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When you visit Australia, you should make sure you visit Byron Bay, as many find it a magical place. But to be honest, there aren’t many attractions, and you need to know where to go when you visit. Try to talk to locals or people that visited before, to get all the know how to have a great time in Byron Bay. Some people only spend a couple of days and some never leave… whatever you do, make sure you don’t rule out giving these amazing day trips a chance!
A coastal town that is known for great beaches and surfing along with lots of other water sports activities, Ballina makes the perfect day trip from Byron Bay. It’s just 25 minutes south of Byron Bay!
Start your day trip at one of the prettiest white sandy beaches of Ballina, Shelly Beach. When you need to get out of the sun for a bit, go up to The Belle General, a café at Shelly that offers up breakfast and lunch options as well as coffee and tea drinks and smoothies.
Take some time off the beach to appreciate the wildlife around you by visiting the Australian Seabird Rescue, Research, Rehabilitation and Coastal Education Centre. Your visit will include an hour presentation from one of the trained volunteers and viewing whatever wildlife happens to be in the care of the centre at the time, ranging from pelicans to shore birds to even sea turtles.
Last but not least, walk the Ballina Historic Waterfront Trial, which takes you from the walkway at Fawcett Park in the central business district to the North Wall. Along the way, you’ll learn interesting facts about the area from 19 plaques.
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The hippiest town of all? It’s Nimbin, just 45-minutes out of Byron Bay. Nimbin features lots of colorful shops and cafes as well as many ways to find your “inner hippie”.
You start your day at one the funky cafes with a good coffee and get used to the people and vibe of Nimbin. Make sure you walk past the Rainbow cafe, where the hippiest first arrived and which served as the town lounge room. Unfortunately, a 2014 fire devastated the original cafe.
A must visit is the Djanburg Gardens where you’ll view living permaculture systems and beautiful gardens. Visiting is free, but you can do a self-guided tour (recommended donation of $5) by obtaining a map at the main building. The center also offers guided tours at 11 am on Saturdays for $20 per person.
Visit The World Heritage-listed Nightcap National Park for spectacular waterfalls, cliffs, and a stunning rainforest. Walk a part of the Historic Nightcap Track – a 16 km long track stomped out by postal workers in the late 19th century.
Around 15 minutes drive south of Byron Bay, Lennox Head is a small, coastal town where there’s surfing, windsurfing, hang gliding and many more popular activities. Since you’re only here for the day, I suggest you check out Lennox Point, especially if you’re a surfer, where you’ll see people trying out the right-hand break.The Point also makes a great launching spot for hang gliders, starting off from the top of its 65m cliff. And don’t miss the chance to just relax and watch the dolphins play. Fun fact: Lennox Head’s coastline is a protected National Surf Reserve.
Also make sure you stop by Pat Morton Point where you can enjoy amazing views of the village and its spectacular Seven Mile Beach.
Later, you really should visit Lake Ainsworth on the north side of the village. This fresh water lake features a tea-tree stain, giving it a unique colour. It is a great place to swim as well as stand-up paddleboard, kayak or canoe. Every 2nd and 5th Sunday you can find Lennox Head Community Market on the foreshore.
Near Nimbin, and a 45-minute drive southwest of Byron Bay, Lismore is one of the larger towns listed on my day trips near Byron Bay suggestions. It serves as home to many artists and performers; therefore the town reflects that with a number of galleries, theaters and other performing arts spaces. You could totally spend a night here, but I prefer a daytrip.
In town, you should take in interesting art exhibitions at the Lismore Regional Gallery that feature local and national artists. Check the website for listings and try to catch NORPA (Northern Rivers Performing Arts) event while in Lismore. The group produces, creates and presents theater, music, and dance from touring shows as well as local original work.
If you’re looking for outdoor activities, follow the 3 km trail that runs along the Wilson River bank. It features three interpretive panels creating outdoor art installations as well as a great fishing spot and BBQs.
Lismore also has a Koala Care Centre that takes in sick, injured and orphaned koalas – totally fun if you haven’t visited any of the other Koala Care Centers on the East Coast right? If you prefer seeing other wild life than koalas, make sure you walk the Birdwing Butterfly Walk. In the suburb of Goonellabah, 6km of the center, the walk is planted with vines to attract butterflies. Keep an eye out for platypuses in the Tucki Tucki Creek, especially at dawn or sunset.
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