With nearly two million people dropping by each year, the sleepy beachside country town of Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most visited tourist destinations.
With it’s laid back culture, stunning beaches and abundance of fresh, local food, it’s not hard to see why.
Since moving to the Gold Coast last year, I’ve visited Byron at least half a dozen times for day trips and weekend getaways and I discover something new every time.
So I’ve put together a list of my favourite vegan eateries and ethical fashion boutiques in Byron.
Folk Byron & Woods Bangalow
The sister cafes have nailed sustainably sourced, vegan and vegetarian food. The menu is small but mighty offering fresh, healthy meals for breakfast and lunch. Folk is in Byron and Woods is 10 minutes down the road in Bangalow. Both locations are very picturesque and the meals are served in adorable wooden bowls beautifully crafted ceramic plates, making them very Insta worthy if you like to take photos of your food. I’ve eaten at both cafes many times and the people who work there are unfailingly warm and friendly.
Hands down the best breakfast in Byron. Combi is exclusively vegan so the whole menu is yours for the trying. Start with dessert for breakfast and order the pancakes with coconut ice-cream. Or for something savoury, you can’t beat the smashed avocado on sourdough. If you still have room, you need to try one of their incredible raw desserts. The vegan doughnuts are mouth wateringly good. They also make fantastic coffee, offering variety of vegan milks. It’s always busy here so get in early, before 7am or be prepared to wait to for a table.
Santos are an organic and biodynamic health food store with a cafe out the front. Located right in the heart of town, it’s the perfect spot to have a light meal or a coffee and raw dessert. The store has a zero waste bulk foods section and a huge rage of organic fresh produce and cupboard staples so you can stock up on groceries while you’re there.
Three Blue Ducks at The Farm
The Farm is tucked away on the left at the start of Ewingsdale Road. While not strictly vego, (it is a farm after all) the onsite restaurant Three Blue Ducks have some wonderful vegan and vegetarian options on the menu. The produce is grown in the fields less than 100 meters from the kitchen and supplemented with breads from the onsite bakery and other local foods. The menu changes with seasons so there’s always something new to try. The atmosphere is always lively here and you’ll often find a friendly rooster the resident water dragon wandering around the outside tables near your feet. Once you’re done stuffing yourself, take a wander around the farm to see the animals then have a kip under the shade of the macadamia trees.
The Cardamom Pod
The Cardamom Pod is a tiny hole in the wall style vegan and vegetarian eatery conveniently located near the centre of town. They serve Indian style meals, like their very dahl and samosas which are fresh, filling and cheap. If you’re not into curries, they offer a range of colourful salads and yummy raw desserts.
Spell & The Gypsy
I may be biased because my wardrobe is full of Spell pieces, but this iconic Byron fashion brand is a must visit. They create wearable boho style clothing in gorgeous prints which need to be seen in person to truly appreciate. The Spell Boutique is on the edge of town and if you visit on the weekend they often have live music, coffee carts and something fun happening.
Yoli & Otis
Yoli and Otis are housed in a stunning, bright airy store located in a small estate just before you hit Byron’s town centre. They make the most beautiful natural dyed cotton and linen pieces for women and kids. Their whole range is organic and so well made, the clothes should last you half a lifetime. I’ve had my linen skirt for over a year now and it’s still like new.
Arnhem have come a long way in just the past year, creating entire collections made from organic cotton and recycled plastic. Made for the modern bohemian, you can’t go past one of their beautiful kimonos or an embroidered swimsuit made from Econyl.
Rowie The Label
Rowie has store in both Byron Bay and Bangalow, so when you’re done with coffee at Woods, you can go shopping! I like Rowie for it’s easy to wear styles in natural colours. I never iron my Rowie pieces, they always look good as is. making them perfect for holidays. The girls who work in the stores are always friendly and love to have a chat, which makes for a really nice shopping experience.
Sea Bones is a gorgeous surf store, tucked in a side street just off from Byron’s main shopping road. The store is based around surf culture and it’s packed full of awesome ethical brands making it the perfect place to find a swimsuit, straw bag or natural sunscreen. Co-owner Danielle also has an ethical surf label Salt Gyspy which you can find in store. Make sure you pat the dog on your way out!
Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability educator. She started The Green Hub in 2015 and has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education platforms dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable life, talking about the big environmental issues like climate change, plastic pollution, and fast fashion – showing people how they can have an impact through their own small daily actions and how to be part of the bigger environmental movement.