PILLOWS, PURITY, AND PLATES: BYRON BAY TRAVEL GUIDE

VISITING BYRON BAY

When you’ve worked your way through our Brisbane Travel Guide or just simply had enough of city life, drive two hours south past the Gold Coast into Byron Bay in NSW. This is one of the prettiest places on earth (subjective but pretty sure it’s true!), is blessed by the Arakwal Bumberlin tribe, and is hippie central at its finest.

Byron Bay holds a special place in Pra’s heart, going all the way back to the days when she went “glacking” (glam backpacking) with a friend. But, unsurprisingly, what used to be a sleepy boho coastal town two hours’ drive from Brisbane has gradually become busier and, dare we say, slightly spoilt with capitalist wannabe-hippies whipping up multi-million dollar properties down the road at Wategos Bay whilst general prices soar. That being said, there are still gems to be found and the overall vibe is still absolutely lovely!

Make note that there might be a one-hour time difference, depending on the time of year.

 Belongil Beach (this section is part of Elements of Byron)

Belongil Beach (this section is part of Elements of Byron)

TRAVELLING TO AUSTRALIA: ESSENTIAL INFO

Currency:
AUD ($)

Visas:
Everyone, except New Zealanders, needs a visa to enter Australia. Check out www.immi.gov.au

Best Time To Go:
Australia is lucky to have gorgeous weather year-round but for optimal galavanting, try the shoulder seasons of March-May and September-November. Northern Hemisphere travellers may well enjoy visiting in December for a summertime Christmas.

Language:
English

Airline:
Emirates

Average Flight Time:
14 hours (Dubai to Brisbane, nonstop) plus 2 hour drive

Remember:
They drive on the left here

What To Pack:
Byron Bay is a full-blown beach vibe. Leave your heels and tailored dresses behind and throw on a pair of cut-offs, a loose linen shirt, and pull your hair into a messy bun. Don’t forget a chic swimsuit—we’re fans of the ones from Blue Ink Beachwear.

Tourism:
Visit Byron Bay
Australia.com
Byron Bay

BYRON BAY: WHERE TO STAY

Elements of Byron
Elements of Byron, an impressive resort development that includes 94 villas spread out over 20 hectares, is located right on the pristine Belongil Beach. Designed around the four natural elements of water, fire, earth, and air, there’s an organic feel to the architecture and award-winning interior design and the villas are uncluttered and serene. It is a full-blown luxury resort for the capitalist hippie but in the best, most minimalistic way possible.

For our full review, click here.

 The Infinity Lagoon at Elements of Byron (photo credit: Elements of Byron)

The Infinity Lagoon at Elements of Byron
(photo credit: Elements of Byron)

Krishna Village
About an hour’s drive outside of Byron Bay is Eungella, a peaceful town with lush greenery and rolling hills. This is where you’ll find the Krishna Village Eco-Yoga Community, a place of purity and getting back to appreciating the simpler things in life. Enjoy the fresh and flavorful vegetarian Indian-style Krishna food and immerse yourself in activities, from joining a Kirtan singing session to meditating or doing yoga, or visiting nearby Massage Rocks, one of the special places here among the Hare Krishna, to take a dip in the fresh, cool water.

For our full review, click here.

 Welcome to Krishna Village (photo credit: Krishna Village)

Welcome to Krishna Village
(photo credit: Krishna Village)

Shambhala at Byron
Shambhala at Byron is a hidden retreat on Belongil Beach, which means you’re just steps away from a gorgeous stretch of pristine white sand. There are four fully equipped and uniquely different Balinese-style villas where you’ll feel right at home while enjoying amenities like jacuzzis and private garden terraces. It’s basically one, big, super chill bubble where you can escape from the world and find your zen and it’s the perfect answer for those looking for relaxation without the froufiness of being in a hotel.

For our full review, click here.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS

Beach Hotel
This is the most central place to be and stay in Byron Bay, plus you’ve got the packed and popular Beach Hotel Bar overlooking the beach. Despite that, it’s actually very quiet so you’ll still get some good zzz’s.

 A fun and quirky sign at Beach Hotel

A fun and quirky sign at Beach Hotel

The Byron at Byron
An intimate resort surrounded by a subtropical rainforest, The Byron is chic and modern with all the gadgets and creature comforts. It’s on par with Elements of Byron.

Halcyon House
We were absolutely gutted about not being able to visit Halcyon House, about 30 minutes north of Byron Bay. We’ve heard it’s THE place to hang and not one person has had anything less than stellar to say about it.

BYRON BAY: WHERE TO CHILL

Our main dose of purity was found during our stay at Krishna Village but if that’s not your vibe or you’re just not able to get out that way, here are some other options where you can unwind and refresh your mind, body, and soul.

Byron Bay Lighthouse
When you’re in the Byron Bay area, Wategos Beach is a must-visit, as is the Byron Bay Lighthouse just down the road. You’ll get the laid-back Byron vibe here but with a good sprinkle of sophistication.

Gaia Retreat & Spa
Gaia has a fabulous reputation for having the ability to recharge people’s batteries. Visit the day spa for a stimulating treatment or do the whole retreat experience by staying here.

BYRON BAY: WHERE TO EAT

Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.
Smack bang in town right behind Byron Hotel, you can’t miss this place. They have the best cocktails and it’s still one of the best places for chilling as you watch the world go by.

 The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

Beach Byron Bay
We had the most delicious breakfast here and its location on Clarkes Beach (a short stroll from the busy part of Byron) gives it a chill vibe.

Harvest
One of our faves, Harvest is located in Newrybar, a 15-minute drive from Byron. Dine by the fire or make your way onto the terrace deck. Bookings definitely recommended.

The Farm
You’ll see the unmistakeable fingerprint logo of The Farm as you go in and out of Byron. It’s a fab market and the rustic tin shed structure houses a trendy café and restaurant.

OTHER THINGS YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T MISS IN BYRON BAY

Bangalow
This sleepy little town is right next to Byron Bay and full of beauty. Check out Island Luxe—the conceptual store will put a dent in your wallet but it’s absolutely worth browsing.

Crystal Castle
Home to the world’s biggest crystals, this sacred nature space is the epitome of Byron Bay. Wander through the subtropical Shambhala Gardens or explore inside the Enchanted Cave, a massive amethyst geode!

Minyon Falls Lookout
Located in Nightcap National Park, this picturesque spot has breathtaking views of the waterfall and rainforest.

 Get back to nature at Minyon Falls

Get back to nature at Minyon Falls

Finally, if you’re keen on roaming a bit more around Oz, follow our Part II guide and shoot over to Victoria to hang out in uber trendy Melbourne for a good city buzz and Daylesford for a luxe touch of nature.