A Backpacker’s Guide to Byron Bay Camping
For those travelling Australia, backpacking in Byron Bay is a rite-of-passage. Famous for its laid-back beach vibe and its culture clash atmosphere, in Byron Bay you’ll find surfers, backpackers, families, retirees, and business people all rubbing shoulders and enjoying the Byron Bay way of life together.
However, while the town oozes a relaxed hippie vibe, unfortunately, the prices don’t reflect this. Visiting Byron Bay is expensive!
To save money on your trip and to experience the town true Aussie-style, we recommend camping instead of splashing the cash on expensive accommodation.
We’re here to help. Here’s our guide to Byron Bay camping so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.
About Byron Bay
Found on Australia’s popular East Coast, Byron Bay is a small coastal town loved by visitors and locals alike. On a typical itinerary of the East Coast, Byron Bay is one of the top spots that travellers visit, and there’s a good reason why.
There’s a lot packed into the small town, so there’s plenty to keep anyone occupied, no matter what their interests are. There’s vibrant nightlife, cosy restaurants and cafes, a diversity of alternative therapies, fantastic shopping, and of course, stunning beaches. There’s also plenty of adventure activities to do too, but we’ll get to that later.
A magical vibe surrounds Byron Bay, which is why both overseas tourists and Aussies return to visit again and again.
How Much Does Backpacking Byron Bay Cost?
As Byron Bay is so popular, unfortunately, that means prices are high – it’s not cheap!
However, Byron Bay is still a hub for nomads and travellers living out of a van, a car, or a tent. So, if you’re happy to embrace the back-to-basics hippie lifestyle, then you won’t need to spend too much money to experience the Byron Bay way of life.
If you’re a traveller who’s content with camping with the bare necessities, then you’ll love spending your time in Byron soaking up the sunshine on one of the many sublime beaches, plucking your guitar, and people-watching in the town.
Want to save money? You’ll need to reduce your visits to hipster-style cafes and will need to opt for a communal campsite instead of a fancy air BNB stay. When it comes to food, stick to supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles and try to do as much cooking at the campsite. Not only is it cheaper, but something is liberating about cooking dinner at a campsite, surrounded by like-minded people.
Some might opt for campsite accommodation and (mainly) cooking food from the supermarket, if you do you’ll be able to cover your daily food and accommodation for around $50 AUD. The fun extras on top, such as booze and the various activities around Byron Bay can push your budget up to around $80-$100 AUD.
Luckily, you’re not short of accommodation options when it comes to campsites and caravan parks. And while these camping spots may be more expensive than you’re used to paying, remember – you’re paying a premium for the location.
Holiday Parks in Byron Bay
As mentioned, if you’re looking for cheap accommodation Byron Bay, then camping is your answer! Plus, who needs a fancy five-star resort when you can watch millions of stars from your tent?
Camping in Australia is a must-do, and somewhere as beautiful and exciting as Byron Bay is the best place to do it. Just make sure you invest in a quality tent and camping gear such including a decent stove, so you can embrace the camping experience. Plus, you never know when it might rain – and you certainly don’t want a leaky tent!
There are plenty of campsites in Byron Bay with most of them costing around AUD 20 a night. While they aren’t the cheapest campsite fees, you’re still saving a ton of money than if you were staying in a hotel or even a hostel.
And remember, Byron camping can get very busy especially during Christmas and the school holidays, so always try to plan, especially if you’re thinking of travelling to Byron Bay during these peak periods. Nobody wants to be stuck without a spot for the night!
Here are some of our favourites holiday parks in and around Byron Bay.
The Arts Factory
While The Arts Factory isn’t the cleanest or most modern of campsites, that’s all part of the charm. The Arts Factory has been around for years and years and can be found nestled among the subtropical rain forest.
The Arts Factory isn’t just a campsite and offers heaps of other accommodation options such as van parking and staying in the hostel. The atmosphere of the place is what makes it so special – you’ll be surrounded by like-minded travellers staying on the outskirts of Byron rather than living in a campsite without much character.
Many of the other holiday parks are more geared towards the typical tourist rather than the backpacker, so at The Arts Factory, you’re bound to meet more of your kind.
Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park
If you’d rather camp by the beach (we certainly don’t blame you) then the Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park is a great shout.
Pitch a tent or stay in a camper-van or caravan to set up camp right next to one of Byron Bay’s dreamy beaches. Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park offers regular specials for powered sites especially, so be sure to check the website or make a query over the phone when booking. You never know, you may grab yourself a bargain!
Free Camping in Byron Bay
Experienced camper? you may be used to camping in free spots. So, spending around AUD 20 on a campsite may seem a bit dear!
Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the town, Byron Bay is particularly difficult to find free spots to camp in.
Even if you just find a random spot to pitch in or sleep in your car on a side road, you’ll likely face a fine for illegal camping by a ranger. As you can imagine, these can be quite hefty, so it simply isn’t worth the risk.
If you’re willing to drive slightly outside the town, then there are some nice rest areas you can set up camp in. However, you should always research the rest area beforehand to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules otherwise again you may risk receiving a fine.
The rest areas around Byron Bay also only offer basic facilities, so don’t expect much more than a toilet! Many of the nearby beaches offer showers, so you may be able to have a rinse there.
Remember to avoid driving in the dark to your campsite, so you can avoid hitting any of the adorable native animals that are attracted to the bright lights of your vehicle during the night.
Here is what we can recommend.
Yelgun Rest Area
The Yelgun Rest Area is a free camping spot located about 25km North of Byron Bay, around a 25-minute drive from the town. You won’t need to worry about any fines, plus, its conveniently located next to the stunning South Golden Beach.
As its one of the only free campsites surrounding Byron Bay, it gets very busy so make sure to arrive early.
What to Do in Byron Bay
Now here’s the fun part – planning what you’ll do in Byron Bay! To make the most of your time in Byron Bay, you’ll want to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery and soak up the hippie vibes of the area.
For beach lovers, there are many gorgeous beaches to chill out on, catch a few rays, work on your tan, and swim from.
There are also plenty of water sports activities to dip your toes in, such as scuba diving, surfing, and hang gliding to name a few.
Julian Rocks off the coast of Byron is a famous snorkelling spot in Australia. Expect to spot sea turtles, fish, rays, and even sharks! Don’t worry – they aren’t a species that will try to gobble you up.
The bay is also an excellent spot to watch whales on their northern and southern migrations, and dolphins can be spotted all year round.
And did you know that Cape Byron is the most easterly point of Australia? And that the sun rises in the East?
That makes a sunrise visit to the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse top of the list for any traveller. Prepare to take plenty of snaps!
Need a break from the ocean? Alternatively, the surrounding lush rain forest makes for a great spot to hike and explore.
For the party animals out there, Byron Bay’s nightlife is kicking, and you can head out every night of the week at one of the many pubs, bars, or nightclubs. The town is also host to a variety of fun festivals that are internationally known, such as Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, and the Byron Bay International Film Festival.
Ready for Byron Bay Camping?
If you’re in the process of planning your Byron Bay camping trip, you may need some advice, especially if you’re new to camping outdoors. After all, it can all be a bit overwhelming and you don’t want to forget anything important before a big camping trip!
We’re here to help. Here are the top ten camping tents and supplies you need for your next camping trip. Happy travels and enjoy Byron Bay!