Summer is coming – you can smell it – and you are keen to seek out the top things to do in Byron Bay and surrounds… Well, we’re here to help! 🙂 Byron Bay is just a short 30 minute drive south from our beautiful La Maison Pacifique and with many local towns to explore along the way (Brunswick Heads, Bangalow, Pottsville, Cabarita Beach to name a few), we have done our own list of things to do in Byron Bay and surrounds.
So, get here fast and soak up the sun!
Take the Cumbebin Wetlands Boardwalk
Just a ten minute walk from the Byron CBD, The Cumbebin Wetland Sanctuary, at the corner of the market grounds in Byron Bay, is managed by the Byron Environment Centre on behalf of the Cumbebin Wetland Sanctuary Trust. The sanctuary is a pristine area that captures some of Byron’s original environment and is just a ten minute walk from the Byron Bay CBD.
A boardwalk offers visitors a glimpse of this natural paradise and seats have recently been installed so you can enjoy the tranquility of this peaceful oasis in the heart of Byron Bay and is the perfect location for a picnic. Our suggestion – pick up your lunch from the markets on market day and enjoy them in the peace and tranquility of the Cumbebin Wetland Sanctuary.
The Local – The Rails
There is a great little music venue, bar and restaurant – right on the old Railway Station in Byron Bay . It’s the only pub in Australia to have featured live music seven nights a week, for over 30 years. The official name of the Railway Hotel in Byron Bay is “The Railway Friendly Bar” but the locals affectionately refer to it as “The Rails’. . .
It is located just back from the main road on Jonson street in central Byron Bay, beside the historic Byron Bay Railway Station and left of the Railway Park. It’s fascinating rustic decor and semi-out doors layout gives it a unique relaxed Aussie atmosphere and takes full advantage of the balmy Byron Bay weather.
It’s a distinctive funky little music bar that is instantly popular as a meeting place for travellers from all over the world when they arrive in Byron Bay, drawn by the legendary laid-back Byron lifestyle and glorious beaches …., but you’ll also rub shoulders with lots of quirky local characters, the occasional hippy and dedicated surfer downing a few beers…. and people from all walks of life enjoying the live entertainment that is featured 365 days per year.
Visit the famous Protestors Falls
When loggers clear-felled “The Big Scrub” of northern NSW for the valuable Australian Red Cedar tree from the mid-1800s right through to the banning of logging in 1982, the native Bundjalung people displaced from their traditional homelands retreated to the few remaining pockets of untouched rainforest. One of these pockets, a luxuriant swathe of Bangalow Palm forests and spectacular waterfalls, was a sacred place to the Widjabul clan, and is today known as Nightcap National Park. Its survival is largely due to the efforts of protestors (hence the name) who put a halt to logging operations along Terania Creek in 1979. The Falls are among Australia’s tallest and most spectacular, and lie along the outstanding Protestors Falls trail – an easy walk of about 1.5km return, partly along a boardwalk, which begins at the Terania Creek picnic area about 15km from the village of The Channon. Following heavy rains in 2008, the forest floor is a carpet of newly emerging Bangalow Palms. And the Falls themselves are scenic enough to justify any number of return visits.
The Food and Wine Trail
The Northern Rivers area is renowned for its plethora of beautiful food and wines, including many organic producers who pride themselves on offering the best there is. The whole Northern Rivers area has a commitment to grow local, buy local and not only will you find many family stallholders on the roadside (with their honesty tins), but a range of growers passionate about their produce.
- Lisa’s Top things to do in Kingscliff
- Pete’s Top things to do in Kingscliff
- Top things to do in Mt Tamborine
- Casuarina NSW
- Places to eat in Pottsville; and even
- Things to do on the Gold Coast – The App
For more information there is also this great article Eat The Northern Rivers.
Explore the Byron hinterland coffee-growing trail
Coffee, Byron Bay-style, takes on a quality all its own. There are a plethora of local coffee producers with a keen focus on producing the best coffee in Australia.
Zentveld’s are the Australian Coffee Specialists, based on the family plantation in the hills behind Byron Bay. Since 1993 they have been dedicated to producing the finest, most complex Australian coffee blends for cafes, restaurants and retailers. Their focus on quality and good taste is reflected in being Australia’s most awarded coffee company in the national coffee competition – The Sydney Royal Fine Food Show – with over 22 medals for their 100% Australian coffee during the years they entered.
Practicing real fair trade, Zentvelds proudly support our local growers with a true world premium price, and remain the largest purchaser of Australian estate coffee, roasted and presented as 100% Australian estate coffee.
Zentvelds regional coffee benefits from rich volcanic soil and plentiful moisture. The cool micro-climate of the NSW North Coast induces a slower ripening season, developing characteristic sweetness and naturally low caffeine, in their high quality arabica coffee. All beans are naturally pesticide & GM free. Zentvelds coffee is vacuum packed, within 24 hours of roasting, into customised bags with a one-way degassing valve for maximum freshness and shelf life.
With environmental sustainability in mind, one fifth of Zentveld’s plantation is dedicated to local rainforest species, creating a wildlife corridor and creekline regeneration. All their coffee crop by-product becomes compost to feed both trees and soil and they have a range of long standing minimal water usage and recycling initiatives.
Other local coffee producers include:
- Byron Bay Coffee Company
- Bun Coffee
- Mackellar Range Australian Coffee
- Australian Estate Coffee
- Zeta’s Coffee (tours available)
More details on the coffee producers and industry are available here
Go kayaking in Belongil Creek
The Belongil precinct is home to some of Byron’s top beachside dwellings, the ambience of which is disturbed only by frequent disagreements with the local council over residents’ rights to build sea-walls to protect their valuable properties. But there’s one place not subject to tidal or political erosion: Belongil Creek (or, more properly, Belongil Estuary). You can launch a kayak near the Belongil Beach Resort and kayak a few kilometres inland (depending on tides), past scenic wetlands and through rural landholdings that, funnily enough, still exist in today’s holidaymaker-fixated Byron Bay.
Discover Arakwal National Park
Arakwal, one of the newest national parks in NSW, was opened and dedicated by Arakwal tribal elders in 2001. The easiest access is via Ironbark Avenue – take Bangalow Rd towards Ballina, then turn left into Ironbark about two klicks south of the Byron Bay CBD. A walk through pristine bushland leads past a sandblow (veer hard left, or you’ll lose the track) to Tallow Beach. Exercise care if swimming at Tallows, as the beach is unpatrolled and subject to dangerous rips and undercurrents. Opposite the golf course, a bike path also leads through the Arakwal wetlands to another section of Tallow Beach. The wetlands here are at their most scenic after heavy rains.
Dine fresh at the Byron Bay Farmers’ Market
Organic sourdough breads; Bangalow farm cheeses; organic veggies; pecan nuts from the Nimbin Valley; Dunoon macadamias; Tweed Valley beef; fresh Brunswick River whiting and prawns; these local delicacies and more are on sale every Thursday morning at the Farmers’ Market on the Butler St Reserve. Official hours are 8-11am, but locals get there from 6:30am onwards, with onsite coffee stalls making the gathering something of a social event. The only downside is that high stall rents tend to force up prices; so for cheaper produce you may prefer to shop at the fruit stand outside the caravan park on Ballina Road (opposite Byron Bay Golf Course).
“It’s the unique mix of natural and cultural environment that draws people here. There aren’t many other places on earth that enjoy such assets.”
Don’t forget that many of the local towns hold markets all year around too – the market scene is thriving in Byron Bay and the whole Northern Rivers/Tweed Coast area has a market almost every day!
Browse the funky antique shops of Bangalow
Bangalow could be light years away from Byron Bay, its proximity (just 7km) to Byron notwithstanding. The scenic Old Bangalow Rd winds up through the hills behind Byron Bay, twisting and turning upon itself like an itchy snake. Drivers have to be super-careful to avoid gawking at the spectacular scenery to the detriment of their road-handling capabilities.
By contrast with Byron Bay, Bangalow seems quieter than a country cousin on Serapax – except, that is, on market days Thursdays and Saturdays, when bumper-to-bumper traffic clogs the narrow streets. On all other days, the visitor has free rein to browse, graze and check out the many antique shops and cafés that make Bangalow just a cut above its brash lowland neighbour.
Take time to peruse the eclectic merchandise of the Wax Jambu Emporium, the clothing at Don’t Tell Mama, or the fine “Antiques for the People” at Mostly Mao. The Bangalow Historical Museum is also well worth a visit. Later, adjourn for a coffee at the Utopia Espresso Bar, which delivers a super-charged brew made from its own special blend of Zentveld’s.
Get a surf lesson from the experts
Surfing legend Rusty Miller, who moved to Byron from California in the ’70s, has been publishing the avant-garde Byron Guide for more than two decades. “It’s the unique mix of natural and cultural environment that draws people here,” he says. “There aren’t many other places on earth that enjoy such assets.”
Even those with only a few days to spend in Byron are invariably mesmerised by the beauty of the place. The beaches are outstanding – for starters, try surfers’ favourites Watego’s Beach or The Pass – but for sheer quietude, you can’t beat the ambience of Broken Head Beach.
Traveling north though is our favourite surfing spot at Kingscliff. Josh Fuller – former pro surfer and owner of in2surf is great fun and we also enjoy the many watersports activities offered by the Watersports Guru. Another great option is the Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre for your surf classes. Other great beaches (that we love – and that are near us) include:
Go bargain shopping at the Arts and Industry Park
The Byron Bay Arts & Industry Park is located off Ewingsdale Road on the north/western perimeter of the town. It’s a hotch-potch of retail outlets, workshops, studios and exhibition spaces. All manner of artists, artisans, craftspeople and manufacturers work here, and it’s worth a trip to find a special bargain or a unique handcrafted item. There’s also an IGA supermarket, newsagent, bottle shop, bakery and florist at the small shopping precinct in Bayshore Drive.
Some of the exciting shops and factory outlets you’ll find here include clothing, bedding, linen, babywear, bicycles, art supplies, recycled clothes, garden furniture and ornaments, leatherwork, metalwork, glass blowing and etching, picture framing, surfboards, surfing gear, pets and pet supplies, jewellery, furniture and antiques.
You can follow the Artists Trail around the park which has been created to give visitors a glimpse into this unique environment and an opportunity to purchase a one-off work of art directly from the source. These include glass paintings, sculpture, fashion design, jewellery and a host of others as well.
…and after all this activity you will need a rest!…
..and that is where we come in! There is just so much to do in the local Byron Bay area that even a week won’t be enough time to cover it all. And we haven’t even touched on what you can do on the nearby Gold Coast! What better excuse then to book a luxury resort-style beachfront holiday home for your next getaway? Available for weekends or weekly stays, at La Maison Pacifique we can sleep up to 10 people – often at a price that will surprise. With a master bedroom “wing” there is plenty of separation between the adults (and other adults/kids)… We’re ready and waiting to take your booking (and you can pay by credit card too!).
Happy holidays – dream about what is possible; believe you can do it; make the most of your leave; plan, book and enjoy your holiday; then dream about where you will go next! It is your turn!
…and… if you are looking for a resort-style luxury beachfront holiday home for your family holiday, romantic break wedding accommodation, (watch our video here), or a girls getaway contact us at La Maison Pacifique for availability and a quote…. Remember, our rates compare really well with local 5-star resorts – and La Maison Pacifique is private – on the beach – walking distance to cafes at Cabarita Beach – perfect spot for whale watching (June to November each year) – children optional!
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Until next time – enjoy your day wherever you are from La Maison Pacifique “The Peaceful House” and your boutique designer luxury holiday home vacation rental in Casuarina, New South Wales, Australia – half way between the Gold Coast QLD and Byron Bay NSW, Australia.
Property Consultant & Interior Designer
La Maison Pacifique
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