The coastal town of Byron Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Australia. It boasts a serenity that you just can’t find in the country’s cities, along with breathtaking views of Australia’s natural wonders.
But despite its summer temperatures of 30-plus degrees Celsius, Byron Bay isn’t all about drinking cocktails and lazing on the beach. There are plenty of things to do and day trips to take, especially for older tourists.
Read on for Byron Bay’s best things to do for adult travellers!
Mullumbimby is just 15 minutes removed from Byron Bay. It likes to promote itself as the “Biggest Little Town in Australia”. It’s a big title to give oneself – no pun intended – but those who have visited agree that the town more than lives up to it.
When you visit Mullumbimby, you’ll feel like you’re strolling through one of Australia’s large cities. It multiples shops and restaurants ensure day tourists have no shortage of ways to spend their time.
These establishments are complemented by tourist attractions, such as the Crystal Castle. Here, you’ll find stunning geodes surrounded by the exotic plants of the Shambhala Gardens.
If you’re a music fan, try to time your visit to Mullumbimby to coincide with the Mullum Music Festival. One of Australia’s most popular cultural cornerstones, the Mullum Music Festival showcases some of Australia’s finest homegrown performers, along with acclaimed musicians from abroad.
Killen Falls is located in the small town of Tintenbar. Tintenbar, for its part, is about a half hour drive from Byron Bay. The town itself is beautiful and certainly worth exploring in its own right, but Killen Falls is undoubtedly its main attraction.
Killen Falls is a 10-meter waterfall that pours into a cool swimming hole.
Many day visitors delight in picnicking on the shores of Killen Falls while listening to the soothing sounds of the gushing water. Others prefer to be closer to the action, entering the swimming hole for a release from the hot summer sun.
From the Killen Falls carpark to the waterfall itself, there is a 20-minute walk. This walk will take you through a tranquil nature trail, so a day trip to Killen Falls is a must for any hiker.
For maritime buffs, Ballina is something of a paradise. The town is home of the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum. There, you will find artefacts from Australia’s seafaring past, including the remains of the Las Balsas Raft.
The museum also houses a tribute to the oft-forgotten women of the Navy, which many tourists have found inspiring.
Along with the Naval and Maritime Museum, the town is also home to the Ballina Historic Waterfront Trail. Stretching over 1.5 kilometers, the trail will take you right into the town’s business district.
Along the way, you’ll see 19 plaques, each detailing a different portion of Ballina’s history. This allows day tourists who don’t have the time to take a more comprehensive tour of Ballina to learn about its heritage and traditions in bite-sized chunks.
Just a mile or so east of Byron Bay is the Julian Rocks Nguthungulli Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to some of Australia’s most precious indigenous wildlife, including grey nurse sharks, wobbegong, and leopard sharks.
Visit the area between May and September and you may even spot a few humpback whales passing the shores!
One of Byron Bay’s top things to do is a scuba diving session in the waters just off Julian Rocks. This allows tourists to observe the area’s famous marine wildlife up close and personal.
For those who are not experienced scuba divers, there are lessons offered at the Julian Rocks. These lessons cater to a variety of skill levels, with beginner’s options available for those starting from scratch. If you’d like something a little less challenging, there is a guided snorkeling tour also on offer.
Lennox Head is a great spot for any thrillseeker. The small coastal town is known for its powerful waves, which create the perfect environment for surfing.
Hang gliding is also extremely popular in Lennox Head. From the 65-meter cliff known as Lennox Point, hang gliders can get some serious air time and enjoy the beauty of Australia from above.
If you’re not particularly inclined towards such adrenaline-pumping activities, you can still enjoy a day trip to Lennox Head. The town is home to the picturesque Lake Ainsworth. The lake is noteworthy for its unique colour, and is also a great spot to enjoy a relaxing picnic.
If you’d rather eat indoors, there are plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to choose from. You can enjoy a traditional Australian lunch in one of the town’s quaint cafes or go for something a little more adventurous somewhere like Quattro.
Quattro is an Italian restaurant that has become a popular dining spot among Lennox Head tourists and locals alike ever since its inclusion in Australian Vogue Travel.
Bangalow (do not accidentally order a cab to Bangalore!) is one of the most historic towns in all of Australia. In recent years, however, it seems to have become more noteworthy for its ample shopping opportunities.
Visit Bangalow during your time in Byron Bay and you can expect to find some truly unique stores with some seriously impressive offerings.
One of the most noteworthy shops in the town is Don’t Tell Mama. Here, you will find eco-friendly clothing for affordable prices. If your style is a little more traditional, you’ll likely feel more at home in the fashionable boutique Island Luxe. The town also hosts a farmer’s market from 8 am to 11 am on Saturdays.
If you’re trying to keep costs down during your time in Byron Bay, you won’t have any problem finding free things to do in Bangalow. A stroll through the historic streets of the town is a great way to experience its natural beauty while also learning about its earliest years. Meanwhile, the scenic greens scattered throughout Bangalow provide the perfect setting for a couple’s picnic.
Brunswick Heads is technically a village, but you could be forgiven for not realizing that even after a day spent exploring it.
The village features a lot of wide open spaces, so much so that you may worry you missed a turn and wound up in the Australian wilderness. Don’t worry, that’s part of its charm!
Because it has remained largely untouched over the decades, Brunswick Heads boasts a diverse selection of wildlife, particularly in its waters.
Dolphins are regularly seen swimming and playing off the coast of the village, while whales have also been known to make an appearance. You can explore these waters yourself in kayak or by taking part in a guided river cruise.
If you find yourself craving human interaction, head to the village’s street market. There, you’ll find Brunswick Heads locals selling traditional Australian food, drinks, and souvenirs.
Remember, the Brunswick Heads market only runs on the first Saturday of every month. If possible try to plan your trip for that time. You won’t regret the extra effort!
If you’ve ever found yourself longing for the music, fashion, and sights of the 1960s, Nimbin is the place for you.
Located about 90 minutes from Byron Bay, the town encapsulates everything we’ve come to love about the counterculture of the 60s. This includes funky vintage clothing stores, eco-friendly food options, and acres of green grass.
The town is also home to the Nimbin Craft Gallery. This houses art created by some of the top independent designers in all of Australia. You may even find a few offerings from respected overseas artists.
Similar to the Craft Gallery is the Nimbin Candle Factory. Here, you can view traditionally-made non-toxic candles and, if you feel particularly impressed, purchase a few for your friends and family back home.
Be sure to visit Nimbin’s Djanbung Gardens. The gardens are home to a variety of breathtaking plants and insects, as well as a number of exhibits showcasing exciting approaches to sustainable living.
Guided tours of the gardens are available for $20 per person, but independent tourists have the option to explore alone for a suggested donation of $5.
Lismore isn’t far removed from Nimbin. It should come as no surprise, then, that it has a bustling arts scene of its own. Many artists and creatures live in the town, so street performers are not an uncommon sight.
Similarly, there are galleries and theatres scattered throughout Lismore, so a visit to one is a must if you want to truly immerse yourself in local life.
So why do so many artists make Lismore their home? Many cite the area’s natural beauty as the reason for their relocating to the town. If you’re searching for wondrous scenes of nature to inspire you, you’ll certainly find them here. They are particularly abundant in Nightcap National Park.
Nightcap National Park boasts World-Heritage listed rainforest land, dating back hundreds of thousands of years. Tours of the rainforest are offered, as are tours of other portions of the park, so a visit should be high on your list of things to do in Byron Bay.