey or maple syrup.
The 25km drive from Byron Bay to East Ballina is a bonus not a bind, thanks to the stunning coastal views along the way, and well worth the effort to enjoy a slice of the Belle General’s famous pear and almond tart. Another of those fab secrets locals share.
20. Byron Bay Arts Trail
Byron Bay is a hotbed of artistic creativity, and if you are seeking a souvenir of your stay at Btoken Head Holiday Park take a tip from the locals and check out the Byron Bay Arts Trail. Located at the Byron Bay Arts and Industry Park, this trail will guide you to local artists at work in their studios, offering their wares for sale at a fraction of the cost commanded in town centre shops.
Do you have more things to do in Byron Bay?
So that’s our list of local tips for best things to do in Byron Bay and its surrounds. But maybe you have something to add? If so, do share it with us on our Facebook page or when you come to stay at Broken Head. And remember to keep checking on our website for special rate discounts throughout the year.