A week into my life in Australia, my friend Anna invited me to fly up to Byron Bay for the long weekend (New South Wales celebrates their Labour Day the first weekend in October).  Byron Bay is brand itself now….an icon for hippie and surf culture. Amazing beaches, tasty food, my favorite kind of fashion ?  This is what I came to Australia for, so of course I went!!!

I thought three days would be plenty of time for a beach town and man was I wrong. I can see why so many Australians and people from around the world stop in their tracks and settle in Byron. Every step towards the airport was like walking down the plank. UGH I can’t wait to go back!!

So here’s what we did…

(at the end I made a list combining things I did and didn’t do that I would recommend for anyone going / this is what I’ll be doing the next time I’m there!)

Lots of beach chilling–a must. The surf was actually pretty dead while we were there but obviously surfing on any of the five main breaks at Byron is supposed to be awesome. Next time I go back hopefully I’ll be good enough to shred ?  The beach we went to above is Whites Beach–luckily we knew some locals and this is one of their favorite spots. We had to take a car up a winding dirt road for a while, and then a cool hike through trees to get down to the beach. Obviously chilling on the Byron beaches is a must while in Byron, but you should definitely look for one of the locals’ favorite spots because it’s cool to get away from the crowd too.

Most important part: WE SAW WHALES!!!!! This was my first time seeing whales ever. Someone was casually like “oh cool, a whale” and I flipped. Some of my crew said they enjoyed watching me see whales more than they enjoyed actually seeing whales. If you just picture me flailing and jumping and sprinting and being completed shocked and amazed, that’s about it. I almost want a little tattoo on my ankle of a whale because it was so exciting and I want to always be reminded of how magical that moment was ?  So now I am officially obsessed with whales.  And apparently seeing whales in Australia is a thing. COOOOL. I have officially realized I am in a place completely different from Chicago… ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Of course we hit up the party scene a bit! Labour Day weekend is also the Grand Final weekend for AFL (Australian Football League) AND for NRL (National Rugby League). Since Anna and I are of course huge Swannies fans we might’ve spent 6 or 7 hours our first day at the Beach Hotel, a massive bar on the beach. They put up extra screens for the game. It got pretty rowdy. Good thing we had the most AMAZING breakfast at the Bayleaf Cafe–could’ve been my favorite meal the whole trip (and that’s impressive) so I would definitely say hit it up.

For my friend Erin’s birthday, we had ‘breaky’ at Byron Fresh. Yummmm it’s all really delicious health food and amazing coffee and muffins. Really close to the beach too. Then it was a bit rainy that day so Erin and I did some shopping…cannot disclose how much money I spent but let’s just say my excitement about Australia’s fashion manifested itself in this day. Then we commenced the number one rainy day activity (drinking) at the Stone And Wood Brewery. This was super cool–their Pacific Ale is most popular and with good reason… After tasting a flight there we headed back near town to the newly renovated Byron Bay Brewery and then hit up Railway Friendly Bar which was probably my favorite (chill vibes, live music), and then back to the Beach Hotel for a boogie.

Ugh then I had to wake up at 6 and head to the airport to get back to work in Sydney. I know Sydney is supposed to be like a vacation for me but Byron just blew everything out of the water. Really got to do some of the Aussie things I came here for, so I can’t wait to go back ?

Checklist – Must Do’s While Visiting Byron Bay

  • EAT: Cafe scene is strong. Bayleaf Cafe, Byron Fresh and Cafe Byron are all in town and are very good. But if you have a car consult this article for other delish options.
  • DRINK: An ideal night would be Stone And Wood Brewery –> take a cab back in town for Railway Friendly Bar –> walk in town for a boogie at Beach Hotel. One of the Byron boys said he really likes the bar Woody’s too, sounds like it has a divey late-night bar vibe and sounds really fun!
  • DO: Bike out to The Farm and have coffee and/or a delicious meal. Hike up to the lighthouse for a magnificent view of Byron’s massive beach and then head down to the rocks to watch the surfers shred (and/or do some shredding yourself).
  • SHOP: Hit up the shops in town for cool clothes, art and gifts. If you really love fashion check out Spell Byron Bay. I’ve been following them on Insta for years and was bummed I didn’t get to check them out, but I will one day 🙂 Also if you time it right, the Byron Market is the first Sunday of every month. We were actually there for it but traded off for a beach day with the local boys (good decision) but I would LOVE to check them out.

What else should I do next time I’m in Byron???? Besides see more whales ?

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