Planning to go camping at Bryon Bay? The perfect stop on any NSW road trip, it’s hard not to love Byron Bay. Not only for the good vibes and amazing food scene but for the silencing beauty of Cape Byron.
Here’s my ultimate Byron Bay camping guide and how best to spend a few epic days there.
Map: Check out my Byron Bay Map to easily find all the places mentioned in this post.
Where: Northern Rivers, NSW, Australia
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Camping at Byron Bay
Camping in Byron Bay means you get the best of both worlds: cheap accommodation right by the beach with no cooking required due to the copious food options.
Plus, saving on accommodation here means more money to spend eating and drinking out. It’s not your traditional way of camping, and it’s certainly not the cheapest place you’ll camp in New South Wales but it’s a must-do on any East Coast road trip from Sydney.
Where to camp
Try to get within walking distance of the town centre if you can, so you don’t have to worry about driving and parking in the evenings. If you’re not able to do this, or simply aren’t willing to pay the prices during peak season; simply embrace the outskirts of Byron. The beaches and local hangouts will not disappoint and you can always get a taxi into town.
Here’s a list of where to camp in order of distance from the town centre.
First Sun Holiday Park
It took me three trips to Byron before I found this little gem! The campsite is bang in the centre of town with private access and views over Belongil Beach. Despite it being just off the main road into town, there is no noise and the facilities are new.
It’s best to book last-minute to secure the best rates out of peak season. Otherwise, book in advance if you can.
Clarkes Beach Reflections Holiday Park
I haven’t camped at Clarkes Beach Holiday Park but it would be my second option if First Sun was booked up. It’s a 15-minute walk out of the town but right on Main Beach. Meaning you get the best of both worlds.
Discovery Parks – Byron Bay
Discovery Parks Byron Bay is a 4-minute drive or 30-minute walk from town, just off the (busy) Ewingsdald Road. I have not stayed here but visited the onsite cafe Folk Byron Bay, which had a nice vibe and the coffee was excellent.
Ingenia Holidays Byron Bay
Ingenia Holidays Byron Bay was the first place I camped in Byron. It was New Year’s Eve and it felt like I managed to get the last camping spot in the whole of Byron!
It’s a 5-minute drive from town so you will need to drive or get taxis into town. If you don’t mind the distance then, it’s the cheapest option and the facilities are good. Best of all it has beach access to Tallow Beach (a 5-minute walk) which is rugged and great for a morning walk.
Booking accommodation in Byron Bay
Byron has lots of accommodation on offer but these get booked up fast. Especially at weekends and during school holidays. Expect to pay more the closer you are to the main high street (Lawson Street). Or alternatively, look for cheaper options further out around Massinger Street or Bangalow Road, South out of town.
For an Airbnb within a 10-20 minute walk from town expected to pay at least $150 per night. I booked Milly’s Beach Cottage on Massinger Street (close to The Top Shop) for this price and would recommend it for its location.
It’s especially good for the local coffee place across the road called The Top Shop. I first discovered it when staying at Milly’s and have since gone back every time I’ve visited Bryon. The coffee is good, the vibe is very friendly, and many enjoy relaxing on mats on the front lawn.
A slightly cheaper option is to stay in a Guest House like Byron Springs (a 5-minute drive from town). These places still have private bathrooms available (the only difference being they can be external) and they often come with a breakfast buffet included and access to a pool.
If you happen to stay during the off-peak season, you should be able to get a really good deal. In August, prices were lower during the off-peak season at Bayview Beach Front Apartments which overlooks Main Beach and is two roads parallel to Lawson Street. Booking last minute also increases the chances of getting a good deal.
Top things to do in Byron Bay
Byron is not only a foodie destination, it also happens to have some of the most stunning coastline in NSW. Some of these places are what give Byron that extra special feeling and have attracted so many to its shores over the years.
With Cape Byron State Conservation Park a walk away, make sure you leave the town and explore the bay when visiting.
These are my highlights in no particular order.
Cape Byron Walking Track
The 3.7km loop track takes about 2 hours to complete but allow longer to stop along the way. You will want to. It’s an amazing walk, taking you past Wategos and Little Wategos Beaches, and Byron Bay Lighthouse. Start the walk from the Captain Cook Lookout Car Park.
Top tip: If you have a New South Wales National Parks pass the parking here at Captain Cook Lookout is free.
Check out The Fisherman’s Lookout at The Pass
The Pass is one of the most photographed spots in Byron. Running alongside the headland it has consistent right-hand waves making it good for beginner surfers and excellent for longboarders. As a result, it gets very busy in the water here. If you’re not planning to surf, it’s still worth visiting The Fisherman’s Lookout: a viewing platform great for spotting dolphins, watching the surfers and the kayak tours which operate in the bay. The Pass Cafe nearby is good for refreshments if you plan to spend the day on the beach here.
Spend time at Wategos Beach
Popular with surfers and sunbakers, this is a favourite of mine. It’s further away in Cape Byron State Conservation Area and really feels like you’re miles away from the bars and cafes. Although if you still want to hang out somewhere hip then Raes on Wategos is still on offer. Otherwise, there are no cafes nearby so bring your own if spending a few hours here. Finding a parking spot here is tricky, and expensive.
Top tip: Try your luck and see if there’s a spot free in Julian Pl. It’s free here. Alternatively, park on the side of the road nearby and walk down.
Visit Tallow Beach
If you like long, open, rugged beaches then this one is for you. The best way to access Tallow Beach if coming from town is from the Cosy Corner picnic area.
Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse
To really see Byron at its best, get up early to watch the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse. It will be worth it, honestly. Either drive and park up early, walk or even go for a morning run there. Getting up in the dark will feel like you’re the only one mad enough to wake up that early but once at the lighthouse, you will not be alone.
Food & drink
What makes Byron so special and different is the high concentration of foodie cafes, restaurants and bars for a small coastal NSW town. Here are the places I keep going back to every time I find myself in Byron.
- Bayleaf Cafe: For the Scrambled Egg Special. Served up with feta, pesto, dill and fresh chillies folded in, it’s amazing. The coffee is also excellent.
- The Top Shop: For the coffee, breakfast rolls and the good vibes out front. It’s where a lot of locals hang out so it’s my kind of place.
- The Byron Bay General Store: For if you find yourself further out from town. The coffee and breakfasts are good and it’s where all the digital nomads seem to hang out.
- Miss Margherita Mexican Cantina : Great Mexican food, full of life in the evenings and Happy Hour 5-6 pm.
- No Bones: For something a little different, I’d recommend this delicious plant-based restaurant tucked away in a stylish 1940s retro-style setting.
- The Roadhouse: Worth heading to if you’re staying further out of town. They do incredible pizzas and delicious cocktails in a stylish American bar-style setting.
- Stone & Wood Brewery: Head to the outskirts of town to sample the famous local beer.
- Byron Bay Beach Hotel: Where everyone heads for drinks, especially around sunset. Also the place to go back to later on.
- The Rails Byron Bay: This is hands down the best place to go to enjoy live music (on every night). It’s casual. the food isn’t bad and it’s just a fun place to be. A lot of people end up singing along to the music at some point during the evening.
Daily Happy Hours
Something I have loved about Byron is taking advantage of the many Happy Hours on offer. Daily! Here’s a selection of ones sampled so far (probably best to check the websites or social pages to make sure they are still running when you visit):
- The Northern Hotel: The best place to start your crawl with $3.50 Middies 4.30-5.30 pm. Also a great place for people watching at street level.
- Mez Club: Happy Hour cocktails from 4-5 pm. This is a stylish sit-down establishment and feels like you’re in the Med.
- The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.: Overlooks the main high street from up high. Grab Happy Hour here 4-6 pm.
- Miss Margheritas Mexican Cantina : $10 margs 5-6 pm.
- The Bolt Hole : Cocktails in a cool setting up high. Happy Hour 5-6 pm.
These are all the places I’ve discovered in Byron Bay so far but I’m sure I will be back to uncover even more gems soon. That’s the beauty of the place. There is so much to see and do for everyone.
I hope you visit, explore and fall in love with Byron like me.
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