Welcome to Byron Bay
Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chillout
Byron Bay has long captured the hearts of travellers from around the globe and for many the love affair lasts a lifetime. From world-renowned beaches to lush hinterland surrounds, Byron offers something for just about everyone with an eclectic and laid-back mix of alternative, surfie and trendy culture.
Originally known as Cavenbah or ‘meeting place’ by the original Bundjalung people of the area, Byron continues to live up to its traditional heritage with people flocking from everywhere to shop, surf, scuba dive and, of course, walk the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse track. Located at Australia’s easterly most point, this walk offers a stunning vista of migrating whales as well as resident dolphins and leopard sharks.
Known to many as the Rainbow region, Byron Bay is home to a thriving local community of musicians and artists and hosts a variety of colourful markets and festivals. The beaches are also popular for romance, with the Byron Bay Surf club being a favourite wedding venue.
While many come for rest and relaxation, there is also a lively nightlife to be enjoyed as the streets come to life with local and international musicians and street performances. Combined with the many great restaurants, cafes, clubs and pubs, there’s always something to do on those long summer nights.
More than a holiday destination, Byron Bay offers a unique lifestyle that has many coming back for more. Visitors can find accommodation to suit every taste and budget any time of year and no matter how many visits, there’s always more to explore.
Beaches in Byron Bay
This beach starts at the western side of the Main Beach car park and heads west away from the Lighthouse. Another great wave in Byron Bay that was formed when ‘The Wollongbar’ was washed from the old Byron Bay jetty during the 1920s.
‘The Wollongbar’ was then used as the major transport for all the tourists coming from Sydney to visit The Bay. You can still see the ‘rudder’ and ‘the boilers’ sticking out of the sand. Here both Lefts and Rights break on sandbanks that are always there because of The Wreck.
From here, all the way along Belongil Beach gets its good share of waves. It is great for both the experienced surfer and the beginner. The waves vary from fast hollow dumping waves, to soft spilling waves, dependant on what the swell and sandbanks are doing. It will pick up most swells from the north to the south and likes a west to south west wind but also a south east is surfable. The sweep is here if the swell is here.
This beach runs from the end of The Pass back down to the carpark at the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club. This is Byron Bay’s main patrolled beach. The waves here are often fast and hollow but can often get small spilling waves depending on how big the swell is. There are both Lefts and Rights here, as long as the sandbanks are in good shape.
There are often rocks along here that come and go with the sand flow. It likes the wind to be from the south east to south west, and will pick up most swells. The sweep often comes with the swell, so you have to look for an exit point before you get to the rocky car park, otherwise you will get back to the beach in front of The Wreck, past the rocks.
The most famous wave in the Bay, where you have all extremes in one wave, from the point, which is hollow and fast breaking all the way past the rocks, and you must be experienced. Once past the rocks, it will break towards Clarks Beach, where the waves are more spilling and more suited for beginners.
Watego’s Beach is the most easterly beach in the Bay. It is very popular with Long boarders and is a great family beach. The waves are mostly spilling and will break all the way to The Pass.
All swells will get there, except a strong south swell. There is often a sweep (side-shore current) along this beach that will carry you towards the rocks and ‘The Pass’. You must always watch for an exit point to avoid being carried past the end of the sand, otherwise you must keep surfing to ‘The Pass’.
Tallow Beach is the long open beach on the southern side of the lighthouse. It is an open beach that will pick up all swells. It should only be surfed by experienced surfers, unless it is very, very small. The waves are fast and hollow, but can sometimes be spilling waves. It likes all winds from the North East, North West to South West.
The waves will break, no matter how small the surf is … Lefts and Rights. The south swell should be avoided, as this will push you onto and around the rocks. There are always rips and currents along this beach.
Cape Byron Lighthouse
The Lighthouse… Meander through rainforest world class beaches to the lighthouse.
The light that shines by night over Cape Byron Marine Park emanates from a tower as famous as the town of Byron Bay itself. Built at the turn of the 19th century to protect ships passing along the coast, Cape Byron Lighthouse stands resolute on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. Operated by resident keepers until 1989, its now automated light is clearly visible from the Byron Bay Township.
Take a guided tour of the lighthouse, learn more about this iconic white tower and find out about shipwrecks and stories from the sea in the Maritime Museum which is below the lighthouse and the artwork inside is ‘a must see’.
You’ll enjoy some of the best views of the ocean and hinterland including regular sightings of turtles, dolphins. It is the most easterly point of Australia, and one of the best places to see humpback whales as they pass on their annual migration between May and October.
The Maritime Museum is open 10am to 4pm daily. Remember to take your binoculars if you want to whale watch. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited. Parking fees apply.
State Conservation Area
- It’s a good idea to put sunscreen on before you set out and remember to take a hat and plenty of drinking water
- Keep on track, keep away from cliff
- Take your swimwear as you may like to have a swim on the way. You’ll need a good two hours to properly experience the walking track – but it’s so rich in delights, don’t be surprised if you reach the end and feel like doing it again.
Enjoy spectacular coastal views along the Cape Byron walking track that takes you on a hike through rainforest, beach, grassland and clifftops to the lighthouse.
Unwind and enjoy the view as you walk. The 3.7km loop leads you on a hike through rainforest and across clifftops with stunning views of the ocean and hinterland. En route you’ll wander through the shade of bangalow palms and ancient burrawangs, across kangaroo grasslands, along picturesque beaches and up to Cape Byron Lighthouse.
The four Clarke’s Beach Cottages have direct access to Byron Bay’s main beach and are surrounded by National Park. Staying here is just magnificient, you can wake to ocean views and the sound of crashing surf. Alternatively the two lighthouse cottages where the former keepers used to live have been fully refurbished, heritage listed cottages (circa 1901) makes this a truly unique holiday experience. Be the first to see the sunrise on Australia’s mainland and enjoy watching dolphins, turtles and whales. To enquire about NPWS holiday accommodation in the lighthouse keeper’s cottages or the beach cottages go to www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/bookings
Byron Bay Markets
One of the unique joys of the Northern Rivers is the consistent access to a diverse range of local markets. Each with its own distinctive charm, weekly farmer’s markets are the highlight of the week for fresh locally grown produce and an atmosphere like nowhere else.
Buy freshly picked produce that is full of nutrients gleaned from our rich volcanic soils and get back in step with what nature intended. Procure products ranging in variety from tasty fruit and veg to home cured meats, free range organic eggs, baked goods and nutrient packed raw foods.
Byron Farmers Market held every Thursday between 8 and 11am is the original farmers market of the region and a finalist in the delicious Produce Awards for Most Outstanding Farmer’s Market 2016. Visit the new Chef’s Tent featuring some of the best local chefs creating individual menus based on the delicious range of fresh produce.
Indigenous arts and crafts and other beautiful things made by local people using unusual natural materials are joined by unique jewellery stalls, funky one of a kind clothes and colourful imports from Africa and Asia. Pamper yourself with a massage to soothe away your aches and pains and choose from a wonderful range of natural skin and hair care products. When you need a break try some freshly squeezed sugar cane juice or perhaps a steaming cup of chai. Even the kids are catered for they can have their faces painted, get involved with some art and craft and delight in the original toys, games and fun fairy outfits.
A perfect day out and a perfect place to find that original gift you’ve been looking for.
Community Market – 1st Sunday of the month, 8am – 3pm
Animal rides, arts, crafts, bric a brac, food, music, produce
Phoner: 02 6685 6807
Flea Market – 2nd Saturday, 8am – 1pm
(Byron Youth Service Fundraiser) Gilmore Crescent, Byron Bay
Vintage clothing, vinyl, new and used, bric a brac, collectables, food and music.
Phone: 0490 026 840
Summer Artisan Market (October – March) – Saturday 5pm – 9pm
Arts, crafts, food, music
Phone: 02 6685 6807
Beachside Markets – Jan, Easter, and Sep-Oct Long Weekends- 3rd Sunday (Xmas and January only) 8am – 3pm
Animal rides, arts, crafts, bric a brac, food, music, produce
Phone: 02 6685 6807