Byron Bay is a coastal town on the northeastern corner of New South Wales. It is a hot spot tourist destination, famed for it’s jaw-dropping beaches lined with surfers, the hipster downtown area, and laid back vibes. Not to mention, stars like Zac Efron and Liam Hemsworth call it home.
While Byron Bay was once a melting pot for curious minds and alternative souls (or so I hear…), it has fallen victim to its own charm. Young people with platinum credits cards pour into Byron Bay to enjoy premium cocktails at night and fancy acai bowls in the morning. It’s a place to be seen, rather than a place to see.
Regardless of what the town used to be compared to what it is now, I was over the moon excited to hit the beach and bask in that Australian sunshine (lathered up with SPF 50, of course), wander the town, and, always my favorite activity, eat! (ps: we are currently traveling around in a camper van! Click HERE for the details!)
The million dollar homes and fancy villas lend themselves to a pricey culinary scene. I wouldn’t be caught dead paying AUD$60 for a bite of organic grass-fed chicken that listened to Bach, so we set out to find the best cheap eats in Byron Bay. Here is what we tried over the two night stay!
The first cheap eat of Byron Bay was from Beloporto Burger Bar, a greasy hole in the wall dishing up bargain chicken and beef burgers. We split a double cheeseburger with chili sauce, which set us back AUD$13. It was impressive in size, with two thick patties squished in between a fluffy brioche bun. While the flavors were all perfectly pleasant, it was disappointingly too wet. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little mustard, ketchup, chili action on my burger. But the texture was too slimy with no crunch. In hindsight, it seems like the chicken is the way to go.
Slice Pizzeria Byron Bay
Pizza by the slice is my all time favorite cheap snack in New York City. So when we saw Slice Pizzeria tucked away from the main drag serving up thin triangles of joy, we had add it to our “cheap eats of Byron Bay” list. Each slice was AUD$5.50, a bit pricey. The crust was nice and thin and the peperoni was average. But all it all, it was yawn-inducing and nothing more than “fine.” A non-word I quite despise, but the right word to describe this cheap eat of Byron Bay.
Random Sausage Stall
I smelled the kielbasa before I saw it. Sure enough, two men had a food truck-esq grill set up and were pumping out various types of sausage. Saying no simply wasn’t an option, and it had to be on our cheap eats of Byron Bay list. Five minutes and $8 later, we had a piping hot kielbasa on a bun loaded up with onion and mustard. While it was a bit heavy on the bread, the meat itself was delectably seasoned with garlic, sage, and an ever so soft sweetness.
Treehouse on Belongil is a 15 minute walk away from the main drag, and oh man is it worth it. It likely won’t surprise you to learn that it is treehouse themed, with an open aired dining area covered with verdant green plants. We shared a pizza for $27, and it was my favorite Byron Bay eat by far!
To start, the crust was perfectly thin with a slight chewiness, and the wood fired flavor shined through. It was loaded up with drool-inducing cheese, hot circles of peperoni, jalapeños, peppers, and olives. The flavors worked together with a nice saltiness and slight tinge of heat that complimented the earthy crust. The pie was well worth the AUD$27, and I can comfortably classify it as a cheap eat of Byron Bay.
In the Pink Gelato
In the Pink Gelato had a line spilling out every time we walked past. We caved and got a couple scoops despite the high price tag of AUD$7.50 each. I got a scoop of salted Nutella caramel and Oreo cheesecake, and after my first bite, the hype made sense. The gelato was exquisitely creamy with bold flavors that didn’t taste artificial. Is it a cheap eat of Byron Bay? Not really. Was it worth it? Yes!
What We Ate the Rest of the Time…
For our two night stay in Byron Bay, we stayed at the Glen Villa Resort (aka a caravan park). We rolled up the campervan into a powered site and had access to showers, toilets, a pool, laundry, and BBQs. To keep costs down, we picked up fresh vegetables and eggs at Aldis and cooked up our other meals.
AUD$74 on eating out is a bit pricey for our camper van lifestyle budget. However, it was spent over the course of 5 different hospitality venues. Part of the fun was hopping around place to place and soaking in the surrounding atmosphere. Food isn’t just about the taste, it’s about the experience you have surrounding it.
I got a kick out of watching the pod of 8 “lads” (what I’d call fraternity bros) attempting to hit on all the passing girls as we were noshing on the pizza. It was fascinating to watch “the girls” dolled up in festival-chic attire walk into an ultra-lux bar while we were eating sausage. And I loved looking at the stylish kids of Byron Bay run amok next to In the Pink Gelato.
As for Byron Bay itself, I loved the beach vibes and the coast truly is stunning. I see the appeal and if I was a millionaire, I would consider buying a cheeky beach front property too. Alas, I’m not. So I’ll continue moving city to city in a camper van.