Australia has so many amazing places to visit and I finally got to experience Byron Bay. Along with visiting Byron Bay, I also spent a few days in the Gold Coast before heading home. The length of my trip was 7 days but 2 of those days were spent in Byron Bay. While I was there I made sure to visit other popular cities within an hours drive such as Nimbin, Brunswick Heads, and Mullumbimby.
Byron Bay is a cute and slow pace coastal town located in the Southeastern part of Australia. It’s known as the perfect location for surfers, van life dwellers, yogis, and anyone whose looking to try a new kind of laid back lifestyle.
My adventure started with a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast that landed at 8 a.m. In my opinion, early morning flights are the best because there’s no one on the road, the airport is calmer than usual, and depending on the time you land you might still have the whole day to get your vacation on.No matter how long a flight is, I always try to sleep because I can’t be bothered trying to do anything else.
The weather in Melbourne was still cold so landing in the Gold Coast was such a nice change. The sun was shining and the temperature was warm so I knew it was going to be a good first day.
Bangalow and Bexhill
The drive from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay is only about 45 minutes so once I picked up my rental I started to make my way towards that direction to check out Minyon Falls. Whenever I travel, I always try to see a few waterfalls if there are any nearby.
With no real plan I ended up in Bangalow which is another chill little town near Byron Bay. There was also a nice little lookout spot on the drive there. Nature is truly amazing and nothing is better than a free attraction.
Once in Bangalow, I stumbled upon this artists compound that has a bunch of studios with artists specializing in all sorts of mediums. Emily was one of the artists that I got to meet and she let me check out her jewelry studio. Her studio is every creatives dream with a huge work area and lots of room for storage. She loves plants so there was a ton of them inside and outside the studio.
Whenever I meet and chat with locals, I like to ask for any recommendations whether it be things to do, see, or eat. The recommendations that I got from Emily were to go check out this Open Air Cathedral and vibrant blue lake caused by minerals in the town of Bexhill. It was only a short drive from Bangalow to Bexhill so I was down for the adventure. The Bexhill Open Air Cathedral was a cool thing to see but the view was kind of underwhelming. Either there was a bunch of foliage had overgrown blocking the view or I was too short.
The vibrant blue lake was less than 5 minutes from the cathedral and then only a quick walk from the car park. There was a group of teens about to swim in the water when I got there so I let them tell me how it is. The guys seemed to not have a worry being in the water, but once the girls got in they immediately got out because it was way too cold. Overall, I thought the lake was a really pretty to see in person but you definitely aren’t going to catch me jumping in that water.
Minyon Falls and Whian Whian Falls
One of the girls gave me the recommendation to go check out Whian Whian waterfall since I was on a DIY nature tour. From the jump she told me that it was a bit complicated to get to but I decided to take my chances anyways. My first attempt failed because all I did was type “Whian Whian” in my GPS and thought that there would be a ton of signage leading me to the waterfall. After spending too much time pretty much getting lost, I decided to turn my sights to going to Minyon Falls.
I ended up running into another navigation issue because the main road that takes you to Minyon Falls was closed right before you reach the waterfall due to construction. The sign gave a suggestion for an alternate route but it wasn’t as simple as it sounded. Basically the sign was saying to reach Minyon Falls you have to come from the opposite end of Minyon Falls Road, but on the sign all it said was use Minyon Road. I guess I was the only one who didn’t know Minyon Falls Road is also called Minyon Road but it’s okay because eventually I figured it out.
Unfortunately it hadn’t rained in a while so Minyon Falls was pretty much dried up. There was literally sprinkles of water falling off the edge so it was nowhere near how amazing it usually looks. Regardless, the view from the top was really nice and quite a long drop to the bottom.
After seeing Minyon Falls, I was re-determined to find Whian Whian waterfall. Google came through because I managed to find an article that gave exact directions on how to find this waterfall. Turns out that I had completely passed it during my first attempt to find it. From the makeshift car park, it was a short walk along the side of a fence and eventually you reach the falls once you maneuver down a few rocks.
Once again this waterfall was dried out because the dam was closed apparently so there was only this one spot where water was falling from. Usually it’s this spectacular multi tiered waterfall that you can see in this pic here. The sun was shining down in the perfect spot so it created a beautiful bokeh that I had to get a shot of.
In addition, the water was a bit transparent so can see a bunch of rocks at the bottom. Because of the lack of water I was able to get this really cool shot in front of the waterfall via iPhone self timer. Although the waterfall wasn’t what it usually is, I still really enjoyed seeing it and would definitely recommend it if you are visiting Byron Bay.
Sunset in Byron Bay
By this time it was close to 3 or 4 p.m. so I started to make my way to Byron Bay where I was staying for the next two nights. When I made it into town, the sun was already starting to set so I headed straight to the Main Beach. There was a good amount of other people already there enjoying the sunset by playing music or throwing ball. This was my first Byron Bay sunset and I made it a goal to see as many sunrises and sunsets that I can on my trip. This sunset was a vibrant shade of orange turning everything into a golden haze.
Once the sun had set, I headed to Byron Bay Beach Hostel which was only a short 3 minute drive from the beach. This is was my first time staying at a hostel and it was such a great experience. This hostel was definitely more boutique style with brand new rooms, a huge communal kitchen, outdoor area, bar and more.
My biggest hesitation with hostels is being in a small space with lots of strangers and everything being dirty. I can be pretty germaphobic when it comes to public spaces, but staying here didn’t make me want to rub my skin with Lysol after.
The entire staff was incredibly friendly and helpful which added to the experience. There are also a ton of activity options but I wasn’t staying long enough to really indulge in everything.
After checking in, I headed to my room which was a female 4 bed room and there was already two girls there with beds claimed. I ended up meeting them soon after and they were both so nice and easy to chat with. One of the girls and I even made plans to check out the Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens which you’ll be able to read all about further in this post.
The first thing I wanted to do before anything else after getting settled was taking a shower. Whenever I travel it’s mandatory that I shower every night because being in a foreign space always makes me feel dirtier than I actually might be. Anyone else feel this way?
Dinner at Main Street Burger Bar
At this point, I had definitely worked up an appetite so it scanned my Byron Bay Google doc for a place to eat. Before I go on trips, I like to read pretty much every article and create a personal Google Doc typing out any food I want to try or places that I want to experience.
My first dinner in Byron was at Main Street Burger Bar which specializes in using 100% grass fed meat and local produce. I ordered the Classic Cheeseburger with a side of sweet potato fries which are my favorite kind of chips. The burger was good but it definitely wasn’t the best burger that I’ve ever had but that’s mainly because it tasted healthier. I will say that the sweet potato fries were really good. After eating, I headed back to the hostel and my night ended at 10 p.m. so I could wake up early to catch my first Byron Bay sunrise.
Sunrise at Byron Bay Lighthouse
I’ve never been one to wake up before 6 a.m. but I was on something else during this trip. I read that it’s a must to watch the sunrise at the Byron Bay Lighthouse and it was only a few minute drive from where I was staying so I headed out at around 5:40 a.m.
The view from the top was so crazy with the view of the entire ocean shoreline, rocks, and horizon in the distance. For this sunrise the colors were a mix of pink and purple hues that I was so grateful to witness. There was a few other people there watching the sunrise too so it was quiet and not as busy as it usually gets during opening hours.
Breakfast at Bayleaf Cafe
Even when you wake up early, the time still seems to go by really fast because before I knew it it was 8 a.m. and time to get breakfast. Bayleaf Cafe was one of the places on my list to eat so that’s where I headed. It’s a classic aesthetically pleasing cafe with a simple and wholesome breakfast menu. I guess everyone in Byron wakes up early because there was a decent amount of people already out and about.
Usually I don’t drink coffee, but opted for an iced one to keep me going for the day. For food I ordered eggs with sourdough bread and added bacon to make it more exciting. The meal was basic but tasty nonetheless and got me fueled up to go visit all the beaches that Byron Bay has to offer. There are more exciting dishes on the menu, but I opted for something known and trusted.
This was my first time seeing Byron in the daylight and it’s such a colorful little town. There’s a ton of art murals, surf shops, local businesses, restaurants and cafes to try, live music to hear and so much more. In addition, there’s so much greenery really making you feel like you’re one with nature. My favorite is definitely all the palm trees!
My next plan of action was to visit all the beach in Byron. The good part is that the coast of Byron isn’t too spread out so the drive from beach to beach was only like 5 minutes.
Beaches in Byron Bay
Belongil Beach and The Wreck
Belongil Beach was my first stop and it was a great start to the rest of the day. There was only a handful of people on the beach and a majority of them were surfers. I didn’t bother trying to get in the water because that’s not what today was for. I spent a bit of time sitting next to this dog that was just chilling by itself with no care in the world. The next beach was The Wreck and it wasn’t too different from Belongli Beach since it was right next door.
I had already been to Main Beach the day before so I didn’t go down near the shore and walk on the sand this time. Instead, I walked on the grassy area that is parallel to the beach. There are a few motels and condo accommodations, but other than that there wasn’t much . So far it looked like the most crowded beach but that makes sense since it’s right across from the town centre.
Clarkes Beach was the next beach and there was less people than there were at Belongil Beach. There was this makeshift pool creating a neck with a strip of land that leads you towards The Pass. The beach wasn’t packed either with only a few runners going for a morning jog.
My favorite beach was probably The Pass because there was this tree house looking structure that gives you amazing views of the beach and all the rocks. There was also a few surfers out in the water which was funny to watch.
Since Watego’s Beach was only a quick walk around a few rocks, I continued my trek across the sand. This is also one of my favorite beaches because of all the cliffs surrounding it and the rocks nestled right where the water meets the shore. There are a ton of great little nooks to lay your blanket and have a picnic. Little Watego’s Beach is another recommended beach to check out but I didn’t walk all the way to the tip.
Cosy Corner was my second to last stop and it was also a favorite mainly because of the absolutely gorgeous architecture of Rae’s. There was no way to deny that this is where all the wealthy people stay when they come to visit Byron. Rae’s is a Greek inspired hotel, spa, and restaurant situated right by the beach. The exterior is a gorgeous white stucco with all the classic touches of wood, touch of blue, and arched doorways. I took so many photos of the space and even asked the receptionist to take a photo of me in front of one of the doors. Cosy Corner looked like another popular spot for surfers because I saw the most here so far trying to catch some waves.
Tallow’s Beach was definitely the longest beach because it looked like it stretched on forever. It looks like the main hot spot for surfers and van dwellers because there was a ton of vans and a few groups of surfer dudes skating in the car park. There was a nice cliff formation in the distance but other than that there wasn’t much going on at the beach which makes it a great spot if you just want to lounge and have a nice walk down the shore.
You would think that the whole day was over by the time I finished visiting all the beaches in Byron but it was actually only noon. Oh the joys of waking up for the sunrise.
My day continued with a trip to Crystal Castles with one of my roommates Daniela. She’s been living in Byron for a month or so and had been wanting to visit but didn’t have a car in Byron and since it was one of the places on my list, I invited her to come along.
Lunch at The General Store
Daniela recommend The General Store for lunch so we ate there before heading to Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens. I was confused at first too but The General Store is the name of a cafe that offers a diverse menu of vegan waffles, burgers, poke bowls and smoothie bowls.
The interior was so aesthetically pleasing with lots of wood and florals. I ordered the Vegan Buckwheat Waffles and it was SO good. I usually don’t like fruit on my waffles, but absolutely loved the dish. It was the perfect amount of sweetness and I couldn’t even tell that it was vegan. Would highly recommend trying it when you’re in Byron Bay.
Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens
Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens is only a 30 minutes drive from Byron Bay and it’s a nice little scenic drive. This place is known as a magical sanctuary that offers the tranquil Shambhala Gardens, views of the rainforest, the tallest two standing crystals on earth, and various spiritual experiences throughout the grounds.
We made it just in time for the last Peace Experience of the day at 3 p.m. so that where our journey started. During the experience we each were laid out comfortably on our own mats with our eyes closed enjoying a sound meditation.
The instructor also played sounds made with singing bowls which I had never heard the sound of before. The entire experience lasted close to an hour so it was so relaxing. When it was over, I felt lighter and almost like I had gone into a daze.
Crystal Castle closes at 5 p.m. so we had an hour left to explore the rest of the gardens. There was this huge Buddha structure surrounded by bamboo that was so beautiful to see in person. The mosaic tile created the most eye catching base and the water overflowing created the most tranquil soundtrack.
Right next to it was this circle structure made out of large rose quartz. I can’t imagine how heavy they probably are. Close by there was a huge statue of Ganesha that was really beautiful too.
The view of the rain forest was so pretty and all the different colorful plants and flowers were so mesmerizing. This whole place was giving me serious future backyard garden goals. At last we made it to the two largest crystal structures in the world and it was cool to see in person. I can’t imagine how much it would actually cost if someone wanted that in their home.
Crystal Castle & The Shambhala Gardens also has an amazing gift shop that would fulfill every spiritual or crystal loving persons dreams. One of my favorite items was one of those geode crystal bowls that we’ve all seen on Pinterest being used as bathroom sinks that cost over $10,000! They take Afterpay though so maybe the dreams aren’t too far off. The gift shop offered everything from singing bowls, books, home decor, clothing, jewelry and more.
On our way out, we saw this tree that had all these little notes hanging off of it. There was a basket of markers, string, little pieces of papers, and a prompt about what you’re grateful for and what you’re hopeful for. We each left a piece of us there at Crystal Castle which is cool to say since it truly is such a magical place. The entire atmosphere is so calming and the space feels safe. I would definitely recommend making time to visit while in Byron Bay.
Dinner at Miss Margarita
When we made it back to our hostel it was close to 6 p.m which means close to bed time for me. The first thing I did was shower and then headed to Miss Margarita for a solo dinner. This was another restaurant on my list and it must have been on everyone else’s too since the place was packed. I didn’t wait too long to get a table and was sat on the second floor in this cute little room surrounded by authentic looking interior.
Along with a classic Mexican menu, it’s a great place to get drinks so I decided to try one of their beers. Back in the US, my beer of choice would be a Blue Moon because I love a fruity note so I asked my waiter for a similar recommendation. I got a Stone Wood Pacific Ale and ordered nachos with pulled pork and stacked with all the works. The dish definitely hit all the spots but it was too much for me to finish on my own. This is for sure a good spot to eat while in Byron so add it to your list. Once I was done with dinner, I headed back to the hostel and went to bed.
Sunrise at Main Beach
Since it was my last day in Byron, I made sure to get up for the final sunrise at 5:40 a.m. This time I watched the sunrise from Main Beach and although it wasn’t as good as the view from the lighthouse, it was still nice. I just sat and watched from the car window while enjoying the breeze. It seems like a common practice because there were a few other people there doing the same thing.
The Cumbebin Water Boardwalk was one of the attractions that I read was worth a visit. It’s a part of the Arakwal Wetlands and the Cumbebin swamp was used as a hunting and gathering spot for the indigenous Arakwal people. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the boardwalk and didn’t feel comfortable walking through the bushes because who knows what lives in there.
I always love getting off the beaten track and driving around different streets aimlessly looking for unique spots. My goal is to try and get as elevated as possible for the best view so I turned onto every street that was on an incline. Each street boasted an array of different style homes with the dreamiest exterior. There were so many trees and plants that really added to the whole coastal vibe. In the distance you could even see the lighthouse!
Breakfast at The Top Shop
It was getting close to 10 a.m. so I was getting hungry. Luckily, I stumbled across The Top Shop which is a super chill breakfast spot offering smoothie bowls, coffee, burgers, sandwiches, and so much more. The shop has the calmest vibe with a grassy area and blankets were people can sit down and eat. Plus, the workers were all so nice.
I ended up ordering the Breakfast Burger and holy shit it was definitely one of the yummiest things I’ve ever eaten. It was a huge bun stuffed with bacon, egg, cheese, a hash brown, avocado, lettuce, tomato, relish, and mayo. Since the burger was so huge, it was hard for me to get everything in each bite but each bite was mouthwatering none the less.
Shopping in Town Centre
After getting nice and stuffed, it was time to do some shopping. There had been a few stores that I made note earlier that I wanted to check out. The first one was Miss Brown Vintage, which is a popular vintage clothing store throughout Australia. They always have a huge selection of Levi jeans, shorts, skirts and jackets.
The next few stores I checked out were Auguste The Label, Assembly Label, and Etnix which are all Australian boutique clothing stores. All their clothing are perfect for that laid back coastal lifestyle offering simple linens, breathable pieces and flowy dresses. I also checked out the infamous Rainbow Store which sells a variety of colorful and tie dye clothing pieces and accessories.
I had been in the hunt for a good exfoliating scrub so I popped into iKOU which is an organic skin care line made here in Australia. The girl who helped me was so sweet and let me test out two of the exfoliating scrubs that they have. I ended up getting the iKOU Man Deep Cleansing Face Polish for a deeper pore exfoliation.
Another shop that I ended up picking up something from was Trash Vintage which sells a bunch of retro and unique vintage pieces. I’m a sucker for sunglasses and got these sick sunnies, a pair of trousers with this cool blue print, and green shimmer lounge shorts. Of all the shops, I would say this is one to definitely stop into.
Visiting the Cape Byron Lighthouse and the Most Easternly Point
Before heading out of Byron, I wanted to go see the Byron Bay Lighthouse in its full extent. Parking is kind of a nightmare, but I managed to snag a spot at the bottom which is a short walk from the actual lighthouse. There is also parking at the top but it costs $8 and is usually full. The view from the lighthouse was so spectacular from every angle. I loved watching the waves crash onto the rocks and seeing the whales and dolphins in the distance.
Past the lighthouse, I continued to walk towards the most Easterly point in Australia. Along the way, there are a few different lookout points that are so nice. Overall I’m really glad that I visited the lighthouse again before my Byron adventures came to an end.
The rest of my day was spent visiting the colorful town of Nimbin and arriving in the Brunswick Heads which I’ll detail in my next snapshot posts.
Did my Byron Bay itinerary help you? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create, and grow.