Authored by Cal Bailey
Byron Bay is like nowhere else in Australia, and it’s worth visiting at least once. It may not be a big destination, but it packs plenty of punch in terms of counterculture, nature, atmosphere and fun.
Gone are the days when Byron Bay was a sleepy little hippy haven; it’s still very popular with those into the alternative scene, but on any given day it is teeming with visitors from all walks of life.
One of the great things about Byron Bay is that it doesn’t have to cost much. Those on a budget can still have a fabulous time here, as this inviting seaside town is chock-full of cheap and free activities, and surrounded by incredible nature for miles around.
Whether you want to party, dip in the lakes, waterfalls and oceans, hike through wild nature, browse the many markets or just relax in the serene vibes, you’ll find it easy in Byron Bay. Use this list for inspiration during your stay.
Free & Cheap Things to do in Byron Bay
The Waterfalls of Nightcap National Park
Nightcap National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Here you can immerse yourself in the ancient rainforests and waterways; you can take in the surreal views of the 20 million year-old Wollumbin shield volcano, or hike to your heart’s content along the stunning walking trails.
Why not walk the trail between the waterfalls and pools and end up at the stunning Minyon falls? This is a popular activity that you won’t forget in a hurry, and it won’t cost you a penny.
Take your tent along with you and you’ll be able to camp out in nature overnight, saving yourself a few dollars on hotels or hostels.
Visit the Incredible Minyon Falls
Just 20 minutes inland from Byron Bay you’ll find Minyon Fall, an unbelievable hundred-metre-high plunge in the Nightcap Range national park area.
Hike your way up to the top to the platform and you’ll be able to look over the ancient rainforests that were part of the Tweed volcano around an eon ago. You can embark on pleasant a 4km walk to the base of the falls, where you’ll find gorgeous green palms, and a deep pool to swim in.
This is more refreshing than words can describe, especially after you’ve just hiked for a few kilometres. From here you’ll look up to see the water free-falling above you, and it’s a sight for sore eyes indeed.
Listen to Some Live Music
Another thing Byron is well known for is the live music acts that frequent the town all year round. It’s a hub for talented musicians who know they’ll be greatly appreciated by the diverse crowds that flock here.
You won’t go far without hearing some musician or other performing; buskers are dotted about all over the town day and night, and there are plenty of live acts playing in Byron’s venues, many of which are free to get in.
You can find all kinds of gigs and open mic nights; there’s also circus performances and a drum circle on Main beach every evening at sunset, if you fancy something a little different.
Browse the Many Markets of Byron Bay
Every month, Byron Bay is home to a myriad of interesting markets. They’re well known all over Australia for their vibrant atmospheres, so you don’t need to have wads of cash to spend in order to appreciate them.
If you do fancy grabbing a few bargains, you’ll be able to get your hands on everything organic vegetables to local crafts and clothes, and there’s plenty of live entertainment and delicious street food on offer too.
The surrounding towns also have some great markets – check out Lennox Heads and Mullumbimby if you get the chance. The following markets are some of the best Byron has to offer:
➤ Byron Bay Market – The first Sunday of the month, 08:00 – 16:00, Butler Street Reserve
➤ Byron Bay Artisan Market – Every Saturday from October to March, 16:00 – 21:00, Railway Park, Jonson Street
➤ Byron Bay Farmers Market – Every Thursday, 08:00 – 11:00, Butler Street Reserve
Relax on Byron Bay’s World-class Beaches
Most people come to Byron Bay with at least a little bit of sunbathing, swimming or surfing on their agendas. You’d probably be mad not to, as lots of visitors would consider these beaches to be the main event. Byron’s ocean waves are popular with dedicated surfers so if you fancy getting on the board, you’ll be in great company.
The golden sands are always peppered with sunbathers topping up their tans and relaxing in the sea breeze. Byron is a perfect holiday spot in that regard, and you’ve got various beaches to choose from dependent on your mood.
Don’t miss out on Main Beach, with its stunning views of distant mountains and passing whales and dolphins; it might be busy but it has a great atmosphere and is excellent for people watching.
If you want to find some of the more intimate beaches, also check out Brunswick Heads, Cosy Corner, White’s Beach (next to Broken Head Holiday Park), and Tallows.
Chill Out at Broken Head Nature Reserve
Just south of Byron Bay, there’s a little hamlet by the name of Broken Head. It’s tucked away off the highway so you’ll need to keep an eye out for the entrance to this gorgeous, quiet nature reserve, and you’ll need transport to get there but it’s more than worth the trip.
Here you can expect to find lush green rainforest, with tracks leading down to various white sandy beaches. A few of these will be almost completely deserted (depending on when you go), so if you’re seeking peace and quiet in a serene environment with unforgettable views, you’re in luck.
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