A short list of inspiration for those who have run our of money or ideas. These are probably the reasons you decided to travel in the first place – so giddy up kids. Remind yourselves that you don’t need stacks of cash to enjoy yourself, especially in Byron Bay.
The Byron Bay lighthouse is a sight in itself, a great place to look for whales and admire the view along Tallows Beach, however the walk to the lighthouse from Byron township is a personal favorite. It’s not a short walk, so best to take some water and if you like, a picnic lunch. Wear reasonable walking shoes, not thongs as you will be walking on gravel uphill.
Wherever you start from in town, head towards Main Beach and find the footpath the follows on the town-side of the beach. Follow the footpath until it turns into a boardwalk and just keep walking. The boardwalk has a great view over Main Beach, I wont spoil it with a picture, just trust me that you WILL be impressed. Continue to follow the signs that point to the lighthouse (dah) that will take you to Fisherman’s Lookout. There is a big carpark here and a little cafe. Wait until the return journey to hear out to the lookout on the beach, you’ll see why later.
From Fisherman’s Lookout follow the signs up to the headland towards the lighthouse and you will get great views over Wategos Beach. After you descend back to the flat ground, follow the footpath beside Marine Parade until the bend at the end of the beach and you will see a small gravel pathway heading back up – this will take you to the lighthouse via the most Easterly point of Australia (more on that below).
The path is a little rough for those with physical disabilities, and if you’re not in a decent physical condition I would suggest not trying this. It is worth it though, plus you feel great when you’re at the top!
There are some small looping walking tracks for you to explore at the top of the headland and around the lighthouse. Take your time, it’s great up there! When you’re ready to head back to town, follow the track back the way you can until you hit Fisherman’s Lookout. Head down to the beach and up to the lookout. It’s a great place to take your sweeping photo of Main Beach. Then, because your legs will bee a stretch and because you’re nearly done, walk the whole of Main Beach back to town along the water’s edge, barefoot, skipping in and out of the water. If it’s warm enough – hello swimming time!
The walk is about 4kms from the end of Johnston Street (where the Quicksilver shop is, and the Main Beach carpark/pool) to the lighthouse, the 4kms again on the return trip, plus any extra loops that you add in at the headland and lighthouse.
Visit the most Easterly Point of the Aussie Mainland
It pretty much speaks for itself. It’s as far east as you can go on the Australian mainland. To get here, you can either take the lighthouse walk form Byron Bay, or drive to the lighthouse and take a short stroll down the hill (better for those will limited mobility). The lookout is a great place for imagining the edge of the world, plus it can be the start of a new photo collection for you, you can collect this series:
- Northernmost point – Cape York Peninsula, Queensland
- Southernmost point – South Point, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria. (If you include Tasmania then it’s South East Cape, Tasmania)
- Westernmost point – Steep Point, Western Australia
Hit the beach – Tallows, Wategos or Main
Whether it be lounging about and working on your tan, catching up on your reading, surfing, snorkeling, swimming or splashing about, the beaches of Byron are a great place to loose track of time. Literally. Time just fails to exist here.
Three great beach options are Main Beach (at the end of Johnston Street) in the main part of town. This is the most crowded and popular beach, it’s also the one from all the photos and has a lifesaving club to help incase you get into any trouble. Tallows Beach is the back-beach of Byron. It has good surf, especially Cosy Corner near the lighthouse and is so long you will get sore legs walking the whole thing – but you should do it anyway. It’s easy to get a spot of sand to yourself here. Just be careful of the rip, it can be strong.
Wategos Beach is stunning. Just stunning. It lies between Main Beach and Tallows and is more of a locals hotspot and great surf spot. To get her take Lighthouse Road over the headland. It’s also a great place for dolphin spotting! This (below) is Wategos. Incredible right!?
Markets / Window Shopping
As a general rule, I don’t think that NSW know how to do markets. Queensland are the market-masters. However Byron Bay markets are the one exception to this rule. They are a decent size and have a great mix of handmade goods, food, local produce and musical acts. This means that you don’t need to buy shit to have fun. The markets themselves are just a nice place to hang out (that is why I think Queensland markets are far better than NSW, they have a vibe and are not just all about the money, money, money). The markets are held on Butler Street reserve on the first Sunday of every month. If you’re not about on a Sunday, then just stroll the shops of Byron and window shop. Now-a-days there are a lot of chain stores selling the same shit as everywhere else, but step off Johnston Street and you will find a lot of local shops, handcrafts and quirky stores. Just take a wander, talk to the shopkeepers, relax, enjoy yourself.
Slacklining on the foreshore
On any given day there are a range of different groups setting up their slacklines on the foreshore and walking the tightrope, practising their circus tricks and generally just chilling. While this is not a tourist attraction, but just people doin’ their thang, if you’re in town for a while and want a a new experience you can make some mates here, everyone is super friendly and will help you to use their equipment. If you can offer them a smoke or drink afterwards, then you’ll be even be invited back.
Ohh.. what is slacklining? It’s basically tightrope walking, but you will start off very close to the ground. It’s both great fun and a really good workout.
What’s that – free accommodation in Byron Bay? Interested? You should be. Most of the hostels in Byron Bay offer free accommodation if you work for 3 hours per day for them and are willing to stay a minimum of 3 weeks. Imagine having 3 weeks of free accom in Byron Bay. Ummm. yes please! Work for accommodation jobs are usually housekeeping, helping with hostel activities, driving busses and reception (read about how we got 3 weeks of free accommodation in Mission Beach).
Free accommodation in great, but how about free food an accomm? Yippee! Look into WOOFING if you’re interested in organic farm work, or helping other people in establishing their gardens, businesses then you can do that for, live in their house and get a few meals thrown in too. There are a lot of WOOFING opportunities in the hinterland around Byron Bay and you get days off to explore the area and lounge at the beach! More info about WOOFING here.
Really stuck for cash?
Well, get a job! There are always jobs going in Byron Bay. Seriously. If you can’t find a job vacancy in Byron then you’re really not looking hard enough. If you have any hospitality experience then you should be able to pick up a few shifts here and there. Add that to free accommodation and you’re winning!
Around Byron Bay
Take a daytrip to some of the surrounding areas:
Byron & Brunswick Heads – hippies, surf and good times. Pick your pace: high energy and activity in Byron Bay, or so laid back it’s almost asleep Brunswick Heads.
Lismore & Nimbin – No doubt you have heard of Nimbin and we must say it is much nicer now than when we visited a few years ago, but be sure to check out the surrounding Nimbin Rocks and (unofficially lesbian-mecca) town of Lismore too.
Ballina Coast & Hinterland – Lennox Head. That’s all you need to know about this region. Go there. Love it. Struggle to leave. Vow to return.