Colourful, charismatic Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast was once a haven for surfers and hippies. But that has changed. These days you’re more likely to find families and couples bedding down luxury accommodation and soaking up the last of the rays at the beach.
Main Beach, Clarkes Beach, Belongil Beach and Wategos Beach are the most popular for families and Byron Bay has an excellent surf school for kids who want to learn to ride the waves.
You can’t do Byron without exploring the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse, which stands guard at the most easterly point in Australia. From the headland, you’ll have sweeping views over Tallow Beach, Mount Warning and the green hinterland behind Byron. If you have early risers, get them up here for sunrise.
Byron Bay is on the “Humpback Highway”. Between June and November each year, thousands of Humpback whales travel past Byron Bay during their annual migration. You can take a kayaking tour to spot them from the water, or just look from the headland every day.
A visit to the weekend markets in Byron Bay with kids (or nearby Bangalow, Lennox Heads and Nimbin) is a must. You’ll find great bargains, fresh food, free entertainment and plenty of colourful local characters.
Byron Bay with kids aged 0-4
At The Farm, kids can see first-hand how food is grown and produced. The Farm’s motto is “Grow, feed, educate, give back”. With little ones, you will want to head to the Garden Shed nursery, where they can check out the pigs, cows, chickens and rabbits.
You can try the fresh farm produce in the Three Blue Ducks Restaurant and let the kids run off some steam in the incredible timber playground. If you think the kids can handle it, the daily farm tours teach families about sustainable farming methods such as paddock rotation, crops, composting and pollination.
Byron’s Macadamia Castle and Animal Park is always a hit with younger kids. It has an 18-hole mini golf course, a miniature train and a treehouse playground. Kids can also get up close and personal with native animals, both cuddly, and not so cuddly, at the Animal Park. Make sure you sample the pancakes in the cafe. OMG. Delish.
Bryon Bay with kids aged 5-8
Crystal Castle and Shambhala Garden claim to have the two tallest crystals on earth, a towering pair of amethyst geodes. This place is a nod to the North Coast’s hippie past. Kids can enter a glittering enchanted amethyst cave, explore the labyrinth, bamboo forest and the children’s playground. On weekends and school holidays, Crystal Castle also has free face painting.
Kids a little more active? Try the Circus Arts HQ It has circus classes for all ages – toddlers, kids, teens and adults. If the kids are brave enough, they can attempt the 10m high flying trapeze, the tumble track, silks, tramp walls and static trapeze. Circus Arts HQ has Byron’s only indoor climbing wall with both manual and auto-belay systems available. In the school holidays, kids can try full and half day circus classes, Ninja Warrior lessons and balloon twisting workshops.
Byron Bay with kids aged 9-12
Minyon Falls plunges down more than 100 metres of rhyolite cliffs that were once part of an active volcano. The walking track through Nightcap National Park meanders through rainforest, escapement and fern-lined creeks. You can start from either of the picnic areas at Minyon Falls. The track links to Boggy Creek walk, which leads north to Rummery Park campground, in neighbouring Whian Whian State Conservation Area. It will take about 3 hours to complete.
Don’t feel like walking? The Minyon Grass picnic area has gas barbecues and tables with a beautiful view of the falls so bring a picnic lunch and spend the day here.
For a tour with a twist, explore the mysterious Byron Bay Yowie Trail. This curious tour with Australia’s most renowned Cryptozoologist, Gary Opit, comes complete with pictures and tales of mysterious yowie encounters and even the opportunity to hold the cast of a yowie footprint. Is it real? We will let you judge that for yourself.
Byron Bay has great clean breaks for kids to learn to surf – and this age is the perfect time to get into the sport. Hire a board and build up their confidence in the whitewater. Then once they’ve got the hang of it, start heading further back. For lessons consider Mojo Surf, Surfing Byron Bay, or Style Surfing.
A five-minute boat ride from Byron Bay brings you to one of the premier diving locations in Australia, Julian Rocks Marine Reserve. It’s also one of the few snorkel sites where you can swim with tropical species found on the Great Barrier Reef and home to three different species of sea turtle. The Byron Bay Dive Centre caters for all levels of diving and snorkelling experience.
Bryon Bay with teens
Adventurous teens will love all the great outdoor activities to be found in and around Byron Bay. They’ll also just love chilling on the beach, especially if you go with a group of friends.
Sea Kayak tours have three-hour ocean kayaking tours into Cape Byron Marine Park from Byron Bay. You don’t need any experience to give it a go. On the tour, you will hopefully see dolphins and turtles and loads of fish.
For maximum thrills take to the sky to see the sea from above on a tandem skydive with the Skydive Australia crew, float above Byron on a hot air balloon ride with Byron Bay Ballooning or take the leap with Pro Flyte on a 30-minute hang gliding adventure launching from Byron Bay and Lennox Head.
Best time to go
Anytime. Summer (from December to February) is ideal for lazy days on the beach. But it can be crowded and accommodation prices do increase, so be prepared and book early. For better deals, look at the shoulder season and outside of school holidays if possible.
Spring (from September-December) and Autumn (March-May) can be a good time to visit as the crowds are thinner and the weather is still warm enough to get into the water
The coldest month is generally July, with a maximum temperature of around 19C. It’s ideal for hiking in the national parks, not so ideal for the beach unless you have a steamer.
No matter what time you plan to go to Byron Bay with kids it’s best to plan ahead for your visit to this delightful coastal town and hinterland as it is always popular.
- Visit Cape Byron Lighthouse and Conservation Park
- Explore Crystal Castle
- Spend a day enjoying the pretty parks and delicious treats of Bangalow
- Peruse the goodies at the Byron Markets
- Soak up the sun, sea and sand at one of the gorgeous beaches
- Get up close and personal with the critters at The Farm
- Take a surf lesson
- Scuba dive or snorkel at Julian Rocks
- Hire a bike to explore the town
- Spend a day at the Macadamia Castle and Animal Park
Places to eat, food to try
Byron Bay and the hinterland are home to some of Australia’s freshest and finest paddock-to-plate produce.
Head to Topshop for acai breakfast bowls, green smoothies, delicious burgers and an incredible steak sandwich.
Bayleaf is the place to go for coffee. This cafe sources ingredients from local suppliers with beans from Marvel Street Coffee Roasters. The food is pretty special too.
Three Blue Ducks at the Farm is a 10-minute drive from Byron and worth every minute. The 90 seat restaurant serves sustainable food and 100 per cent chemical-free booze all produced within 500km of the farm.
Families will enjoy a meal at the Beach Hotel, a long-time local favourite. If you feel like pizza, Paradiso Restaurant is just a short walk from the Broken Head Holiday Village and makes delicious pizzas for every taste, as well as offering a range of craft beers and tasty pasta. Fans of baked goods should check out Suffolk Park Bakery, one of the area’s best.
If you just want to graze, head to the local markets which sell everything from fresh food straight from the farm through to delicacies from the multi-cultural community.
Something for nothing
Byron Bay and its picturesque hinterland offer plenty of free fun for families. Start your day with a spectacular sunrise at the Cape Byron Lighthouse. But if you are not an early riser, it is worth a visit any time of the day for the amazing views over the ocean and across the hinterland.
A day at the beach is a must. Main Beach is directly in front of the town and patrolled, Clarkes, Tallows and Watego’s (where you might spot dolphins) are some of our other favourites for families.
Take a drive away from the coast to the hinterland. Visit the hamlets of Bangalow and Nimbin to explore their quaint main streets, markets, food stalls, beautiful scenery. And a wander around the Byron Community Market, with over 300 stalls and plenty of entertainment, is always a fun way to while away a few hours.
What’s on? Byron Bay annual events
March – April Bluesfest
This internationally renowned event held in the hinterland over the Easter long weekend features more than 200 artists, stalls and activities.
March – This wonderful Indigenous festival showcases an array of music, dance, theatre, comedy, film and visual arts.
March/April – Splendour in the Grass
A great weekend with on-site camping and a mix of contemporary performing arts, and incorporates Little Splendour – a dedicated space designed exclusively for big and little kids.
April – Byron Spirit Festival
Three days of yoga to music, dance and healing and everything in between.
May – NFR harvest Food Festival
Northern Rivers Food (NFR) brings you the farmers rewards straight to your plate.
August – Byron Writers Festival
Like to pen a tome? Or listen to great authors and poets talk? This is a vibrant literary festival with something for all ages. If you’re heading to Byron Bay with kids you should check who will be here and see if it’s on the school reading list.