Byron Bay maintains much of its initial laid back feel. Still, in the 1960s, it indeed came up as an exotic beach community from its beginnings. It’s 9 beautiful beaches deliver some of the most exceptional surfing in the world. They are as popular as they have ever been, tourists are always coming for the weekend and staying for the month. Still, there is so much more to modern Byron.
The Byron Bay area on NSW’s North Coast is full of natural wonders from the World Heritage rainforest to the pristine beaches. Even the city is renowned for its beach culture, environmental lifestyles, sustainable food and outdoor activities.
When you come to Byron Bay, you probably think you’re going to spend your days sunbathing or surfing. Okay, yes, you can do that, and many people do it. Still, there are lots of other things to do in Byron Bay, places to visit, history, festivals and all that jazz as well as surfing and sunbathing. There are some of the best shops, restaurants and pubs, the food is really some of the significant draws today. And there are the daily life parties, national parks, walking trails, malls, fitness retreats and weekend getaways.
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One of the attractions featured is the Cape Byron Walking Track. From Clarkes Beach on the eastern end of Byron’s Main Beach follow the beach walking track up the hill to the Byron Bay lighthouse and the easternmost point of Australia’s mainland. The loop track is 3.7 km long and allows you to enjoy the view for a few stops along the way and take pictures that will take about 2 hours.
Suppose you want to remain on the coastal side instead of returning on the coastline. In that case, you can quickly reverse your course once you’ve gone as far as you want to see the National Park and Tallows Beach. There are quite a lot of steps and if you are not used to hill walking your calves may complain after a while, but it’s worth taking all the little diversions down and back up for the views and beaches along the way.
The Cape Byron Headland Reserve is managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service as a state-protected area. It includes stunning sea cliffs, unique and magnificent coastal vegetation, spectacular beaches and a high-quality walking track network providing panoramic views of both the surrounding Cape Byron Marine Park and the west-facing hinterland.
Located on mainland Australia’s most easterly point, the reserve is a popular tourist destination. An outstanding feature of the reserve is the Cape Byron Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers cottages, built-in 1901. All the buildings are listed on the National Estate Registry and give visitors a glimpse into what life was like in the lighthouse keepers’ days.
There’s no question that Byron Bay’s Main Beach is in itself a draw, but the nearby beaches of Byron Bay are where the locals go and are well worth a visit. Some of the most beautiful surf beaches in Byron Bay are only a short walk away. If you plan to take the Byron Lighthouse walk, pack a day bag and explore some of the beaches that can be reached from the main track.
Located just northwest of Cape Byron and the Lighthouse, Wategos Beach is one of the best picnic, paddle and play spots in Byron. On the northern side of Cape Byron, you will adorn the quiet beauty of this sheltered beach. Protected from the wilder waters beyond by the headland, it’s a great spot to play and picnic. This is also used for recreation by local bottlenose dolphins, which show off their silky surfing abilities on the incoming waves. There is one of the free beachside barbecues where you can cook your lunch and enjoy your picnic on the beach or at one of the picnic tables.
Tallow Beach, a scenic bridge between Cape Byron State Conservation Area and Broken Head Nature Reserve, provides a great spot to throw down a towel and soak up the sun. When whales migrate between the Great Barrier Reef and Antarctica, you might take out binoculars for an afternoon of whale watching in spring and winter, however.
Just 3.2 km from Byron Bay ‘s centre, Tallow Beach is alive with osprey and white-bellied sea-eagles scouring the coast for food. Pied oystercatchers fly past looking for puppies as you rest on the beach. Avid birdwatchers will find plenty to see behind the dunes adjacent to residential areas, where several paperbark trees provide our feathered friends with plenty of hideout holes.
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