Originally know as Cavvanbah or ‘meeting place’ by the original Bunjalung people of the area, Byron Bay offers something for just about everyone with an eclectic, laid-back mix of alternative and surfie culture. Byron Bay offers spectacular beaches, lush hinterland rainforests, fine dining, great shopping and incredible spa retreats. This beautiful seaside town offers world renowned festivals, markets with handmade crafts and fresh produce, galleries and lively entertainment.
Byron Shire has a population of close to 30,000, while the town of Byron Bay has a population of about 9,000. With average temperatures of 15-21C in winter and 20-28C in summer, Byron Bay is the perfect place to visit all year round.
Byron Bay’s calendar is full of exciting events throughout the year, including the world class ‘Blues & Roots’ Music Festival and the ‘Byron Easter Surf Classic’, ‘The Byron Bay Ocean Swim’ and ‘The Byron Triathlon’, ‘Splendour in the Grass’ music festival, ‘The Writers Festival’, and many other events throughout the year.
Byron Bay’s beaches are simply spectacular. Famous for the their beauty and quality waves, millions flock to visit them each year. Protected by the Cape Byron Headland, which is the most easterly point of Australia, they’re usually calm and look as though they’ve jumped straight out a postcard. There really is nothing better than spending a week or so in a Byron Bay Beach House.
Stretching to the north of Byron, Belongil is one of the few dog friendly beaches in the area. Whether you’re a dog lover or not, with views spanning to Brunswick Heads and tall sand dunes giving it a secluded feeling, Belongil’s ideal for beach walks. Just over a kilometer away from town along its pristine sand there’s a track to the Belongil cafes, which are perfectly situated to be a walker’s pit stop.
To the north of the Main Beach car park, at the start of Belongil beach, is the Wreck. More of a surf break than a beach of its own, it’s named after the wreck of the SS Wollongbar, which sticks out of the water just beyond the waves. Mostly popular with surfers, it’s unpatrolled and can get a little wilder than some of the other swimming beaches near town.
If you’ve ever seen a picture of Byron Bay, chances are it was of Main Beach. Just a short stroll from the centre town, it’s without doubt Byron’s most popular beach. With Julian Rocks on its horizon, grassy hills rolling down to its sandy shores and the Byron lighthouse overlooking it from the headland across the bay, it’s famous for its breathtaking beauty. Patrolled by the local surf club, it’s a safe swimming beach with glistening water that’s too enticing to resist.
Clarkes is an extension of Main Beach and hosts the fantastic and only café on the beach Byron Beach Café. Patrolled in the summer by lifeguards, it’s a safe place to swim that’s just past the heart of the town. It’s got a permanent beach volleyball net, rocky areas for snorkeling and, usually, a sandbar to bodysurf on.
Further along from Clarkes at the other end of the bay is The Pass. With views of Julian rocks, Main Beach, Belongil and the hinterland beyond, it’s one of the most picturesque spots in Byron Bay. It’s also a famous surf break renowned for its long waves. The panoramic views are stunning and the sunset over the mountain range can be spectacular, especially in the winter months. It’s here that the Dive boats leave also several times a day, heading out to the Julian Rocks marine reserve. Tucked away behind the Beach is the Pass Café – Great food and great cold drinks.
Nestled at the foot of the headland, around the corner from The Pass, is Wategos beach. Secluded in a beautiful forest bay of its own, it’s popular with surfers and swimmers alike. With waves wrapping around the headland that offer long, leisurely rides and plenty of shallow areas that are great for kids, Wategos is the epitome of a family beach. It’s also one of Byron’s best picnic spots because it’s in its element at dusk.
As the name suggests, Little Wategos is similar to Wategos beach but on a smaller scale. It’s just around the corner from Wategos and is easy to get to along the sand in low tide. When the water’s up high, it can be reached by a longer walk over the headland. Because of this dependence on the tides, it’s often unoccupied, making it feel like your own private beach.
The other side of the headland is less protected than the bay. The beaches here get more wind and are often choppier, but they also usually have bigger waves. The first of these is Cosy Corner. It’s nestled at the bottom of the headland so it’s partially protected from the wind. With cleanly formed, decent sized waves, it’s a favourite among the local surfers.
Further down from Cosy Corner on this side of the headland is Tallow Beach. With various breaks along it, there’s the potential to get a surfing spot all to yourself. It’s dog friendly and has views of the headlands further down the coast, so it’s also a nice beach for walking.
In the middle of the open stretch of sand to the south of Byron Bay is Suffolk beach. A five-minute drive from town, it’s dog friendly, usually virtually empty and has stunning views of both Byron Bay and Broken Head. Long and unprotected, it’s often windier than the bay and has good surf breaks at various points along it.
On the other end of the sand from the Cape Byron Headland is Broken Head beach. Protected by its own headland and surrounded by rainforest, it’s popular with both surfers and swimmers. A ten-minute drive from Byron, it has views of the lighthouse on its northern horizon and it’s quieter than the beaches closer to the town.
Just around the corner from Broken Head is the beautifully remote Kings beach. Although not officially a nude beach, it’s often treated as one, so beware if visiting with children. Kings is a accessed by a steep walking track, but worth it once you’re there. It’s accessible by driving along Seven Mile beach Rd, a gravel road, just off Broken Head’s main road. Once you reach the Kings car park, it’s a steep ten-minute walk down to beach.
Further around the headland from Kings is the less well-known Whites beach. Reachable in the same way, its walking track is a little further along the gravel road. Nestled in the heart of the Broken Head rainforest, Whites is stunningly secluded and is one of the quietest beaches in the Byron area.
Lennox Head Beach
Down the coast to the south is Lenox Head Beach. Fifteen minutes from Byron Bay by car, it also has a headland of its own. When the conditions are right, there’s a surf spot just off the point that’s the biggest in the Byron area. The beach is patrolled by the local surf club and is just metres from the centre of Lenox Head town.