Free and Cheap Things To Do In Byron Bay
Byron Bay is one of a kind when it comes to holiday destinations. This once sleepy seaside town has so many things going for it that it’s hard to list them all. It’s a real melting pot of different people and activities, and the nature here must be seen to be believed. Today this atmospheric little town is buzzing with life; it has a thriving alternative scene and an enviable music scene too.
The beaches of Byron are absolutely wonderful and the hinterland here should be explored at least once. Whatever your budget, it’s possible to have a truly memorable time in this unique coastal spot. Those who don’t want to spend a fortune will love exploring the local nature, surfing the waves, wildlife spotting, and making the most of free music gigs, galleries and markets.
You’ll never get bored in Byron Bay whatever your budget, but to make sure that’s definitely the case, we’ve put together a list of the best free and cheap activities you can participate in:
1 – Go on a bike ride
Although this will cost something if you need to hire a bicycle, it won’t be much. There are a number of awesome biking trails around Byron Bay that will allow you to experience the local nature at its finest. A couple of particularly good biking trails worth heading to are:
Tour de Bruns
This bike trail can be found just north of Byron Bay, and it’s a relatively short one at around an hour. It is popular with families because the terrain is pretty flat and easy to navigate. Make your way over to the Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre to get started, and you’ll wind your way through the pretty village and down along the Brunswick River to Torakina Beach. From here you can follow it on to the break wall for epic views of the Byron Bay Lighthouse.
Brunswick to Byron Beach ride
Note that if you’re going to do this ride, it’s got to be a low tide. Starting out at the Brunswick South Wall you’ll make your way to Byron Bay over around 13km. You’ll complete it in around an hour and a half, and it won’t be too taxing as again, the land is flat. On this ride you’ll be privy to lovely beach views, and you can stop for a swim if you see fit. You may end up with wet feet when crossing the Belongil Creek, so be prepared for that!
2 – Tour some art galleries
Part of the alternative scene here includes a fascinating art world. Byron Bay seems to attract unusual artists from all around, and there are plenty of free galleries where their work is showcased. We particularly like the Lone Goat Gallery, which has regular exhibitions of local visual artists’ work. You can find this at 28 Lawson Street, and it’s open weekdays from 10:00 – 16:00 and weekends from 10:00 – 12:00.
Then there is the Jules Hunt Studio Gallery, where you might even get to meet Jules. She has some interesting pieces on display, but beware – you might be tempted to break your budget and take something home! You can find Jules’ gallery at 2/10 Brigantine Street – head down Monday to Saturday between 09:00 and 17:00.
3 – Visit Killen Falls, Tittenbar
Around half an hour’s drive from Byron Bay is Killen Falls, an absolutely incredible waterfall and swimming hole. Here you’ll be deep in the rainforest and surrounded by picturesque eroded rocks. The waterfall itself is 10m high and is part of Emigrant Creek.
Killen Falls is a little different to some of the other local falls, as it has many cave-like rocks around the water. It’s fun to go behind the waterfall and sit watching it – you won’t get wet, unless you want to! You can get there via a short walking trail that brings you out at the base of the falls, but be prepared, as the trail is quite slippery and dotted with rocks.
4 – Go to a free gig
Byron Bay is home to many great local musicians and artists, and there are plenty of music festivals all year round. If you like the idea of listening to some quality local Australian music, Byron is the spot. Every night you’ll be able to find a different gig and you won’t have to pay any entry fees for most. Just keep your eyes peeled for the pubs hosting live bands.
You can’t go wrong with The Rails Hotel, which has a great beer garden and live music gigs every single night. Another good spot for free gigs is Byron Bay Brewery; the same goes for Great Northern Hotel, and there’s also Buddha Bar. All three venues are popular thanks to the cool bands they bring in night after night. If you want to relax with ocean views while you listen to the music, check out the Beach Hotel.
5 – Peruse Byron Bay’s markets
There’s no pressure to buy anything, although temptation might be strong! However, it’s still well worth perusing Byron Bay’s markets for the atmosphere alone. There are various monthly markets here, from farmers markets to artisan markets and community markets.
Lots of the markets have live music and entertainment; they’re bustling, lively and colourful, so they make a feast for the senses. You’ll be able to find organic foods, local produce, crafts, clothes and more. It would be a shame not to try out some of the tasty street foods on offer, so take a little cash along if you can. Bargain hunters will be kicking themselves if they don’t!
6 – Spot some whales
If you’re in Byron Bay over the winter months (June to November), it would be a great idea to do some whale spotting. During this season you’re likely to see pods of humpback whales off Byron Bay’s coast, when they make their trip from Antarctica to the warmer waters. You might even see some babies, as they’re coming here to give birth in these favourable conditions.
You might even spot them from some of the local coastal lookouts, and while walking about the town, so keep an eye out! If you’ve never seen whales in action before, this is a seriously memorable activity that should definitely go on your agenda.
A couple of final tips for you…
If you’re looking to save money throughout your trip, why not consider some of the cheap camping options around the area instead of hotels and hostels? You’ll save quite a bit by bringing your own camping equipment, and getting to sleep under the Byron Bay stars will only add to an already blissful experience. Note that camping out just anywhere could get you a hefty fine of around $1000, so it’s always wise to book into an official camping ground.
Whatever your budget, Byron won’t let you down… but the best piece of advice we can offer is take your time! This is a town where there’s no rush, but there’s so much to do that you’ll need to plan as long a stay as possible. Take a couple of extra days off for this trip and you surely won’t regret it.
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About The Author:
Cal Bailey runs Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or his blogging, you can read his latest blog posts.