On the border of New South Wales and Queensland, Byron Bay is perfectly positioned for exploring Australia’s East Coast, with golden sands, mountainous hinterlands, and lively coastal towns all within easy reach. Here are some of the best day trips from Byron Bay.
Byron Bay Hinterlands — 16 miles (25 km) west
The Byron Bay Hinterlands make a popular choice for day tours, and there are three UNESCO World Heritage–listed national parks less than an hour’s drive from the city. Take in the natural wonders of Nightcap National Park with a rainforest walk to Minyon Falls, trek to the top of Mount Warning—the region’s highest peak—in Wollumbin National Park (formerly known as Mount Warning National Park), or venture off the beaten track on a 4WD tour of Border Ranges National Park.
Bangalow — 9 miles (15 km) southwest
Just a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay, the hinterland town of Bangalow is famous for its art galleries, laid-back atmosphere, and busy arts and crafts market, one of the best in the region. Combine a trip with a tour of the Crystal Castle in Byron Bay, a stop at the Koala Centre in Lismore, or a visit to the Cape Byron Lighthouse—the most easterly point on Australia’s mainland.
Nimbin — 40 miles (65 km) west
The little hippie town of Nimbin draws travelers far and wide looking to delve into the world of alternative living. After holding the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin back in the 1970s, many of those individuals stayed in the town, producing the colorful and laid-back vibe it exudes today.
Gold Coast — 58 miles (93 km) north
Just an hour’s drive north of Byron Bay, the Gold Coast is Queensland’s most iconic beach destination, home to resorts such as Broadbeach, Miami Beach, and Surfer’s Paradise. Theme parks include Sea World Gold Coast and Warner Bros. Movie World, and there are ample opportunities for surfing, sea kayaking, whale-watching cruises, and water sports.
Brisbane — 103 miles (166 km) southwest
Heading just another 45 minutes north past the Gold Coast, Brisbane—Queensland’s state capital—offers great dining, shopping, museums, and plenty of attractions to keep day-trippers occupied. Stroll around Southbank, visit the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art or the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, or hit the shops at Fortitude Valley or the Queen Street Mall.