Seeking beaches, music, whisky, festivals and markets?
See and do
The land of festivals, Byron has an exceptional annual collection of music events, highlighted by Bluesfest (Apr 17-21), Splendour in the Grass (Jul 26-28), the Mullum Music Festival (mid-Nov) and the Falls Music and Arts Festival, which debuted in Byron during January 2014 (Dec 31-Jan 3). Also catch the Byron Bay Writers Festival (Aug 1-3) and the Sew and Tell arts fair, held throughout the year.
The region is popular for its markets, in particular the Bangalow Market and the Byron Farmers Market. Up in Bangalow, the markets are held on the fourth Sunday of the month and feature food, craft, therapists and artisan bric-a-brac. You’ll also find artists performing throughout the day, and ATMs are on-site. The farmers markets are held 8-11am on Thursdays (in Byron) and Saturdays (in Bangalow), with fresh produce on sale from across the region.
Escape the crowds by hitting the surf and going kayaking with dolphins. It’s one of several tours on offer from Cape Byron Kayaks, alongside whale watching from May-Nov. They can also rent you some snorkelling gear so you can swim with turtles.
Eat and drink
He’s a man with a whisky passion and drinkers are the winners at Dan Woolley’s the Roadhouse café-bar-restaurant. The former Sydney bar manager turned whisky ambassador and venue owner has amassed a collection of over 500 bottles available to be sipped on straight or in one of the bar’s signature creations and dark-spirited classics. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus feature local produce and a Southern American spin (think jerk chicken wings, Caribbean charred corn and salted caramel and dark chocolate mousse), while the drinks excel, particularly the barrel-aged Classic American Cocktail with Buffalo Trace and the Roasted Pineapple Julep. Woolley’s original recipe Mint Julep is also a standout. 6/142 Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay 2481. 0413 966 618.. Mon, Tue 6am-2pm; Wed-Sun 6am-10pm.
When the weather’s tops and the retractable roof is open, you won’t get any closer to dining on the sand than at the Byron Beach Café. Expect regional produce in the day and night menus, from Bangalow bacon and pork belly to local brew Stone & Wood-battered sustainable fish. The spanner crab tortellini is also worth a look-in. The wine list ranges from $38 to $150 a bottle, while great value is to be had on the by-the-glass list, particularly the Lethbridge Pinot Gris from Geelong. Lawson St, Byron Bay 2481. 02 6685 8400. Mon-Sun 7.30am-late.
For an iced chai or soy flat white before a morning walk along the beach, stop by Bayleaf Café, where you also can’t go wrong with an order of poached eggs. 2 Marvell St, Byron Bay 2481. 02 6685 8900.
Music man Pete Murray’s Frankie Brown is the place to catch some live acoustic tunes alongside cocktails and nosh. Get there for happy hour at 6-7pm daily and afterwards, order the barramundi with prawn and avocado salsa. 32 Lawson St, Byron Bay 2481. 02 6680 7474. Mon-Sun 6pm-midnight.
A 15-minute cycle from the heart of Byron is a hotel that exceeds expectations every time, thanks to the hands-on service and passion for hospitality from hoteliers John and Lyn Parche. At the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, a short walk from Tallows Beach, you’ll find 92 rooms spaced out across 45 acres of rainforest. There are features you’d expect from a world-class hotel: a pool, tennis court, day spa (book a Rivergum Reverie or a deluxe foot therapy) and restaurant. Our pick of the rooms is a one-bedroom Deluxe Spa Suite, which features a kitchenette, dining table, sofa, two TVs and a DVD plus Foxtel and Wi-Fi, a bath and separate shower and balcony. In the restaurant, the breakfast buffet offers a top spread of cold and warm dishes, while at night, mussels and the Berkshire pork rack are the must-order on a mod-Oz menu by Scottish-born chef Gavin Hughes. 77-97 Broken Head Rd, Suffolk Park 2481. 1300 554 362.