The renowned destination Byron Bay conjures up images of free spirited days frolicking on pristine beaches with the mountains as the backdrop.
But there’s more to this Northern NSW town than meets the eye and we wander from town into the arts estate to find out more.
Here are our top tips to stay, play and eat on your next getaway to the bay.
From a team who know their wine and food (part owed by Hunter Valley winemaker Peter Windrim) they pride themselves on offering an array of natural wines from around the globe.
With an ever-evolving wine list (we tried a fine drop from Sato, two Japanese winemakers mixing it up in NZ) served in traditional clay soul cups-pending on your challis of choice.
There’s tasty, finger food on offer, like fresh sardines draped in olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. A no cutlery policy means a serviette is thrown on the ground as a nod of respect to the cooks-European style.
Dinner & Drinks, 7 nights from 5pm, Lunch Sat & Sun from 1pm
It’s a modern Asian bar, come diner, come super chilled place to hang out. The Vietnamese inspired décor, cocktail menu and uplifting staff add to the relaxed style.
Cheeky named cocktails like ‘Netflix & Chill’ are a blend of local favourites like Brookies macadamia liqueur, popcorn infused spiced rum, passionfruit, lemon and aquafaba.
Check out their hot pho & cold beer mid-week special, Light Years is all about the pun (or pho) need we say more.
Open 7 nights from 5pm, lunch Sun 11.30-3.30pm
Perched high above the bustling shopping strip, this beauty boasts one of the finest views in town.
More recently known as the Balcony Bar & Oyster Co, with fresh oysters, a crafted cocktail list, lounge area or high bar dining-this is one popular beachside venue.
Match a weekend of bottomless bellinis with their popular oyster hour or try a delicious espresso martini with a candied orange twist.
Open 7 days from 12 noon- late, Sat & breakfast from 9am
An eye for detail and good quality produce 100 mile table is the perfect accompaniment to the naturally crafted beer that S&W produce.
Think sticky chicken wings, grilled polenta, beef brisket massam curry and local brewers charcuterie board-matched perfectly with a sticky nectar beer from the counter culture range.
Open 7 days from 12-3pm, fuel up for lunch then take a tour of the brewery for afternoon tea or beer.
The moment you step foot into Barrio’s open plan dining hall your senses come alive, with a smoking room kitchen, the aromas seep into every corner.
A counter full of fresh produce greets you on arrival and with a changing weekly salad menu, you can even make you own nourish bowl from selected ingredients.
Local favourites include roasted fennel, beans, rocket and salsa verde, coupled with chipotle corn bread, pickled cabbage and labne-add a fresh apperol spritz to boot.
Open Mon-Sat from 7am- 9pm
The creative team behind the ducks is well known for its Sydney eateries, but when they landed at The Farm in Byron they took the Northern Rivers food scene up a notch!
A great day out for the whole family, kids can be entertained in the green open pastures, while eating a baked treat from the Bread Social counter. Mum & Dad can sit on the farm deck and enjoy the locally inspired menu, accompanied with craft beers and natural wines.
The menu changes with the seasons, enjoy Moreton Bay bugs, turmeric, lemongrass and ginger curry, greens with Nimbin brown rice.
Open for lunch Monday-Thursday 12-3pm, Friday-Sunday all day menu 12pm-10pm
Reminisce of a Spanish Hacienda the slick rooms are styled to impress with pop art and textiles to suit. There is an array of suites on offer, all with picturesque views and seaside breezes. Raes at Wategos award winning restaurant is inspired by fresh, local produce and the flavours of the Mediterranean. There’s a beach side pop-up summer bar and plenty of lawn games to entice, with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop.
Family owned and run the Bower has added a subtle uniqueness to the array of hotels on offer, with its own design flair it feels like a home away from home. Guests rave about the luxe mineral pool, which is as inviting as it is soothing. The Bower is built on one of Byron Bays original beach properties and captures the essence of Australia-reminisce of retro beach hotel days.
Surfboards and driftwood signs adorn the walls, complete with a retro gun metal airstream caravan and open fire pit-Atlantic takes beachside quirk next level. Ideally located in the centre of town and next to a private reserve, it’s the perfect place to chillax in your own private swimming pool and with full kitchen options on-site-it’s your Byron Bay home away from home.
Only a short walk to the main beach and high street shopping, this hotel is all about the location, location, location.
A mix and match of eclectic textiles and colourful soft furnishings set this hotel apart; with its own unique style the Lord Byron is a long-standing accommodation institution in the Bay.
A hop and jump up the road from the Byron Solar Train stop makes for easy access in and out of bustling Byron. Osprey is an exclusive spa offering and with botanical treatments such as a flower ritual and a botanica escape-we are hooked.
With Belongil Beach as the backdrop to the retreat, there are ocean breezes and the smell of salt water to accompany your massage, facial or body cleanse.
Indulge in a juice or aperitif by the fire pit, poolside on the way out and you’ll feel like you’ve had a weekend away.
Comma has nailed the ‘calm’ feeling and with aptly named massages like ‘sticks and stones’ and ‘the long exhale’ one can only succumb to aura of this beautiful space.
A combination of Sanseuticals products and Maison Louis Marie perfumes make for an olfactory overload, locally owned and operated Comma is a wellness hub for locals and visitors alike.
A decadent experience situated in the back streets of Byron’s industrial mecca, where you can do a post yoga class or shop at the many designer studios on offer.
With a plethora of local brews on tap, the Rails is as authentic as it is global covering all genres of live music from blues to jazz to folk to funk.
Hedge you bets on this little legend entertaining well into the night, everyday of the week
A gathering point for most, the Beach Hotel hosts mid week local music nights along with charity gigs and has seen some of Australia’s best up and coming acts pass through.
You’re guaranteed a good time at the Beachy and with an open plan stage and outside areas it can squeeze a few in. A jam-packed 7 day gig guide, free, live and local.
Habitat Women boasts the prime position in the Habitat lifestyle precinct, a clever mix of communal living, restaurants and boutiques.
Habitat Women showcases local designers and 100% of the profits go directly to the Byron Bay homeless, ethical and sustainable design is the helm of this modern apartment store.
Open plan design with fabulous window dressing you are allured into this shopping precinct and can spend many an hour sifting through clothes, ceramics and custom made jewelry.
After a weekend of food, shopping and cosy Byron Bay beds, jump in the car for a 30-minute drive through the rolling hillsides and fertile green pastures to the popular Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park.
Or take a 15 minute drive to the historic Newrybar township and head 5 minutes out of town to Killen Falls, an easy ‘walk in waterfall’ with a viewing platform to watch the cascading natural falls.
For more visit www.byron-bay.com
Written By: Kylie Mitchell-Smith