Why you should visit Byron Bay and its beaches
Byron Bay is regarded as the ultimate place in Australia for its beautiful beaches. It truly is a special place that ranks high on all backpackers’ list when visiting the East Coast of Australia.
Needless to say, Byron Bay highlight is its iconic surf beaches, for which Byron Bay is known all over the world. There is over 30km of beaches in the Byron Shire of all kinds, from patrolled town beaches to secluded nudist beaches, just a short drive out of town. Byron Bay is also home to a fascinating natural conservation area that has no like it.
One of the Byron Bay attractions, next to its beautiful lovely sandy beaches, is Cape Byron. Sticking out into the Pacific Ocean, the cape forms the Australian mainland’s most easterly point and offers dramatic views over the headland and the ocean.
Byron Bay Beaches and Natural Conservation Area
Byron Bay beaches and villages are nestled along the coastal heath, critically exposed to a strong environmental impact. By walking along the wooden path, you will see various signs with information about the regeneration work in progress and how to care for the country. Several conservation programs are looking after this area. The Cape Byron Trust is working with the Arakwal People to ensure that future generations will access this precious land.
“We want to see country how it used to be. We want everybody to work together to keep country clean and healthy” by Arakwal Elders.
And this is how you can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint in Byron Bay.
How to get to Byron Bay from Brisbane
The quickest way to get to Byron Bay is flying. You can fly from any Australian city to Ballina, a lovely beach location and airport, 30km south, or you can get to Coolangatta 60km in the north. Flights from Sydney to Byron Bay can be expensive if you want to land in Ballina.
I would book a cheap flight from Sydney to Brisbane and then use public transport to get around.
Since I flew into Brisbane, I travelled by train on the Country Link train from Brisbane to Lismore. From Brisbane, it is only a one-hour train trip, and from Lismore, the connection bus takes you directly to Byron Bay. This is the way to go you prefer using public transport.
I got on the first train leaving to Sydney and returned in the evening on the express coach service Byron-Bay to Brisbane. Alternatively, you can also get to Byron Bay by Greyhound bus or by car if you want to drive yourself.
It’s a 2 hours easy drive from Brisbane, and it makes it for a great day trip from Brisbane.
Byron Bay Accommodation – Where to stay
When I arrived in Byron Bay, I soon realized my schedule was tight. I definitely should have planned more time to visit this beautiful place.
On a day tour, you can certainly get a glimpse of it, but for visiting Byron Bay properly and get a feel of the place, you need at least a couple of days. There are many interesting things to do in Byron Bay and its surroundings too.
All accommodation types are offered in Byron Bay, from backpacker hostels to beachfront hotels, excellent camping grounds facilities, and rental apartments, like the beautiful houses in the photo. If you plan to rent a home in Byron Bay, search for byron bay holiday houses and be sure you make your accommodation bookings ahead, it gets busy, especially in summer and during Byron Bay Festivals.
To find a place to stay in Byron Bay, I would use Booking.com or Hotelscombined o be the best site for accommodation in Australia.
Byron Bay Attractions
There are plenty of other outdoor activities to choose from for those not surfers and not keen on taking surf lessons. On a day tour of Byron Bay, the best way to do it is to explore the walking tracks that take you up the hill to Cape Byron and from there to the Byron Bay Lighthouse.
This walk is 4km long and takes you through the coastal lush vegetation overlooking the majestic beaches of Byron Bay.
The walking track to the Lighthouse goes up to the headland reserve, the most easterly point of Australia, to then descend through the littoral rainforest and back to town.
Usually, people start this walk from the car park at Captain Cook Lookout and follow the path on the right-hand side that takes you first through the littoral rainforest to the Lighthouse.
I instead started my walk from the car park clockwise through Palm Valley, Clarkes Beach and Wategos Beach, where I had lunch. On this path, you go through different kind of palms and lovely banksia forest. On your way up to the hill, you can stop at the many lookouts to enjoy the view of the ocean.
Byron Bay Coastal Walk
Take the coastal walk and enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean. The path takes you up to the hill to the promontory of Cape Byron. From there, the view over the headland is stunning, the rough deep blue ocean and the frothing waves against the rocks.
From this point, a wooden staircase takes you to the lookout platform down to the most easterly point where you can take pictures if you can withstand the strong wind, indeed a great spot for marvelling at the natural beauty around you.
The Byron Bay Lighthouse is located a short walking distance from Cape Byron Lookout, and it stands out majestic on top of the headland. The whole area is also a vantage point for whale-watching in season. Even at the beginning of May, you can spot early whales, dolphins, rays and sea turtles.
The Whale Watching Season starts end of June and ends in August. Whale watching tours are one of the biggest attractions in Byron Bay, next to surfing.
Just past the Lighthouse, another stunning view over Tallow Beach opens us in front of you. And the photo below speaks for itself. This beach is good for fishing, but it’s not safe for surfing! There is a walking track that takes you from the town centre through the forest to this pristine beach.
From this point, the path takes you back to town through the ancient littoral rainforest. There is a popular site for hang-gliding with a wooden platform where you can see hang-gliders swooping overhead just past the lookout. I was lucky to be there at the right time and could watch someone getting ready for a hang-glider start.
Byron Bay National Parks
As said, Byron Bay does not only offer wonderful surf beaches. The whole area is a natural precious area of great cultural and natural significance. There are several national parks around Byron Bay, offering great hiking walks in the forest. One national park you should not miss out on is Mount Warning National Park, which is home to an ancient volcano. Mount Warning offers a wonderful walk through the dense rainforest up to its 1100 meters spike-shaped summit.
The walk is about 6 km long, and the final stretch is a steep rock climb, which will reward you with a 360° view of the Tweed Valley. On a day tour, I went there for a short walk but could not get up to the summit due to limited light and bad weather. If you plan to do the Mount Warning Walk, be sure you get there early and on a clear day.
On this page, you can check out available tours to the Byron Bay National Parks.
If you love hiking in the Byron Bay hinterland has some of the best walking trails in Australia. On this page, you can learn more about the Gold Coast Hinterland walks.
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First published in 2012, last updated in April 2021
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