Top 10 Things to do when in Byron Bay

Byron Bay is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to. I left a piece of my heart there. Living there for a few months sure changed me as a person. I’ll be giving you tips on things to do in Byron from a local perspective.

Byron is a super laid back beach town with a unique culture and atmosphere. There are no corporations or malls or big buildings. It is a paradise. In the main town there are a few things to do. Alternatively, you can also rent a car and visit the towns nearby. There are surrounding towns that are SUPER beautiful so driving there is definitely worth it. 

1. Main Beach

The main beach is very accessible since it’s right by the main town. I would usually go there for the beautiful sunsets and the drum circle at sunset!

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Main beach Byron Bay

 2. The Pass

If you walk a bit further east from the main beach, you will end up at this beach called The Pass. My favourite! 

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The Pass

 

3. Wategos Beach

Wategos beach is a small beach with really nice views. A place where you can spot dolphins from!

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Wategos beach

4. Tallows Beach

From the lighthouse, you will have breathtaking views of the Tallows beach. The coast looks amazing from here! 

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 It’s like having a private beach to yourself! In midpoint of this beach, you will spot a tea tree lake. It’s amazing because it’s right across from the ocean and the colours of tea tree lakes are quite different and unique than any other water body that you have ever seen! It’s known to be good for your skin so swimming in a tea tree lake is highly recommended.

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Tea tree lake in Tallow’s

5. Broken Heads

Broken Heads in 7 mile beach road. This place is INCREDIBLE! Referring back to my “Camping on the beach”  blog, this place is a great place to just go and camp out at night. There are about 9 beaches along 7 mile road and every one of them is gorgeous. 

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Just hiking up Brays Beach
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Brays beach
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King’s beach

6. Lennox Head

 This is a small town near the airport. You will pass this on your way to or from the airport in Ballina. It has breathtaking views and it is just by a residential area so it has a different homely vibe!

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Lennox Head

7. Minyon Falls

It’s a half hour drive from Byron Bay.  When you walk around the park, you will see the stream and it’s such a serene and calm feeling that you can just sit there and meditate.

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Minyon Falls

8. Brunswick Heads

A park here with the ocean on one side and lake on the other. The wave currents there are quite strong. I haven’t seen many people going there for swims. However, it’s a nice place to go and have a picnic. The small beach there on the other side almost has no wave.

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Brunswick Heads

 

9. Light House

Going on a coastal hike from The main beach to the lighthouse is incredibly nice! You can start at the main beach and go through “The Pass”, Wategos beach and take the stairs all the way up to the light house. You might even spot some dolphins on the way if you’re there around May-August! Breathtaking sunrises can be seen from the light house – the most easterly point of Australia!

10. The Local Bars

Cheeky Monkey’s

The Northern Hotel – live band music

The Rails Friendly BarREALLY GOOD live band music

And there, you have it. All the places that you can possibly go to while in Byron! They are all incredibly beautiful and amazing!!!

Click to view Tips for Accommodations

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Sunset from the most easterly point of Australia

Surfer’s Paradise in Gold Coast, Queensland

A Short Drive from Byron Bay!

The drive is only about 2 hours away from Byron Bay. Gold Coast is a complete contrast to Byron. It has huge corporations, big buildings and is an actual city. Of course there are many beaches but the feeling is quite different. Instead of mountains by the coast, you’ll see very tall buildings.

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Surfer’s Paradise

Surfer’s Paradise

Surfer’s Paradise is quite a busy place with lots of backpackers, restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos, and they have entertainment like Ripley’s Believe it or not. This place sort of reminded me of Niagara Falls Canadian side, except that it’s way smaller than that. There’s the main street which consists of all your shopping, restaurants, bars and then you have the main beach for relaxation.

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Broadbeach

The atmosphere of Gold Coast is pretty lively. I have been to Broadbeach which is about an hour of bus ride from Surfer’s. This beach I found was nicer. It’s quite long and away from the party scene. I think I enjoyed Surfer’s beach more on my second day. It was nice to just sit under the sun. The water was not so cold yet just enough to cool me off.

It’s a nice place for a weekend getaway!

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Cairns, Queensland

I started the year of 2015 by flying to Cairns early in the morning and what an amazing start! Cairns is very up north along the coast of Queensland. It has very hot temperature and this is usually a gateway to the great barrier reefs. 

 

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One thing I’ve learnt from this trip is to stay away from Flight Centre, because their deals will rip you off. It’s best to just do your own bookings because you save quite a lot. I went with a couple of friends and didn’t really look through this but you live and you learn, right? 
I was there for 2-3 days. It was a short trip but fun! Cairns is really hot, especially in the summer time. The heat is actually exhausting there. It’s true that I would rather have hot than cold any day! Cairns is a small town. The downtown side of it is quite lively since many tourists go there. Unfortunately Cairns doesn’t have any beaches except for this man made pool area called the Esplanade. This is where most people go to cool off and there’s even a DJ that plays music. I would rather prefer a beach but sadly Cairns lacks this. What I noticed in town was that there are more flying foxes (bats) than people. Holy hell, they are just everywhere! I find them cute because their faces are like foxes, hence the name. They are quite noisy during the day, when they are hanging by the trees since this is their bed time. The ones in Cairns were much bigger than the ones in New South Wales. You can’t miss them, they have literally taken over the entire town! I miss flying foxes though… You can’t find them in Ontario. 

 

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Flying foxes hanging from the trees

Food

 
The restaurants there are also quite expensive but the food is amazing. They have everything you want; lobster,  kangaroos, crocodile… Yes crocodile! Very Australian. I have only tried kangaroo and it’s actually not as bad as the thought of it.

 

Nightlife

 

Cairns also has a nightlife which consists of a few clubs. It has a nice atmosphere. You can still hangout by the pool at the Esplanade. There are some bars along the street as well. It gets kind of crazy in the night time.

 

Beaches

 

The nearest beach is Palm Cove beach. If you’re not driving, your best bet is to take the public bus which takes about an hour. I assure you this journey will be worth it. Palm Cove is such a nice beach with beautiful scenery. You will notice danger signs for crocodiles in water and so they recommend that you swim within this huge net that they put up. It is quite scary and I haven’t heard of any mishaps but I can imagine it won’t be a fun experience to be attacked by crocodiles. Many people also go fishing by Palm Cove. 

 

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Palm Cove Beach

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Great Barrier Reef

 
I did a day trip to the great barrier reefs from Cairns. They took us to a pontoon which was in the middle of the ocean. This was not good for me since I get so much anxiety from big waves. The currents, I felt, were strong and there was no shore to go to. Since I fear drowning in water, this was not good!!! I always feel safer when I see the shore or a beach to go back to. This had just the pontoon and once you leave the pontoon, the water is quite deep and the currents are quite strong so you can feel the force. I tried to snorkel near the pontoon but sadly enough didn’t get to go far. I wish to overcome this fear one day, although it seems quite impossible at the moment. There was an underwater observatory also, where I spent most of time. The things you see underwater – it’s a whole another world down there and it’s so colourful and beautiful! 

 

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If you have this phobia as I do, I would recommend you stop over the “Green island” or there are a few islands within the great barrier reef where they take you to snorkel or dive. When they say “Great barrier reef” they mean the middle of the ocean. I prefer the islands because you can at least kind of walk around and explore, then also get to snorkel in shallow water. Well, this really depends on your preference but if you are anything like me then you would prefer the islands rather than the pontoon. 

 

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Stopover at this island before the Great Barrier Reef (Pontoon)
 

Top Things to do in Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls is just a 1.5 hour drive away from Toronto. The Canadian side is most definitely the better side with many things to keep you entertained. Starting with various restaurants and bars to fun activities like haunted houses, arcades, museums to nightlife (clubs) and of course, the casinos. The waterfalls is obviously the main and the most gorgeous attraction here.

Here are a list of things to keep you busy for the weekend!

  1. Skywheel

This is a great ride as you have incredible views of the beautiful Niagara Falls and the rest of the town from here. I recommend going there during the day or close to sunset so you can have a nice daytime view of the entire place. This ride lasts about 10-15 minutes and costs about $12 CAD. Sometimes you’ll see deals on Groupon but they are usually in USD, which adds up to be the same price as a regular ticket at the counter.

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2. The Skylon Tower

The skylon tower consists of an arcade, an observation deck and a revolving restaurant. You can also check out the 3D/4D movie based on Niagara Falls. The revolving dining room rotates 360 degrees in an hour. There are spectacular views of the falls from here and the observation deck. You can also see the rainbow bridge that connects Canada to the US. The below image is taken from the skylon tower observation deck – you can see the rainbow bridge and the American side of the waterfalls.

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3. Niagara Speedway

This is quite an adventure. There are long waits since everyone wants to get a taste of this ride. However, it’s worth it. You get to complete the lap around 4-5 times. The scariest and most exhilerating part of this ride is when you drop from the top. It is a fun ride and I highly recommend it.

P.S This ride is not to be mistaken for the “mario go kart” ride. It was heavily advertised in the media as Mario Go Kart but Niagara Speedway does not have any affiliation with Nintendo (just a heads up to those who may be tricked by the media).

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4. Haunted Houses

It’s halloween in Niagara all year round as you have the Chocolate Factory, the hershey store and just about a few haunted houses. This surely entertains the kids but also the adults! A few places to check out :

  • Haunted Asylum
  • Nightmares Fear Factory
  • Niagara’s Haunted Hallways
  • The Haunted House
  • Frankenstein’s Haunted House

Just to name a few!

5. Arcades

There are some fun arcades in Niagara. Again, this will entertain adults and children. You can easily have a fun time with your family, friends or even a date!

  • Great Canadian Midway
  • Captain Jack’s Fun Center
  • Fallsview Arcade
  • Clifton Hill Fun by the Falls

6. Maid of Mist

This is a boat ride that takes you to the falls. They do provide you with raincoats so you’re not completely soaked. It’s an up-close and personal experience with the Falls.

7. Casinos

The casinos in Niagara will definitely keep you busy. If you’re not much of a gambler, you will be, when there is nothing else to do during unfortunate weather circumstances. Trust me, we have lots of those in Canada. Rain, snow, storms, etc. The casinos will definitely be your shelter and keep you occupied.

8. Ripley’s Attractions

There are quite a few attractions such as Ripleys Believe it or not, Ripley’s Moving Theatre and Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I recommend getting the package as it saves a few bucks. You can go to each of those places and that will keep you entertained for a few hours. I recommend this especially during bad weather. They are all great indoor activities. My personal favourite is the wax museum.

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9. The Niagara Falls

Walk by the falls during the day or night. You will have a great viewing pleasure. During the day you will see beautiful rainbows over the falls. At night you will see the incredible lighting on the falls. It’s beautiful! Make sure to see the fireworks right by the falls if you are there during the weekend. The official website provides more information on schedules.

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10. Wine Tours

Niagara on the lake is just beside Niagara Falls and it is a beautiful place with many vineyards to explore! Of course, it’s best to visit the vineyards during warmer temperatures. However, majority of them are open all year round so you can go for wine tastings. There are many tours that take you to a few vineyards for wine tasting. It’s best to go on the tours and not drive after drinking. The tours include transportation that pick you up and drop you off back to your hotel. 

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If you’re visiting Toronto, Niagara is a must-see place! And if you’re from Toronto… well, it’s a perfect getaway place!

Top 12 Places To See in Sydney, Australia

  1. Sydney Eye Tower or the Westfield tower

This is quite a nice place. It has a bar and a restaurant. Their cocktails are quite amazing. It is a rotating restaurant and you get a 360 view of Sydney. 

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2. Darling Harbour

What can I say about this place? I absolutely love it. It has everything. A few chocolate café’s, a few bars and restaurants, an IMAX movie theatre, a wax museum, a wildlife centre, an aquarium, a few clubs, oh and I almost forgot…harbour! This place is amazing. Lindt chocolate café or Guylian’s chocolate café are absolutely delicious café’s to go to. If you’re looking to have fun, go out to Bungalow 8 and you won’t be disappointed. On Saturdays you will see the incredible Sydney fireworks! During summer time the fireworks can be seen Wednesdays and Saturdays. These are stunning shows and worth paying a visit to!

  1. Harbour Bridge

People do the harbour bridge climb there. If you’re not scared of heights I would say it’s definitely worth the climb. Otherwise, you can stick to the bridge walk. This will take you to Milson’s point where you can stroll around and check out Luna Park as well. The walk itself has incredible views of the Opera house and the city.

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  1. Opera House

It’s beautiful and nice to grab a drink at the Opera bar, just to sit and enjoy the vibe and views. New Year’s Eve is the best time to be at this spot.

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  1. Sydney Botanical Gardens

You will definitely need a couple of hours at least to just walk around the Botanical Gardens. It is quite interesting as you come across a lot of different kinds of plants and let’s not forget the views you have from the garden. Behind the garden is the Sydney Opera house. There’s also a little pond where you can find Eels swimming around. You can do yoga/meditation also, as it’s really not a loud place at all. Fantastic for a picnic.

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  1. Bondi

Bondi has a life of its own. It has an incredible beach where 85% of the visitors are probably tourists. It has nice bars, restaurants and ice cream parlours. If you do make it to Bondi, I highly recommend the coastal walk to Coogee. You will need some time at hand and if you’re not up for a long hike/walk, try the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte – it will probably take about 20 minutes. Definitely worth it!

P.S Read my Bondi to Coogee coastal walk blog for details 🙂

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  1. Double Bay

They say, “double bay double pay”. This is an upscale area where you will come across a lot of fancy restaurants, bars, and lounges. There is only one place here that has no lockout time and it’s called the Sheaf. Don’t forget to dress up when you go here!

  1. Mosman

This is another upscale area. It has stunning houses overlooking the sea. You can go on a coastal/urban walk here along Mosman. There are parks where you can have picnics. The Sydney opera house and Harbour Bridge can be seen from here and as well you will notice many many many yachts along the coast. The houses are worth billions$$ and being there will only make you dream! 

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  1. Taronga zoo

It is such a beautiful zoo. You will definitely not regret going there. The cable car ride is quite fun to begin with. Finally when you get there, keep at least 4 hours at hand. This zoo has everything! Also, it’s located in an island, a bit further away from the Circular Quay (Opera house/Harbour Bridge). You can see the giraffes with a background of the harbour bridge. Now, that’s unique!

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  1. Manly

Usually tourists go to Manly from Circular Quay on a 30 minute ferry ride. Manly is a suburb so it has a life of its own with everything that you need. The beach is quite nice and not as crowded as Bondi. A lot of people go here for surfing lessons just because the waves are calmer here. On the other side, you will notice Shelly beach. It’s named Shelly because instead of sand on the beach, it’s mainly all shells. I like Shelly beach more because it’s right by the bay. You can go snorkeling or just swim around in the water. Water is warm during summers and waves are completely calm. You can go on a stroll around this area.

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  1. Glebe

I am so biased when it comes to Glebe because I actually lived there and so did most of my friends. Glebe is super lively and you will get a hippie feel. Glebe has a mall of its own, all kinds of restaurants which give you a taste of the world, chocolate cafes, regular cafes, bars with live music! Glebe also has a park called the Black Wattle Bay. It is such a nice and peaceful park to go to. People also take their dogs for walks there so you’ll come across many cute dogs. Also, watch out for those flying foxes! They are everywhere in Glebe! (especially during the summer).

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  1. Newtown

Newtown is the ONLY place in Sydney with no lockout time!!! Need I say more?

Bondi To Coogee Coastal Walk

This walk is absolutely the best!

Coogee Beach

Let’s start from Coogee. It has a little park and a BBQ area. If you want to have a BBQ you completely and totally can. It is a public BBQ but really easy to use, electronic ones. The beach has volleyball nets and it is quite a nice and relaxing beach.

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Coogee Beach

When you go up the hill and to the cliffs you will have a completely different scenery. They do have danger signs and discourage you to go over the fence. I was obviously a badass and had to go to the edge to take a picture or two!

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Sitting on top of the Coogee cliffs

Gordon’s Bay

The next spot along the coast is Gordon’s Bay. This is my absolute favourite spot! It’s the tiniest beach and has a lot of different underwater creatures that can be seen upon snorkeling. I just like sitting by the rocks and enjoying the view and the blue water. I specifically like this spot because it’s not crowded with people. If you ever want to get away from everything and just clear your head, this would be the best spot for it.

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Gordon’s Bay

When you go up the hill, there’s a spot from which you will have the best view of Gordon’s Bay. You will have to hop the fence for this and be very careful when you do this. Once I saw a huge lizard but it wasn’t aggressive. If you do come across anything, just stay calm and do NOT react. They will leave you alone. You can sit on the cliff and enjoy the view from there. Just be very careful of not falling!

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Sitting on top of the cliffs above Gordon’s Bay
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Looking over Gordon’s Bay

Clovelly Beach

Moving along, next is Clovelly beach. This place is popular for swimmers and there is a Surf Life Saving Club there. There’s also a little beach with shallow water, mainly for kids to swim there. It’s right next to a tiny grassy park. Oh and I almost forgot! There’s a huge graveyard on your way there from Coogee. It’s actually quite beautiful. Take a look below.

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Graveyard by the Coast

Tamarama

After Clovelly comes Tamarama. This is where the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition takes place every summer. It is something to check out while you’re there. I like Tamarama because it’s not as crowded as Bronte or Bondi. There’s also a little park which I think is more appropriate for families. Bronte, however, has a bigger park and a beach. A great spot to watch the surfers from!

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Sculptures by the Sea at Tamarama beach

Bronte

Bronte is just a 15 min walk to Bondi. Along the way, you will come across a viewpoint where you’ll have breathtaking views of Bondi and on the other side you can see Bronte. There is also a dog park if you want to take your dog for a walk, or to play with the other dogs there. Those dogs are quite lucky I tell you.

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Bronte beach

Bondi Beach

Of course then we have Bondi ahead of us. There is a swimming pool right before you enter Bondi, called the Bondi Icebergs. Quite a popular place to be. Bondi beach is often crowded with people everywhere. Sometimes I’ve had a hard time finding a place to just sit. It is also a host to “Sculptures by the Sea” exhibition. They have over a 100 pieces of art every year just at Bondi.

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Between Bronte to Bondi

Bondi also has a nice bar/restaurant right by the beach. It’s a great place to hang out after you have completed your entire walk! Likewise, if you want to end your walk at Coogee you can stop by at the Pavilion. It’s always nice to reward yourself with a refreshing drink!

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Finally arrived in Bondi

The Blue Mountains 

Background history

Blue Mountains is a beautiful place located west of Sydney in New South Wales. It is just a train ride away from Central Station in Sydney. It takes 2 hours from central to katoomba and you can easily walk up to the Three Sisters. There’s an incredible viewpoint. It is a rock formation in the blue mountains and is known to be an Australian (Aboriginal) legend. Apparently three sisters from a tribe fell in love with three brothers of a different tribe. There was a battle because marriage was forbidden amongst the two tribes and so the three sisters were turned into stone by an elder for protection.

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Hiking

Followed by Three Sisters we went on a hike just beside the viewpoint. It led us to these beautiful waterfalls. Along the way, we witnessed these gorgeous birds including cockatoo birds. They look so pretty especially because they’re easily distinguishable.

 

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Cockatoo

The waterfalls were a mission and a half to get to. We went through a rainforest and there were a bunch of danger signs along the way. However we managed to slide through the hill and get there somehow.

Highly recommended trip if you’re close to Sydney! Just a 2 hour train ride 🙂

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