I have spent the beginning months of 2018 travelling around Australia and shooting along the way. Before I take any trip I always search online for places to shoot. One thing I love to look at is Google Maps - it's such a great tool to use when researching what places look like before you go and it gives me a real insight into different potential shoot locations. I've been thinking for a while that I would love there to be a platform for people to go to if they were travelling somewhere and wanted a bit of photoshoot location inspo! So here’s blog post number one - Photoshoot Locations in Byron Bay.
P L A C E S T O V I S I T
C R Y S T A L C A S T L E
First up we have Crystal Castle - a beautiful place to visit if you’re interested in crystals or not. It sits above Byron Bay on a hillside (you can see Byron Bay from the cafe - such a magical view). I know little about crystals and what they mean but definitely came away from this place learning a lot more. There was a quote on one of the boards as you walk around:
'It has been said that the longest distance you will ever travel is the journey from your head to your heart'
I went with one of my friends, Rachel, we spend a few hours walking around (easily done) - the gardens are so beautiful. There’s a rainforest walk that takes you, quite literally, through a jungle where there’s crystals placed along to way. There’s also the worlds largest Amethyst Crystal - we didn’t have the sun on my side when we went, i think the place sees a lot of rain and almost has its own climate as it’s up high - but I can imagine when the sun is shining, the crystals look evening more amazing.
This place would be perfect for portrait shots - especially in the Rainforest Walk and also the walk through the Bamboo Corridor.
S U N S E T D O L P H I N K A Y A K
What a beautiful morning this was. Me and my friend Sammy (who owns RatPack Travel - an awesome online discounted booking platform for all your Australia and New Zealand travel needs - i’ll link below), did a sunrise kayak from Clarkes beach. We set off into the ocean at 6am, it was completely still with very few waves and as we kayaked out into the sea, the sun came up. There was a chance to see dolphins but unfortunately we didn’t manage to see any - we did however see a turtle that is estimated to be 170 years old! It’s definitely worth shooting both sunrise and sunset as the colours and light are just perfect. This trip is also great for any GoPro footage and imagery both above water and below.
Brunswick Town is a must to visit - there's a bridge you can jump off into the river (if the water is deep enough). The town is lovely to walk through with amazing streets to shoot down and beautiful decor. If anyone is into vintage clothing + accessories - Miss Brown is a must to visit - lots of bargains!
One of the best viewpoints to look down on Byron Bay is this hillside which is about 15/20 minute drive inland from Byron Bay - in the second image, right in the centre, you can see the hillside that the lighthouse is situated on, and to the left of that is Byron Bay. The first image is facing the other way (the direction the sun sets in). The perfect place for some landscape and sunset shots, if you were feeling brave and getting up for an early one, it would definitely be worth heading up here for sunrise as it would be coming up just behind Byron Bay. You will also notice how green it is around this area as it tends to see quite a bit of rain!
T H E P A S S - S U R F I N G H O T S P O T
The pass is situated to the far right of Byron Bay, almost underneath the lighthouse. It’s a great place to come to surf and if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the main stretch of Byron Beach. There’s a small carpark, but get there early as it tends to get fairly busy, especially on the weekend! It’s the perfect place to capture some surf action as you can walk up the stairs and overlook the stretch of surf - perfect for those ariel shots of surfers!
B Y R O N B A Y S T R E E T A R T
Byron Bay is definitely full of quirky streets and street art - there's also a lot of camper vans and cars that have been hand decorated - like this one which is called the Happy Coach. It's the perfect destination if you're into shooting street art and graffiti - the town is super colourful, vibrant and fun! It's also great if you wanted to shoot some portraits with a bit of an edgier feel. I was quick to learn it's a place full of very talented people!
My bestie Mollie @wheresmollie, who is an amazing travel blogger and content creator, was hosting an event on one of the days we were here. As part of the event we visited waterfalls, beaches and were transported around on these amazing buses, Happy Coach!
You can book Happy Coach tours through Sam at Ratpack Travel (details at the bottom). The coaches are great as they are just as wacky inside as they look on the out. The drivers are such great fun - we had bubble machines, inflatables, pretty much anything you wanted in that bus you could have! Although this event wasn’t focussed heavily on the drink (until later), the tours you can book separately with them i’ve been told can get pretty messy, but A LOT of fun - so definitely a must!
M A I N B E A C H
The stretch of beach either side of the lighthouse is perfect for any beach photography you are looking for. The sand is fine and a beautiful white colour - a perfect natural reflection of the subject. Let's not forget the colour of the water which is the perfect backdrop for a paradise feel to any photograph. Me and Mollie went down and spent some time shooting several times.
T E A T R E E L A K E
The other side of the lighthouse to Byron Bay is a beautiful stretch of beach called Suffolk Park Beach, if you head down the beach on the right hand side theres a sandy opening (it doesn’t look like much), head straight into this opening and turn the corner. Once you turn the corner you’re greeted with an huge Tea Tree Lake. The water is an orange colour and is meant to be really good for your skin! I went around midday and the water was really warm - It’s also a great spot as most people tend to head to Lennox beach so it’s usually pretty empty!
B U S K E R S B Y M A I N B E A C H
This is one of my favourite things to do in the evening. Local and visiting buskers and musicians take it in turns to perform - the whole time I was there I didn't hear one bad performance - all of them are super talented and amazing to listen to! Everyone sits around taking in the music, views and sounds of the waves. You can even come down here on your own and join a group - socialising is very easy as everyone talks to everyone! There is also a drum circle that happens every night - people bring drums to the beach and literally make a big circle and people can join in - sing, dance, whatever you want - it's even more magical when there's a beautiful sunset. It's the perfect spot to chill out after a day of adventuring - with a bottle of wine and some takeaway food! Shooting here is great - you can capture some real characters - there's always something to watch and photograph.
D A L W O O D F A L L S
Dalwood Falls was one of my favourite waterfalls to visit near Byron Bay - It's about a 40minute drive inland and once parked, it's about a 15 minute walk to the actual falls. This place is beautiful, rain or shine, it's a must to visit. The water isn't quite deep enough to jump in from the top but you can climb up park of the rocks to the right of the falls and jump in from there. It's the perfect spot for portraits and landscapes of the falls and some wide angle lens shots, not forgetting some GoPro shots as the water is clearer than it looks!
T H E L I G H T H O U S E A T S U N R I S E
Heading up to the lighthouse for sunrise is an absolute must do - the views are beautiful and the colours of the sunrise are magical. It's the perfect spot for timelapse shots and golden hour portraits.
R A I L W A Y
As you head out of Byron Bay in the direction of the Gold Coast, there's a road you can turn down called Kendall Street - half way down this turning you cross over a railway, where you can get this view. It use to be disused up until recently where they have started a train service (I didn’t manage to do it this time, but next time I go back I’ll definitely take a trip on the train!). It’s a really great spot for a photoshoot, the railway track is completely straight up to the horizon line - so totally perfect for landscape and portrait shots. It’s also a great little spot for a video and drone footage!
W A T E G O S B E A C H
Another favourite spot of mine - Wategos beach is in such a lovely (very pricey) part of town - this houses here are £2Mil +!! A lot of surfers tend to hit this area as the waves always seem to be good. The beach has a stoney area and a sandy area - perfect to chill out and read a book. I started reading Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F***’, i’m 4 days in and have nearly finished it! It's also a great spot for capturing surfers, beach shots and the residential area is perfect for street style. If you stay until the sun is setting, you can get some pretty amazing views!
B R U N S W I C K - S N O R K E L L I N G
If you fancy going snorkelling but maybe not in the sea (a lot of the time that I was in Byron, the sea was pretty choppy and wavey - so not ideal for snorkelling!), you can head to Brunswick Lake. I recommend visiting Brunswick anyway as it’s a really beautiful town. The streets around the residential areas are lovely to shoot and there’s a really great vintage shop there too!
You can snorkel all around the bridge and the island you can see to the left side of the bridge, if you’re walking away from the town. I ended up snorkelling around that island and saw some pretty big fish! Later on in the week, there was a news article about a shark being around Brunswick River the day I was snorkelling!
S U N R I S E - S U F F O L K P A R K B E A C H
Suffolk Park Beach was the closest beach to where I was staying (5 min walk) and it was definitely my favourite - It’s always empty and it stretches all the way to the lighthouse. If you’re able to get there for sunrise, you can capture some amazing slow mo and time lapse footage (I created several sunrise videos from here - it was just too amazing to miss). I got there around 5.45am and sunrise was about 6.25am. It was actually the busiest i’d seen it compared to the day, as several locals were there before they headed out to work, a man was fishing and there was a sunrise bootcamp!
Mullumbimby is another town i'd recommend visiting. The architecture is stunning and there’s a lot to see. I went to Kiva Spa which was again, recommended by a lot of people. It originally started 18 years ago when I man put a jacuzzi in his garden and opened it up to the public. It then became very popular so he put in a few more and gradually made it a beautiful outdoors spa with several jacuzzis surrounded by palm trees and birds, a sauna, steam room and a plunge pool. They also offer several different massages too. I’ve never been to Bali but I can imagine it was very similar to the spas you can find there. My favourite was the sauna - it’s this small circular hut where you have to crouch down to get in. You're not allowed to take any photographs inside, but an absolute must visit!
P L A C E S T O E A T + S H O O T
T H E T R E E H O U S E O N B E L O N G I L
TREEHOUSE ON BELONGIL cafe was the first cafe I visited when I arrived in Byron. The decor is amazing - they have a big selection of old chairs and sofas to relax on, combined with tables and chairs to indulge in their AMAZING food. I went for the pumpkin salad (see below) and it was probably the biggest salad i've ever had - definitely fills you up! Opposite the cafe is an entrance to the beach and it's often fairly quiet there as the main beach is further up. This cafe is a perfect spot to get some lifestyle and portrait shots - there's a lot of props to work with as well as the surrounding palm trees and plants. It's apart of a hostel and around the dorms there are hammocks hanging in the trees - definitely worth taking a few shots with!
One of my favourite things about the food here in Australia are the colour of the dishes - they are all so colourful! TREEHOUSE also make these amazing donuts - this one was the Oreo filled + crumbled donut. It's exactly how it sounds - a donut with with a whole Oreo inside with crumbled Oreo on top - SO delicious!
D I P C A F E
DIP cafe is definitely a must. I went for breakfast one of the first mornings I arrived in Byron as it was highly recommended! I had a delicious salmon and avocado dish - i’m pretty sure breakfast is served all day! I was quick to learn that Australian coffee is better than any other i’ve had. I’m not a huge coffee drinker but over the past few weeks I am slowly turning into one!
I returned to DIP a few days later for lunch and had this amazing avocado (obvs), egg, pesto, feta and tomato on sourdough toast - seriously tasty!
C O M B I
COMBI is also a cafe to visit if you like your granola, acai and fruit bowls - they certainly know how to make these. I went for a home-made muesli bowl, it was filled with fruit, coconut yoghurt and a mix of nuts. It’s also a great place to work on your laptop! I also returned a few days later and had this amazing pesto, spinach, avocado and egg sandwich.
B Y R O N F R E S H
BYRON FRESH cafe is in the centre of Byron town, a few steps and you’re on the beach! I sat out the front when I visited as there was live music right outside, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a nice glass of wine! In the day it’s also an awesome place to work on your laptop, if you don't mind a little background noise. The decor inside is beautiful so would be perfect for a little lifestyle photoshoot.
O R G A S M I C F O O D
(yes this is what it's called) Orgasmic food sell THE TASTIEST falafel buns - the restaurant is based just off the main street leading up to the beach, so if you didn't fancy eating in the cafe, you can do what I did and order a takeaway and take it to watch the buskers on the beach. This one is the half pocket, you can get a full bun and its very good value for money!
F A R M C A F E
I visited Farm Cafe on one of my last days in Byron and I wish I found it sooner! It’s a small drive out of the centre of the town (5min) and, as you can imagine, it’s amongst a huge farm. The cafe itself its large - it has outdoor seating and indoor seating which is great if you wanted to do a bit of work or laptop time (like most cafes in Byron, the WiFi wasn’t great - I hot spotted my friends phone). The atmosphere is great and it’s the perfect location for any lifestyle images - the decor inside and out is beautiful.
D O M A C A F E
Federal is a great little town. It’s about 20/25minutes drive from Byron inland (the drive itself is stunning as it crosses through the rolling hills and little rainforests). This is the town that has the amazing Moonshine Coffee - just before leaving I bought several bags of this to take home with me as since being in Australia I have become a fussy coffee drinker as you honestly cannot get better anywhere else.
Doma Cafe is two shops down from Moonshine Coffee Roasters and I had one of the best salads i’ve ever tasted - It was the Eggplant + Beetroot (Eggplant is Aubergine in Australia). The Eggplant itself was caramelised on the top so it gave a sweet texture, there was also walnuts and other vegetables in it as well. You sit outside and there’s chickens and other animals wandering around - the cafe is full of character and i’ll definitely be going back!
F O L K C A F E
OH MY was this tasty and good. Folk is a beautiful cafe just out of the centre of Byron. It’s pretty big and has outdoor seating as well as indoor. The outdoor seating is so perfect for lifestyle/cafe shots as you can chose to sit on the floor on beautiful cushions or there’s raised areas where they have wooden benches. The coffee here is great (obviously!)
I hoped you enjoyed my first location blog post - I aim to upload one a week (maybe more!)
R A T P A C K T R A V E L C O N T A C T D E T A I L S
RatPack Travel is an awesome online discounted booking platform for all your Australia and New Zealand travel needs - Sam, who owns it KNOWS EVERYTHING you need to know - so get in contact with him if you're planning any kind of activity/roadtrip/adventure in Aus or NZ
Phone: +61 450381801 (sam)