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Byron Bay - Climate, Weather and Clothing Tips for Tourists

Updated on April 28, 2015
Pack your bathers. You'll be spending time in the sunshine at Byron Bay!
Pack your bathers. You'll be spending time in the sunshine at Byron Bay! | Source

I first visited Byron Bay with my surfer friends in the 1970s, then bought a home and moved here in the 1990s. If you plan to visit Australia's most eastern point as a tourist, get ready for an experience that's very special.

You'll love the climate, be surprised by the weather, and kick yourself if bring a heavy bag packed with the wrong clothing.

Here's some tips to help you prepare for your trip.


Why Surfers Travel to Byron Bay

Byron Bay's lifestyle is all about the climate

Byron Bay is situated on the most eastern tip of Australia in the state of New South Wales, just beneath the Queensland border.

Byron Bay's climate is subtropical, which explains all the palm trees and beautiful rainforest vegetation you'll discover in parks and gardens throughout the Shire.

Our fabulous climate encourages an outdoor lifestyle all year round. It rains when the weather is hot and humid , offering a welcome shower, and the cooler months are warm and dry so there is little risk of getting wet and cold.

Yes, locals may wear long sleeves on days we consider particularly chilly - but if you come from a colder climate you'll undoubtedly be at the beach in your board-shorts or bikini, along with many other tourists.


Summer in Byron Bay

Summer begins in January and is our rainy and hot season. By late summer most of us are eager for a cooler change and drop in temperature.

  • The heat and humidity peak in February.
  • The humidity drops by the end of March.

Visitors to Byron Bay are always eager to spend as many hours outdoors as possible. Most arrive with a desire to get sun-bronzed but fail to appreciate the danger of severe sunburn.

All those sun-bronzed locals you spot at Byron Bay have developed their tans over many seasons. They've burned and peeled, and many Aussies have had melanomas (skin cancer) removed as a result of our lifestyle.


Byron Bay's climate supports rainforest trees.
Byron Bay's climate supports rainforest trees. | Source

What does it feel like to be sunburnt?

I feel sorry for residents of colder climates who come to Byron Bay and experience sunburn for the first time. Severe sunburn can spoil an otherwise lovely, carefree holiday.

Spare yourself the trauma of a bad burn.

Here's what to expect if you fry yourself in the sun.

  • You'll be red like a lobster before you actually feel the sunburn.
  • Your friends will know you're sunburned before you will.
  • You probably think your skin just feels hot because you are in the sun, but assume your skin will not retain the heat once you step into the shade.

Later ...

  • As the sun goes down, you feel like a radiator is turned on beneath your skin.
  • It hurts to lean against a chair, or lie on a bed.
  • If a friend pats you on the back, it hurts.
  • Wearing clothes (even just a t-shirt) can irritate your skin beyond tolerance.
  • Sand on your skin feels like sandpaper.

Then ...

  • Your skin is red and hot.
  • It may blister and pop.
  • Even if you don't develop burn blisters, your skin will peel.
  • Peeling skin can come off in big patches.
  • Some parts peel easily. Others really hurt and leave red, sore marks at the edges.

Sadly ...

  • Despite your best efforts to save your skin and salvage your tan, at least some parts of your skin will peel within days.
  • You'll wake up one morning and find bits of your skin have rubbed off on the sheets.


Most visitors to Byron Bay have a suntan by the time they leave.
Most visitors to Byron Bay have a suntan by the time they leave. | Source

How to Avoid Sunburn

Do what your mother should have taught you when you were very young.

  • Put on a hat (to protect your nose from sunburn, and the back of your neck so you don't get sunstroke.)

  • Wear a shirt in the water, particularly if you are learning to surf. Not only do you get the sun hitting you from above, but the sun reflects off the water as you're sitting on the board and gives your skin another hammering.

  • The shirts surfers wear are called 'rash shirts'. Why? Because without one, you'll get a rash from your surfboard and wax. You can buy rashies all over Byron Bay, but if you don't have one just wear a t-shirt in the water.

    Don't worry about looking uncool in your shirt. Locals respect visitors smart enough to avoid sunburn. You can show off your tan once you've had time to develop one. Only expose yourself to the sun in the early mornings and the late afternoons - not the hottest part of the day.

  • Use a sunscreen lotion. If you are not sure of the best type for your skin, ask the staff in the chemist/pharmacy.


What to do if you get Sunburnt

  1. Get out of the sun. As soon as you suspect you might be a little sunburned, head for cover.

  2. Stay out of the sun. You don't want to sunburn your sunburn. That only makes a bad situation worse.

  3. Have a warm shower. It will wash the salt from your skin if you've been in the surf ... plus helps draw some of the heat from your body.

  4. Apply lotion to soothe and rehydrate your skin. In my experience, lotions with aloe vera work best. They are quickly absorbed and can be repeatedly applied without the greasiness of many other skin products. Vaseline Intensive Care lotion (in the green bottle with aloe vera) is helpful - without being too expensive.

    Don't wait until the middle of the night to start looking for a soothing cream of lotion. Head for Woolworths in Johnson Street or one of the pharmacies. We have a chemist/pharmacy near the round-about entry to the town (also in Johnson Street) that stays open until quite late most evenings. Get there as fast as you can. :)

  5. Drink lots of water ... before, during, and after your sunburn. (No, beer is not water.)

When in Bryon Bay, do what the locals do.

Bare feet or dreadlocks, makes no difference. A hat goes with everything in Byron Bay. :)
Bare feet or dreadlocks, makes no difference. A hat goes with everything in Byron Bay. :) | Source

Byron Bay's Winter

Winter formally begins in June,

We celebrate the fine days and blue skies of winter (and spring), confident the days will be warm and sunny - and generally uninterrupted by rain.

Temperatures remain around 20 degrees Celsius with a relatively low humidity so winter is an ideal time to visit from the Northern Hemisphere or the colder southern states of Australia.

You can still wear your summer gear and play in the sun in winter in Byron, although the evenings are obviously a little cooler.


Byron Bay still has beautiful natural landscapes to enjoy. Ours is not a beach lined with tall apartment buildings! No matter the season, there's always people on the beach.
Byron Bay still has beautiful natural landscapes to enjoy. Ours is not a beach lined with tall apartment buildings! No matter the season, there's always people on the beach. | Source

Is visiting Byron Bay on your bucket list?

Perhaps Byron Bay is not as well known as locals like to think. Have you heard of Byron?

See results

Be the First in Australia to See the Sun Rise

If you have a competitive nature and like to be first, Byron Bay offers you a special opportunity.

On a moonlit night (or with a torch in your hand) get yourself in position to watch the sunrise.

Cape Byron lighthouse sits on the most eastern point of Australia's mainland, so as long as you are paying attention as the sun rises, you can be the first on mainland Australia to see it on any given day.

Factor in the time difference if you live overseas and you can impress your friends with a text message that says "I am watching the sun rise on (date) in Australia right now" ... when it is still yesterday, your home time!


Byron Bay

A markerByron Bay lighthouse -
Cape Byron Lighthouse, Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia
get directions

The most eastern point of Australia. Byron Bay's lighthouse, beaches and town are popular tourist destinations.

Essential Clothing for Byron Bay

Here's the clothes you need for your holiday in Byron Bay.

  • Your swimmers, bathers, togs ... whatever you call what you wear in the surf.
  • Comfortable shorts.
  • 2 shirts (in case you spill chilli sauce on one just before you want to go out.) At least one should be a t-shirt, capable of wearing to the beach and into the water when the sun is so hot it will burn you.
  • 1 outfit to impress your peers if they all decide to dress up.
  • A hat. Expect to wear it everywhere during the day.


What do Byron Bay locals wear?

A typical morning at the Byron Bay farmer's market where locals flock to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
A typical morning at the Byron Bay farmer's market where locals flock to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. | Source

Okay, that's it. That's all you need to pack for a holiday in Byron Bay. You'll probably buy a few more items at one of the clothing stores or the second-hand stores, depending on your budget, but when your gear gets dirty you can simply wash it.

The climate in Byron Bay allows wet clothes to dry very quickly. Plus the relaxed lifestyle lets you wear your wet clothes while they dry, if you need.


What do Backpackers Wear at Byron Bay?

Every day, buses collect bunches of young tourists from Byron Bay and drop off more new arrivals. Here's what backpackers wear ...
Every day, buses collect bunches of young tourists from Byron Bay and drop off more new arrivals. Here's what backpackers wear ... | Source

How big does your bag need to be?

With backpacks this big, I hope these girls have been around the world, collected a myriad of souvenirs, and are on the last leg of their journey. For a simple trip to Byron Bay, you never need this much luggage.
With backpacks this big, I hope these girls have been around the world, collected a myriad of souvenirs, and are on the last leg of their journey. For a simple trip to Byron Bay, you never need this much luggage. | Source

Travel Light to Byron Bay

Some tourists choose to arrive with only the clothes they are wearing, and purchase everything they need locally.

Others bring only their most comfortable clothes from home and wear them for their entire stay.

However you approach it, Byron Bay is a destination where you can travel light.

Don't pack more than you'll need. If you are carrying a backpack, don't make it heavier than necessary.


Welcome to Byron Bay

Wear what you want. Throughout Byron Shire, you'll see all kinds of fashions (and non-fashions) at our beaches.
Wear what you want. Throughout Byron Shire, you'll see all kinds of fashions (and non-fashions) at our beaches. | Source

© 2014 Alex Finn

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    • elle64 profile image

      elle64 3 years ago from Scandinavia

      I have been there a few times I love Byron Bay-I hope to see the place one day again.

    • Baby-Boomer-58 profile image
      Author

      Alex Finn 3 years ago

      Hi Elle. See you at the beach some day!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good hub about Byron, Baby-Boomer. I have never Ben there yet unfortunately. Being a Queenslander I spent a lot of my weekends at Noosa Heads or Bribie Island, but have been considering doing a NSW trip in the not to distant future, so we will see. Voted up.

    • Baby-Boomer-58 profile image
      Author

      Alex Finn 3 years ago

      Thanks, Jodah. I had better write more hubs so you know what to expect!

      Perhaps it is time I made another trip over the border. Been a while since I've been north of Brisbane. lol.

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