Byron Bay, Australia is famous for its excellent surfing. The sweet waves, endless sunshine and gorgeous beaches make it a dream come true for any surfer - whether you are a novice or you have been carving swells for years.
However, even though many people head to Byron Bay for surfing, it’s not the only thing that you can do in this scenic East Coast Australian destination. If you are not a surfer, or if you have had your fill of catching waves for the day, there are plenty of other things to enjoy. Here are a few ideas of what else you can do in Byron Bay.
Watch the Sunrise at the Byron Bay Lighthouse
This picturesque point is the most easterly spot in Australia and the sweeping panorama of beaches, sand and greenery will take your breath away.
Start on the 45 minute walking trail to the Byron Bay Lighthouse before the crack of dawn, it will take you all the way from the main beach to this dramatic craggy point. Or, if you are not up for the walk you can drive instead. This lighthouse is an iconic symbol of Byron Bay. Built in 1901, it has been offering its guiding beams to ships for over a century.
After you watch the sun emerge over the horizon, warming the waves with its fierce glow, you can take a detour to Fisherman's Lookout and see the early morning surfers already hitting the waves. This surf break is known as The Pass and it is one of the most famous in Australia.
Take a Yoga Class
Take a deep breath, stretch up towards the sky and feel all of the tension leaving your body. Yoga makes you feel amazing and what better place to practice than on a beach in Byron Bay with your face turned towards the fresh sea breeze?
Byron Bay is in love with Yoga and there are many different classes to choose from, including everything from full on yoga retreats to beginners lessons. The teachers are internationally known and there are classes for everyone, from beginners to long-time yogis. Check out this great guide to the best yoga classes in Byron Bay.
Go Shopping at the Farmers Market
Feast on some yummy treats at the Byron Bay Farmer’s Market, which happens every Thursday morning from 8am until 11am. It takes place at Butler St. Reserve and it has been operating since 2002. It was created by the local farmers and families who wanted to create a marketplace for healthy, unique and locally grown food.
There are all sorts of gourmet treats available here, from freshly pressed sugarcane juice to macadamia nuts to locally caught prawns and fish. You’ll also be able to sample dips, jams and chutneys, as well as bacon and sausages made from prime cuts of pork and beef raised near Byron Bay. The foods featured here are always fresh and high quality and the local vendors are friendly… you’ll want to linger all morning just tasting and chatting.
Day Trip to Minyon Falls
Minyon Falls is a dramatic plunge waterfall, rushing headlong over the edge of a sheer rock face on Repentance Creek in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. The top of the falls is surrounded by lush gum trees and tallowwood and the humid air is filled with the laughing calls of kookaburra and the chatter of other rainforest birds.
You may even be lucky enough to spot a sleepy koala curled in a tree or a red-eyed green tree frog. It’s cool and peaceful in this green paradise and the steady roar of the falls is almost hypnotic. There is a picnic area there with shady trees and barbeques, so it’s a fantastic spot to have lunch. If you are feeling up to it, you can tackle the 13km return Minyon Falls Walking Track.
The falls are only a 45 minute drive from Byron Bay, making them an ideal destination for a day trip. Various local tour companies offer trips, making it easy to visit even if you don’t have your own car.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Byron Bay besides surfing, so if you want a break from the waves you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Of course, even if you just want to spend a day doing nothing in Byron Bay - that’s fine too. This chilled out beachside town is the ideal place to simply relax, listen to the waves and forget about the rest of the world for a while.
Kelly Dunning is a Canadian freelance travel writer. She lives a nomadic lifestyle with no fixed address - working from the road for the last 6 years with her partner Lee, a web-designer from England. They have traveled to over 45 countries and they offer travel tips, stories and inspiration on Global-Goose.com. Follow their adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.