Guide to 24 Hours in Byron Bay: Top Activities, Restaurants & Pubs
Perhaps you are just passing by on a road trip and only have a day to spend in Byron Bay. Or maybe you’re touring the region and can only spare 24 hours for a stopover in Byron Bay. Of course, we don’t think you could possibly see everything this wonderful area has to offer in 24 hours, but here are some suggestions for Byron Bay activities that we hope will inspire you to return for a longer visit.
6am: Hike to Cape Byron Lighthouse and watch the sunrise
You can’t visit Byron Bay – even if it’s just for 24 hours – without making the pilgrimage to this iconic activity in Byron Bay. It ranks no. 1 among the must-dos. So follow everyone’s advice and visit the lighthouse on your short holiday.
If you’re catching the sunrise, it is best to drive and park either in the free parking near the top or the paid parking right at the top. The Byron Bay Lighthouse is located on the most easterly point of Australia, so the best time to come is sunrise, which will make you among the first people in Australia to see the sun that day.
Once the sun is up, there is are some other fun activities to do around the area including the coastal walk, which surrounds the lighthouse and is an excellent way to see the beautiful beaches and vantage points in this area.
- Make sure to stop at the sign that marks the most easterly point in Australia – take the obligatory photo and post it to Instagram. You know you want to …
- If you happen to be in the area between May and October, be sure to take some time to enjoy the view. You might catch sight of a migrating whale!
- On one side of the walk, you can pass Wategos Beach. This gorgeous beach is worth a stop along the way.
- Another excellent stop along the walk is Fisherman’s Way where you’ll gain access to a vantage point to watch surfers catch a wave at a favorite surf break, The Pass.
- Stop and have a coffee at either The Pass Café (right along the coastal walk) or the Lighthouse Café (please note it is cash only, and there’s no ATM so be prepared!), which offers “In the Pink” gelato as well as coffee and snacks. Both are excellent Byron Bay cafes!
(If you skip the coastal walk…) 8am: Take a swim in the ocean
If you are not taking the coastal walk, then you might enjoy meeting up with some locals to enjoy taking part in this daily ritual. They meet at the Byron Bay Surf Club on Main Beach, walk up to The Pass and swim back (about 1.5km). After watching the sunrise over the beautiful Pacific at the Byron Bay Lighthouse, why not hop in and experience it?
9:30am: Grab a proper brekky
After sunrise at the Lighthouse and either a walk or swim in the ocean, you’ll be ready for more than just that cup of coffee you grabbed at the café. There are tons of excellent options of Byron Bay restaurants that serve breakfast. Check out our guide for some ideas:
11am: Snorkelling at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve
One of the reasons this Byron Bay activity is high up on the list for things to do on a short, 24-hour visit is the chance to swim with an amazing array of marine life. Located just five minutes from the shore of Cape Byron, Julian Rocks features more than 400 types of tropical fish, three species of sea turtles, rays and many more animals.
Plus, snorkelling is an easy way to experience the gorgeous surroundings of the marine reserve without taking up too much time on your quick visit. Most of the local companies make it easy for tourists to go snorkelling by providing all the equipment – allowing you to just show up!
Check out the following companies to take you on your awesome Byron Bay snorkelling adventure:
Sundive Byron Bay – This Byron Bay snorkelling and diving company offers three snorkel tours daily that includes a boat ride out to the reserve, a great view of the lighthouse from the water and even a little sightseeing of the coastline if weather and ocean conditions permit.
Byron Bay Dive Centre – This snorkelling experience takes about 60 minutes, with five opportunities daily to go out to the reserve.
Alternative Late Morning: Check out one of the Byron Bay yoga classes
If you’re making a stop in Byron Bay, considered to be Australia’s unofficial yoga capital, then why not make a point to participate in this popular thing to do in Byron Bay? This is a great alternative to snorkelling to catch another of must-dos while in Byron Bay.
We highly recommend making the most of your short time in Byron Bay by hitting up Beachside Yoga & Massage. Its location above the Byron Bay Surf Club, just off the popular Main Beach, gives you a chance to take in two popular activities in one stop. No bookings are required, and yoga mats are provided. Drop-in classes are $18.
However, if Beachside’s class schedule doesn’t fit your timeframe, then there are lots of alternatives to allow you to participate in Byron Bay yoga, including Byron Yoga Centre, considered one of Byron Bay’s best yoga studios. Or check out our guide for even more options:
1pm: Relax with a Delicious Lunch
There are tons of Byron Bay restaurants to grab a yummy lunch while on your 24-hour holiday. Some top recommendations include:
Top Shop – This Byron Bay restaurant is almost always busy; maybe because its situated right in town in Carlisle Street or perhaps because it is known for serving up great food. A good call would be one of the restaurant’s delicious burgers!
Treehouse on Belongil – Located at beautiful Belongil Beach, just a five minute drive from Byron Bay, Treehouse on Belongil offers both a spectacular view and excellent wood-fired pizzas.
2:30pm: Take your pick between relaxing on a beach, checking out the shopping or taking in the art scene
There are lots of options for ways to fill your afternoon here in Byron Bay (yet another reason to make a trip back for a longer visit!). So we’re suggesting you pick between one of three highly recommended activities, depending on your mood and the weather:
If you’re only in Byron Bay for 24 hours, it might make sense to stick to Main Beach, located in front of Byron Bay’s town centre. This popular beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers during the summer months. However, there are so many great other beaches to try that if you want to go off the beaten track and check out another awesome beach, we suggest:
- Whites Beach (Named the best secret beach by Australian Traveller)
- Cosy Corner
- Brunswick Heads
- Tallows Beach
Byron Bay shopping doesn’t disappoint – from the unique shops and boutiques along Jonson, Lawson and Fletcher Streets to the Byron Bay markets that are always fun to browse. We suggest stopping in to any of the following shops to check out the Byron Bay style.
- Spell Designs
- Byron Bay Greenhouse
- Myee Carlyle
The Arts Trail Byron Bay is a great way to get a taste of the excellent Byron Bay art scene. It takes you through the Arts and Industry Park where you can visit lots of galleries, studios and showrooms, many of which would give you a chance to see artists at work. Be sure to grab a map that guides visitors to participating studios in the park. As you walk along, look for flags marking the Arts Trail locations.
5pm: Take a Byron bushwalk that ends with Happy Hour cocktails
With only a limited amount of time in Byron Bay, we highly recommend taking in the Boardwalks at the Byron Resort & Spa. Take a stroll into the rainforest on the boardwalk behind the Byron at the Byron which is open to the public. Plus, when you’re done, you can indulge in the resort’s must-do happy hour, which takes place from 4:30 to 6pm Sunday to Thursday. (And no, you don’t need to be a guest to nab these great prices!) Sip on a champagne cocktail or spritzer for just $10, or go for the classic choice of beer at $5 or wine at $6.
7pm: Dinner, relaxing camp meal or go out, your choice
Before we get to the array of dining experiences available to you in the Byron Bay area for dinner, you may need to relax and head back to your accommodation for a bit.
If you’ve chosen to stay at the Broken Head Holiday Park (and especially if you have kids), then you could always opt for a fun outdoor dinner at the camp using our excellent BBQ facilities. Eat outside, soaking up more of the beautiful Byron Bay weather. In fact, take a look at some easy recipes (good for even the pickiest eaters) that we’ve rounded up if that route sounds appealing.
However, if you’d rather continue your tour of Byron Bay and check one of the fabulous Byron Bay restaurants, you certainly will be spoiled for choice. Here are just a few suggestions (but there are many more!):
Italian at the Pacific – Across from Main Beach, this contemporary Italian restaurant will provide you with a memorable meal.
Rae’s Fish Café – Because Rae’s on Watego is a popular celebrity stay, if you dine here you might catch sight of a celeb plus you’ll also tuck into some delicious food.
The Petit Snail – If you like French food, make sure to dine at this restaurant. Between traditional French dishes and more foodie entrees, you’re sure to find a winner, plus there’s a great wine menu. (There’s also a kids menu in case you need that too!)
9pm: Grab a drink at a popular Byron Bay pub
Our top choice for a place to grab an evening brew and experience more of Byron Bay’s culture is The Rails, or at least that’s what you should call it if you want to sound like a local. But this top Byron Bay pub’s actual name is the Railway Friendly Bar, due to the fact that the bar happens to be an old railway station, right next to old railway tracks. Head there for your late night cocktails and enjoy some live music – in fact, the bar claims that it is the only pub in Australia that has featured live music every night of the week for 30 years.
Another option or second location would be the Beach Hotel. Known as Top Pub to Byron Bay locals, the Beach Hotel’s terrace sits opposite Main Beach so you can have a drink and gaze out at the ocean view. The large beer garden features shaded tables and bar tables as well as grassy areas. Plus, if you come on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, the beer garden has live music or a DJ.
Go to sleep!
Cozy up in your sleeping accommodation at Broken Head Holiday Park and rest up before you leave Byron Bay with amazing memories of your 24 hours here.
Before you leave …
Don’t sleep too late and add one more hour to your quick 24-hour tour of Byron Bay and head over to the Broken Head Nature Reserve (assuming you wisely picked to stay at Broken Holiday Park!). You could either enjoy walking around the beautiful beach or, if you can spare the time, the walking trail, called Three Sisters, is 1.2km one way and takes about 90 minutes to complete the round trip – the highlight of which is the view from the lookout.
Then before heading out, make a promise to yourself that you’ll return to Byron Bay again soon, and for a longer holiday so you can immerse yourself in all that the area offers holiday goers.
Stay with Broken Head Holiday Park on your 24-hour Visit
Broken Head Holiday Park offers budget accommodation in Byron Bay for even the shortest of visits, including beach cabins, beach shacks or powered and unpowered campsites. Staying here provides the opportunity to be surrounded by the natural beauty of the area, but still within minutes of Byron Bay’s main drag. So keep us in mind when you plan your stopover in the Byron Bay area – we’ll welcome you even if it’s only for 24 hours!