On our 3-day trip to the holiday town of Byron Bay, it rained nearly the entire time.
It would have been great to spend at least some time relaxing on the beach, but that didn’t end up happening. Every single day was forecast rain, and while we saw a few patches of clear sky here and there, they were unfortunately not long-lasting.
Byron Bay’s postcard photos always show it with clear blue skies and perfect weather for setting up a towel on the sand beside the ocean, but it’s actually not unusual for the area to get rain. The northern tip of the NSW coast is actually one of the wettest parts of Australia! Cape Byron sees around 1700mm of rainfall annually, with the wettest months from February to May.
As a result, the timing of my February road trip from Sydney to Byron combined with the recent onset of La Niña meant my time in northern NSW was frequented by drizzles, showers, and downpours. I had to be inventive and find activities that were not beach-relevant to fill my days. This post will list all my discoveries for the best things to do around Byron Bay on a rainy day.
I would also like to preempt this post with a statement: I believe that a bit of rain should not stop you from doing all outdoor activities. Some activities that involve being outside are even better in the rain! This list will include some of those as well as some things to do indoors to escape any particularly stormy weather.
Where to stay in Byron Bay Hinterland:
We stayed in an Airbnb in the Byron Bay Hinterland near the town of Bangalow, which was actually perfect considering the rainy weather. The modern studio cottage was set in the middle of a macadamia farm and was absolutely gorgeous. I spent every single morning drinking tea on the covered balcony (yes, while it was raining!), watching the birds in the trees and the clouds passing over the hills. It was pure bliss!
Byron Bay area rainy day activities:
Head into Bangalow for coffee
This tiny town is known as a place where Byron locals go for brunch or a day out in the Hinterland. We actually stopped in at Bangalow for coffee on two different occasions. One time we visited Butcher Baker which had a trendy indoor cafe area on the main street, and another time we walked down the road to Woods Bangalow which had a covered outdoor seating area hidden out the back.
There are also some very cute boutique stores in Bangalow that sell clothing, homewares, and gifts. If you’ve got time to kill while it’s wet out, I’d suggest wandering down the main street and peeking inside a few shops. You never know what treasures you’ll find.
Visit Minyon Falls Lookout
Minyon Falls sits in the middle of some gorgeous rainforest in the mountains behind Byron Bay. The water flow is more impressive after it’s been raining, so it’s actually a pretty good option for wet days. Take along a rain jacket and some waterproof boots, as I did, and you could even squeeze in a short wander through the rainforest along the creek at the top of the falls.
It was raining fairly heavily when Rob and I arrived at the lookout, but it cleared up a bit after 10 minutes and we had views of some cool misty clouds floating through the valley in front of the falls. I think it looked even better than it would have on a sunny day, to be honest!
Eat lunch in Mullumbimby
Mullumbimby, or just ‘Mullum’ as it’s known to the locals, is a small town north of Byron Bay with a reputation of being a trendy hippie haven. Mullumbimby is a great place to do some shopping at vintage stores or grab a healthy lunch at one of the small eateries scattered around the town centre.
We stopped in at Paséyo cafe for a hearty buddha bowl and green juice, then went into the local Vinnies op-shop for some second-hand goodies (one of my fave activities!). We also wandered through some boutique stores, and if we had more time there I would have stopped in at the pub as it looked like a happening spot to see Mullum locals.
Drink beer at a brewery
Rob and I nearly always stop in at breweries while we’re travelling, and a rainy day is the perfect opportunity to sample some local brews. If you want to make an afternoon of it and not have to worry about driving between locations, you can even book a Byron Bay brewery and distillery tour which includes tastings at three local venues.
Many people will head to the Stone & Wood Brewery while visiting Byron Bay. This is a good option, though it is a busy one as its a popular spot. Rob and I arrived mid-afternoon on a weekday and just managed to get seats outside (most of the seats are covered so you won’t get wet if it rains). I enjoyed the small batch brews on our tasting flight but my favourite is still the classic Stone & Wood Pacific Ale!
And alternative option is Wandana Brewing Co. in Mullumbimby. We stopped in here to wait out a few downpours after having lunch in town and shared one of their tasting flights. I don’t usually choose the more hoppy beers, but I have to say their coconut IPA was absolutely mind-blowing! I’d definitely drink that one again.
Take a dip in Tea Tree Lake
Now the beach is not a fun place to be on a rainy day (wet sand… ergh), but swimming in a lake is not so bad. I mean, you’re going to get wet anyway, right? Why not embrace it.
Lake Ainsworth, otherwise known as Tea Tree Lake, is located just south of Byron Bay at Lennox Head. The lake water is a deep brown colour (like a cup of brewed black tea) which is meant to be great for the skin. It was lightly raining when we visited, but we went for a dip anyway and there were a handful of other groups of people who also ventured into the serene waters for a swim while we were there.
After your lake dip, dry off and head to the nearby Williams St Kitchen & Bar for lunch. I had a falafel bowl, and can confirm that the food at this place is incredibly good!
Swim in the creek at Brunswick Heads
Another non-beach swimming spot that is good for wet days is Simpson Creek at Brunswick Heads. This creek is protected from the ocean so the water is nice and calm, even when the weather isn’t great.
It was raining on and off when we visited this spot, so we tried to time our swim in between downpours. We were unsuccessful though and ended up getting rained on while taking a dip! It didn’t really matter though as we were already wet, and there were at least a dozen other people like us who were floating in the lazy river despite the rain.
Afterwards, head to Bruns Bakery to grab a savoury pie or something sweet (Rob ordered a classic custard tart for dessert!). You can even watch the bakers creating the goods behind a perspex screen as you line up to order your food.