Byron Bay Locals Guide

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Ever dreamed of living at a holiday destination 365 days a year? Well, luckily for these Byron Bay locals, that’s their reality. And luckily for us, we just opened a beachside store there!

We think the relaxed atmosphere and unique culture of Byron is the perfect place for a Bailey Nelson store, and we’re so excited to bring our handcrafted eye wear to a location full of like-minded individuals. So, get an insiders knowledge of the picturesque town, according to a handful of fun, innovative and lovely locals.

Nat and Dan

Nat and Dan are the founders of not-for-profit organisation Clean Coast Collective. They take groups of creative and passionate people on expeditions to remote Australia to do massive week-long clean ups – their recent Cape York clean up helped removed 7 tonnes of plastic and pollution from a single 6.7km beach. To help fund these expeditions, they sell a range of plastic-free lifestyle products which help you live a low-impact lifestyle, without sacrificing style. When they’re not cleaning beaches, you'll find them working from their coworking studio in Byron Bay (The Corner Palm) which they own with Nat's brother Sean. In their ‘real' jobs, Nat works remotely in Marketing and Communications, and Dan does freelance Accounting.

What's the best thing about living in Byron Bay? 

Besides the coastal lifestyle and being surrounded by incredible natural landscapes, the Byron Bay community is so special. It's a really welcoming and supportive community, where everyone is following their passions and creating their dream jobs.

What does an average weekend look like for you?

We do a lot of travel on the weekends for Clean Coast Collective, so when we're in Byron for the weekend we like to really chill out. Mornings will usually start with a morning surf or a lazy morning at home cooking breakfast and drinking coffee. In the afternoons you'll probably find us out surfing again, or having a sunset picnic with friends on the headland at Broken Head.

Best place to get a coffee?

Folk is a super relaxed cafe just outside of town – grab a table under the trees outside and enjoy their retro soundtrack. Our other favourite coffee spot just around the corner from Bailey Nelson – Combi Cafe, where you can get a shot of espresso served in a fresh drinking coconut! 

Best place to get a drink? 

The Rails is a great place for relaxed drinks with mates, or head into the Stone & Wood Brewery to sample a tasting plate of all their beers.

Best hidden gem?

Taste of Melaka on Fletcher St is our new favourite dinner spot – incredible Malaysian food and super affordable. It's a tiny restaurant so get in early to get a table.

Elodie 

Elodie is a freelance architect working for a sustainable design and construction company, Balanced Earth. Outside of work she plays in the bands, Candy Lucid Dream and Galaxy Girls. She lives out in Possum Creek with four friends and is planning on heading to Europe next year to suss out her French roots.  

 

What's the best thing about living in Byron Bay? 

The people and the sunshine.

What does an average weekend look like for you?

An ultimate weekend includes playing music, surfing, cruising and creating with friends.

Best place to get a coffee?

My house, or if I'm in need of an adventure, Doma Cafe in Federal is a damn good time.

Best place to get a drink? 

Bit of a tricky one in this town. The Roady when it was open, but for the time being the Treehouse's old fashioned's are pretty tasty.

Best hidden gem?

It wouldn't be hidden if I told you…! there are some epic waterholes to find in the hinterland and a few of my favourite beaches on the outskirts of Byron.

Vanessa and Stefan 

Vanessa is the founder and director of Groove Therapy, a no mirrors, dim lights hip hop class for the kind of people who are scared of dance class. When she’s not running her baby empire across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Byron Bay, she’s dancing in her bedroom whilst singing into her hairbrush.

 

What's the best thing about living in Byron Bay? 

The eco-culture here is amazing. People care about the environment and they make it accessible for a city rat like me to take on simple new habits. I find myself using keep cups and saying no to straws without being preached to. I like that. 

What does an average weekend look like for you?

If I’m not flying to Sydney or Melbs for a few gigs, I’m working with plenty of breaks at the beach. Yep, we work weekends, but it’s for our passion projects so it’s worth it. For me it’s about staying on top of my baby company Groove Therapy. It’s a good time, I’m not complaining.

Best place to get a coffee?

Bay Leaf and Leaf and Grain. The baristas there are massive coffee nerds and it shows. One of them will always subtly judge my basic cappuccino order by making mini alternative tasters. I’m too stubborn though because I enjoy chocolate sprinkles too much. Also, Bay Leaf is the best breakfast in Byron Bay. No contest.


Best place to get a drink? 

St Elmo's. I go there and drop that $$ on wine, cheese and dessert at least once a week because it reminds me of being in the city when I miss that cosmopolitan vibe. 

Best hidden gem?

The house I’m living in. Honestly we’re out in the bush where all we hear are the gorgeous birds chirping, yet at the same time we’re five minutes out of Byron centre. The place is lush! We’re not sure how we got so lucky, but we are loving it here.

Stefan Hunt is a filmmaker and artist who decided to turn down all corporate gigs in 2017 and put all his heart (savings) into his passion project, We’re All Going To Die Festival, presented by COMMUNE. The festival wants to encourage people to 'Fear less. Live more, because we’re all going to die anyway, right?’

What's the best thing about living in Byron Bay? 

Well, I can’t go past the surf. It’s not uncommon to see humpback whales putting on epic shows and pods of dolphins who love surfing the waves with us. You can love surfing anywhere but it’s a little bit extra bueno in Byron. I’m in denial about the sharks.

What does an average weekend look like for you?

I’m working a lot these days on a festival that I’m curating called ‘We’re All Going To Die’, which asks young people to ‘Fear less. Live more’. It’s a huge volume of work, but also emotionally draining. Vanessa’s great at assessing whether I’m looking a bit crossed eyed and will tell me to go jump in the ocean and take mini-weekend breaks. She’s good like that. 

Best place to get a coffee?

I like to work from Bangalow right next to The Woods Cafe and the staff there are frothers. They’ll bring a coffee over personally to my desk and check up on everything. It’s such a Byron thing to know your neighbours and look out for each other.

Best place to get a drink? 

Give Ness the option and she’ll yell St Elmo before marching everyone there, but I’ll have to go with Billinudgel Pub. It’s one of the few Aussie pubs that hasn’t had a renovation, and I like that. Down to earth, true blue and great for people-watching.

Best hidden gem?

I’ll never be accepted by the locals if I share hidden gems, so I’ll continue to advocate for tourists heading to The Beachy on the main strip.

Sheryl 

Last, but certainly not least, we asked Sheryl—manager and resident eyewear expert at our Byron Bay store—for her hot tips on the area. 

What's the best thing about living in Byron Bay? 

The lifestyle in Byron is so different in terms of health and wellbeing, there’s also a strong sense of community.

What does an average weekend look like for you?

After work I would spend my time with friends and family on the beach, riding through the coastal tracks, listening to music and enjoying some good food.

Best place to get a coffee?

I love Twisted Sista across the road from us, they have been here forever and they also make amazing cakes.

Best place to get a drink? 

The Beach Hotel has great views, but you can't go past the Railway Friendly Bar for good music and relaxed atmosphere.


Best hidden gem? 

Whites Beach is a haven off the beaten track and a few kilometres walk in from a hidden dirt road. I can't tell you exactly where it is though as it’s a secret!

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