There’s something about this time of year in Australia – the balmy days, coupled with the imminent festive season and laid back attitude makes me feel sentimental. It reminds me so much of my childhood and I can’t help but constantly feel excited. The beginning of Summer is always such an electric feeling. I love spending time outdoors exploring. In fact, call me crazy, but I would take that over a full day of shopping. Ew, crowds.

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This time of year also means we’ve all nearly made it to the finish line – work, for most of us, is nearly over. Jonathan and I found ourselves driving to Byron Bay, NSW on Tuesday morning. Last year we went to Thredbo and it was such a great way to end the working year. I guess now you could almost say we have begun a little tradition. Seeing as we don’t work in an office, it’s our “Christmas party” in a sense. Everything was decided super last minute – everything is at this time of year, right? So we literally packed our bags the morning of, well I did, Jonathan managed to bring a bag the complete opposite of Mary Poppins and he had to figure out how to use his laptop as a pair of boardshorts. Just this morning he said “the upside of forgetting to pack most of my things is that I won’t have much to clean up when we leave”. Oh to be a man!!

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On Wednesday morning two of my best friends met us in Byron – we visited the very coveted Killen Falls, ate at The Farm and Top Shop and then topped it off with a long walk and extremely cold swim at Tallow Beach.

Ah, Summer, I don’t know if you know this but you’re my favourite.

On Thursday we booked in a tour and then spent the afternoon at the beach and then found delicious Mexican and Happy Hour. We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t discover Mexican. YUM!!!

Even though I have been to Byron Bay a million times, each time I return things are completely different – that’s what is so great about transient towns. The last time I was here was August 2015 and in that time there has been an influx of new places to eat and things to do! It’s like I was visiting an entire new place. I jumped on TripAdvisor ahead of coming to research some of the new places so I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I reallllly didn’t want to go somewhere and either get 1) food envy 2) be disappointed!

Here are my tips for visiting Byron Bay for roughly three / four days over Summer. You could definitely stretch this all out for a longer period of time too. If you have any other suggestions, don’t be shy!

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WHERE TO EAT

Bayleaf (87/8 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481): The coffee is really good and so was my granola – it was packed with fresh fruit!! Their sour dough toast on the other hand is dental wire breaking stuff – so if you want to keep your wires in tack, I suggest skipping the toast. JD broke his wire on the back of his teeth!! I found this place the morning after we arrived I hoped on TripAdvisor and read through suggestions – good coffee suggestions are worth their weight in gold. I think it had something like 246 positive reviews so I was sold – ha!! It’s seriously the best way to make sure you’re not missing out on the best places. This was super helpful in New York and LA as well.

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Top Shop (65 Carlyle St, Byron Bay NSW 2481): Super delicious burgers, fresh juices and smoothies. We all ate burgers at 4pm, so if you’re looking for a really decent feed, head there because nothing beats somewhere that keeps their kitchen open past 2:30pm! I found Top Shop on Tripadvisor based on the fact it was open late and the photos made it look so relaxed and laid back. We literally were sitting there post swim and it was an awesome atmosphere.

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Leaf & Grain (6/85-87 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481): Bayleafs younger sister – really good coffee and chia puddings. My mum actually sent this one through on Instagram the morning we went there!

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The Farm ( 92 Woodford Ln, Ewingsdale NSW 2481): The Farm is absolutely beautiful. The presentation of their food is of course, cookbook worthy. Whoever owns The Farm is sitting on a goldmine and has hit the idea out of the park – I think it suits Byron perfectly. It’s also great for people passing through Byron Bay as it’s super close to the freeway.

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Folk (1/399 Ewingsdale Rd, Byron Bay NSW 2481): The prettiest chai latte you will ever come across – organic and ethical.

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Miss Margarita (2 Jonson Street Byron Bay NSW 2481): Delicious and well priced. I recommend the Snapper and Chilli Squid Tacos!

Combi (Shop 5b, 21/25 Fletcher St, Byron Bay, NSW 2481): Combi was right across from where we stayed in Byron. We stayed right in town as it was very last minute and we wanted to be able to walk everywhere (and then proceed to die from heat exhaustion every time we did). I first went to the one in Melbourne – if you love organic, raw and gluten free eats and drinks then definitely check this one out. The line was out the door on Friday!!

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WOODS (Art Precinct – 10 Station Street, Bangalow NSW 2479): Pretty, nourishing food and delicious chai!! It was super busy – see pic above!

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WHAT TO DO

Killen Falls: It’s about a half hour drive west from Byron. It’s accessible, but I recommend NOT wearing Fluffy Puma slides as your footwear of choice. I repeat, do not wear fluffy slides. The falls are about a 10 minute walk from where you can park your car. The rocks are a bit tricky to navigate in parts, it’s not wheelchair accessible – just FYI. The falls themselves are beautiful. We were all super apprehensive to swim, but we eventually did. Be careful with the moss covered rocks – if you’re as uncoordinated as me, you will find yourself falling over not so gracefully. We looked up Killen Falls and Minyon Falls on TripAdvisor App the morning of, but decided that Killen Falls was closer (we didn’t want to spend all day in the car) and Minyon Falls is actually experiencing a dry spell so the decision was literally taken out of our hands!

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Tallow Beach: We went here because it’s protected from the North Easterly winds. It’s right near the headland that the lighthouse is on.

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The Pass: If you want to learn to surf – the inside waves at The Pass are probably the best you will find anywhere, but they are also the most crowded! There are lots of really good surfers there!

The Cape Byron Walk: We cheated and drove up to the lighthouse and walked the last 200m. It was hot and I wanted to fit other things in. The 3.7km loop takes about 2 hours and I have done it before, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I highly recommend doing this track as you get to see rainforest, clifftops with stunning views of the ocean and hinterland all at once. The loop walk can be started at numerous points, including Captain Cook lookout, The Pass, Wategos Beach and Cape Byron Lighthouse. To get there follow Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) from Byron Bay town centre and look for the signs

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Bangalow: We drove here on the day of our tour. Even though I had been there several times, I learned some new things about the area. It was established in the 1880s and was predominantly a timber town! I had to take notes as there is no way I would’ve remembered that. I can’t even remember my last name if I don’t have my license on me. I think it begins with an H and I think there’s a W in there somewhere.

Our tour guide showed us an entire new area of Bangalow that I had never seen before It was the Art Precinct of Bangalow which I didn’t realise existed! There was homeware stores, amazing coffee shops and designer clothes. I would never have known it was there if it wasn’t for him!

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Mullumbimby: We drove through here on the way to Brunswick Head. That is all I have for you!
Tours: I would highly recommend booking a tour for Byron Bay. We booked this tour – We basically were chauffeured around in a forward drive for a couple of hours. He tailored it to us and we got to go to the Farmers Market, Bangalow, Byron Light House. We booked ours through the TripAdvisor website, which I didn’t realise you could do until last week! So easy. If you’re interested in doing a the one we did you can book it in here. We didn’t do the full 6 hours as we were able to do everything we wanted to do within 4, so talk to your tour guide and see where you should go. They can do tours of two people and up. There is also the option to do a full bus tour with them, it just depends on how many other people have booked that day and what you are after. For us, we much prefer an intimate tour – one on one is better!

Brunswick Head: The perfect place to visit for a picnic and lazy afternoon. We had a picnic with our tour guide to finish off our tour – super chilled. Our guide was amazing. He was originally from Berlin and we got along really well with him!

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Have you been to Byron Bay before? Let me know your favourite places in the comment section below! I know that there is so many things to do in Byron, so if your suggestions are different to mine, let me and my community here know!

*Collaboration with TripAdvisor. All opinions are my own. We only work with brands that share our ethics and aesthetic.

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Author: Ally Hayward

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayHayward

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