Byron Bay: three top spots it has to offer

Three top tips to enjoy the best Byron Bay has to offer without breaking the bank.

Byron Bay lighthouse in the beautiful sunset

After almost a decade since I last graced Byron Bay’s shores for Schoolies, I suppose it was not surprising to discover a lot has changed.

With considerably more options in terms of eating, drinking and shopping, as well as accommodation, prices have also increased significantly. Thankfully I’ve got three top tips to ensure you enjoy all the best bits Byron has to offer without your wallet feeling too much pain.

Bay Leaf Café
The name on everyone’s lips, if you go to one place in Byron Bay make sure it’s Bay Leaf Café. The epitome of Australian breakfast and coffee culture, this bustling hub is centrally located on Marvell Street. With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, the entire venue has the laid back feel for which Byron is famous. You can visit with a group or if you’d like to enjoy your own company, you won’t feel out of place. Having eaten there every day of my stay, I can highly recommend almost everything on the menu and confirm the coffee is worth writing home about. A word of warning though, if you visit Bay Leaf at the start of your Byron trip, don’t be surprised if you don’t find yourself branching out for the rest of your time there.

2 Marvell St, Byron Bay
(02) 6685 8900

Miss Margarita
As a margarita enthusiast, one of my favourite pastimes is scouring the globe for the best version on offer. And Miss Margarita on Byron Bay’s main street does not disappoint. With a prime location opposite the iconic Beach Hotel, Miss Margarita has an entire margarita menu with variations such as coconut, strawberry, ginger, mango and even chili - not for the faint hearted! While the cocktails are typical of Byron Bay prices, here’s an insider tip – head there during happy hour and enjoy a classic version for $10. With the money you save you could even test out the noteworthy fish tacos!

2 Jonson Street, Byron Bay 

Wategos Beach
Approximately a 10-minute drive from the centre of town is the postcard worthy Wategos beach. The perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the main beach, Wategos is the more peaceful place to soak up the sun or make the most of the surf. Sitting directly below Byron Bay’s Lighthouse, Wategos is also the most eastwardly point of Australia, meaning it’s the first place in the country to see the sunrise!

Have you been to Byron Bay recently? What’s your top tip? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

Whale watching along the NSW Coast

A regular travel contributor to YLC, SJ’s travel low point was buying a Beijing guidebook for her visit to Thailand in 2007. Thankfully her geography has improved since then.


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    9th Jan 2016
    basically you forgot to mention paid parking now in byron bay have a coffee in bay leaf but if you dont pay cost you heaps also wategoes full of backpacker vans with dubious foriegn backpackers who commandeer the bbq sleep their and get nasty if woken up byron is not laid back fullof lazy people jobs for the boys most business s are gold coast melb or sydney lhse walk crowded and herds of chinese tourists who rm selfie sticks in your face byron overpriced over rated i used to live there zappa
    10th Jan 2016
    I had my third trip to Byron last August and loved every minute. In fact I wonder if we are both referring to the same place. I will gladly go again - it's a fab place to base yourself and then do day trips to lots of great spots nearby. Stay near the city centre and you don't need to worry about the traffic - cafes and shops within walking distance and with the laid back vibe that BB is famous for.
    9th Jan 2016
    your article on chang mai luang prabang ive been to these places quite a few times i was disappointed last time chang mai again over crowded chinese tourists they are like herds of cattle push you out of the way and demand special treatment at passport checks i travel with an asian girl 43 she copped racial abuse at the laotian cambodian border i find middle aged euopean couples are bigoted especialy if they know you are an australian luang prabang guest house expensive he said chinese pay top dollar so everyone pays top dollar and they wouldnt clean the room and there kid annoying people eg banging fist on computer keyboards and streets packed with chinese even temples charging to go in i refused vietaine good acc good and reasonable a final note ive been to lhasa tibet wasnt impressed with the chinese at all
    9th Jan 2016
    My top tip for Byron Bay as a Far North Coast local: go to Lennox Head, Ballina or Brunswick Heads instead. Byron Bay is one huge traffic jam, with overpriced shops. I go to the lighthouse for the view, and attend an occasional show, but otherwise avoid the place.
    Your article was written by someone much younger than most of your readers, if she went there for schoolies ten years ago.
    If you do end up staying in Byron Bay, the best kept local secret is the club. Great food and few backpackers.
    9th Jan 2016
    Byron Bay is the NSW Mecca for tourists. It is an experience.

    But, Sadly, I tend agree with the comments by Ozzieg and Zappa.

    We have been there a few times over the years and last time we went there for a week and we're happy to leave!!

    Been there, done that, Where next??? We are off to WA to go Whale Shark fishing in June. I'm told that they are hard to land???
    9th Jan 2016
    I've been travelling on a road trip for the past three months from Noosa down to Adelaide and all points in between and I can honestly say that Byron Bay was one of the most disappointing places I've visited. Far from living up to the hype, it left me wondering if I'd actually come to the right place? For anyone thinking of visiting BB the comments from Ozzieg pretty well sum it up. I'd keep heading north and visit The Sunshine Coast instead.
    Terry T
    9th Jan 2016
    The Rails Hotel is always worth a visit. The bar/restaurant is in the old railway station. The food is very good from a very small kitchen and they often have live music which attracts an interesting crowd. While people often complain about the crowds in Byron just remember you are a part of that crowd. I can remember when Byron was crowd free and it's a much more interesting place now. Pull up a chair order a drink and watch the World go by. What's not to like.
    Terry T
    9th Jan 2016
    Ozzeig is correct the author is of a much younger age than he and I but I know the author's mum (how are you Kaye) and I can assure Ozzeig that if Kaye had written the article the story would have been in praise of just because one reaches a certain age it doesn't mean we have to retreat to slower places and eat at the club. i will be in Byron in March and will embrace the difference and the colour the backpacker vans bring to the place, I'm a little biased here having been one myself.
    9th Jan 2016
    let me add a further comment the beach hotel in the age of strop was a terrific place for top acts i remember seeing thorpie thereit was an experience these days the beach hotel caters for the doef crowd and expensive and they tend to make non conformists unwelcome again melbourne people brought it rails is tedious very entertaining watching the local drunks it is a nrl boofhead pub food standards have dropped byron has sold its soul lhse cafe sure expanded with crappy sails attached to a heritage building its over there too popular traffic gridlocks council waiting to book you backpackers blocking locals drives rubbish everywhere splendour schoolies stay home safer

    9th Jan 2016
    Some of the accommodation houses even have shower facilities now, although these are seldom used by the occupants. Recreational drugs are readily available and the atmosphere is a truely relaxed, slovenly one. Nightly entertainment is widely varied - weird music, coward punch competitions, over-indulgent vomitting contests, and permissuity performances, just to name a few. Laundry facilities are nearby (the ocean) and alcohol outlets flourish, but hairdressers are non-existent and public conveniences are behind every bush and tree, or in the open. Come one, come all, you will have a ball.
    9th Jan 2016
    Hard to follow some storylines here.
    It does not cost any extra to place a comma or full stop etc.
    Perhaps it would if your keyboard needs replacing.
    Comments going on for well over 100 words - maybe from someone not stopping to breathe.
    Zappa and some others must have spent all of their funds at Byron OR maybe saving for the next one.
    9th Jan 2016
    It's called a "run-on sentence". It happens when you don't take time to close your mouth between words, or when your gears aren't meshing.
    9th Jan 2016
    to striaghten things out happy daze ive lived in byron arrived their in 1999 broke and a drunk striaghtened myself out got work travelled to asia a fair bit tibet been to the potala palace tibet certainly beats a bland lhse in byron bay ive seen the good times in the bay they are are over im in asia now going back to byron sort things out and leave nether to return its a place motivated by greed ego since cornell left the music scene social scene went backwards do you realise lisa hunt feranomes have done the same act for donkeys years you might have money good on you have a coffee at bay leaf byron sold out i dont need english lessons off you once west byron kicks off byron will be a gold coast suburb
    9th Jan 2016
    Zappa, your English is disgusting, you should be ashamed of yourself.
    9th Jan 2016
    yeah mick i was educated at gordon institute of technology geelong did english expression i believe in speaking up byron bay is a shadow of its great days a lot of old timers have sold up and left dreams shattered the new guard is in town the yuppies big news some princess from a tiny european country surfing in byron i wonder if rusty miller was coaching them yes mick education aint everything
    9th Jan 2016
    Sorry for any offence. This occurs from other people who send comments.
    I would prefer to help than harm.
    I am NOT an expert. Not a teacher.
    If I could offer any helpful advice, please try to improve where you can by putting commas and full stops at ends of information.
    Your readers generally want to read and understand your valuable information. Please make an attempt to make it clear.
    I believe you would be pleased to follow your improvements as time goes on.
    The best I can suggest is to send messages using structure from what you observe and feel is best. You will get there. Do not hesitate to ask for help.
    God Bless!
    9th Jan 2016
    Oh Happy Daze, I simply can't disagree BUT this web site has the worst ever ability to get a posting right without some grammatical errors!!!!

    YLC! What can you do to make this a more user friendly site???
    10th Jan 2016
    I don't think it's the's just some people can't be bothered to punctuate. Frankly, I can't be bothered to read them. If you contribute to a public forum you should at least have the courtesy to make the contribution legible, otherwise your message is lost on me. This 'reader' isn't wasting their time trying to decipher poor English.
    Debbie McTaggart
    12th Jan 2016
    Hi Peterrj,

    Thanks for your post but I don't think the site can be blamed for grammatical errors, many of our members manage to post without any difficulty. However, if you're happy to share specific incidences, we'll look into them.
    9th Jan 2016
    yes i agree i suppose i should know i did report writing in my diploma,basically what im trying to say GREED EGO has taken over council is pro developement,paid parking etc,the new woolworths is gold coast designed,the developer said i dont care a damn about what the people of byron want,the new hway opened the floodgates for the gold coast and brisbane touros bogans etc,the town isnt byron anymore look at splendour its next door to qld at yelgun now are they are a byron festival no way hosay even workers at falls festival were from brisbane indian and korean students yet the falls DA said local labor was to be used get the drift
    10th Jan 2016
    Zappa, 'get the drift'? Sorry but you have set me adrift on this posting!!!!
    10th Jan 2016
    wotifink is thatnobodywotposts onthissightought two be abletorightproppaoverwise nobodykan understroodwot thay is tring to say nowot imeen bekausse overwiseits toofiffikult to understood them.
    10th Jan 2016
    mick, lol, perhaps one of your better posts!!!!
    11th Jan 2016
    I get the feeling that success has ruined Byron Bay because it has caused a flood of people to go there to live.
    This would result in overcrowding, hence the traffic snarls others have described. Likewise, you would get a plethora of tourist traps operated by people trying to turn a quick quid from the tourists

    I guess that it depends on what you want. If high prices, back packers and being jostled by bus loads of tourists on crowded foot paths is your thing, go for it. The experience might be bearable for a day, but it doesn't sound like I'd want to spend a fortnight there any time soon.

    I think Thermielover's suggestion of day tripping around the area would be the most agreeable way to spend your time there.

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