Tucked away in the northeastern corner of New South Wales, Australia, is this little gem of a seaside town. Named after naval officer John Byron, grandfather of the poet Lord Byron, this town has established itself as an alternative destination to the busier cities of New South Wales and became known for its natural breaks, perfect for longboard surfing. If you’ve been similarly lured by the chill, hippy atmosphere of this town, here are some things to do to make the most of your experience in Byron Bay, Australia.
1. Catch amazing waves at the Wreck and Main Beach
You can’t visit this town and leave without catching some of its world-famous waves! Here, the swells are created by the presence of sandbars, which were in turn created by the shipwreck of the SS Wollongbar, in 1921. If you look closely, you can even see the top of the shipwreck protruding from the water. This area of the beach is more suitable for experienced surfers, as the waves can be significantly rougher and change with little warning.
Novice surfers can check out Main Beach instead – curiously, it has its own shipwreck as well, the Tassie II, believed to have been sunk at the end of World War Two. Main Beach is home to the Byron Bay Surf Club, and enjoys popularity thanks to its decent waves all year round, even when the strong northerly winds are blowing through all the other surf spots. During the summer months, Surf Lifesavers patrol this area as well, so it’s a safe place to learn how to get on the board.
Byron Bay Surf School
Address: Byron Bay Surf School, 29 Shirley Street, Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Website: Byron Bay Surf School
2. Watch one of the world's most beautiful sunrises at Cape Byron Lighthouse
Not a cloud in the sky or a puff of wind this morning. Have a great day everyone.Posted by Cape Byron Lighthouse Friends and Volunteers on Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Being situated on the most easterly point of Australia has one distinct advantage: the town of Byron boasts one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world. Take a slow stroll to Cape Byron Lighthouse with a picnic breakfast (you have the option of driving there as well, if a walk in the early morning darkness isn’t your thing) and watch as the sun rises over the horizon. The panoramic views from that vantage point are spectacular, offering you an unencumbered view of the sunrise, in all its glory. With luck, you might even spot dolphins swimming near Tallows Beach!
Cape Byron Lighthouse
Address: Lighthouse Rd, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia
Website: Cape Byron Lighthouse
3. Immerse yourself in the beauty of marine wildlife
Should have been here yesterday...dolphins having fun in Cape Byron Marine Park, photo taken from the lighthouse.Posted by Cape Byron Marine Park on Tuesday, 17 March 2015
If you’d like to see marine animals in their natural habitat, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Cape Byron Marine Park. Spanning approximately 220 square kilometres (85 square miles), the Cape Byron Marine Park is home to several threatened and/or protected species and offers visitors a rare glimpse of sharks, rays, and turtles in their natural habitat.
One way to experience this is, of course, scuba diving or snorkelling. Because the sea here is a unique mix of cooler temperate waters and the warm East Australian Current, you’ll be able to see not only the tropical wildlife found on the Great Barrier Reef, but also other marine animals from Australia’s deep Southern Ocean! We recommend Julian Rocks, which features 19 dive/snorkel sites, the most popular of which are Northern Nursery and the Hugos Trench.
The Marine Park is also an excellent place for dolphin or whale-watching. You can join a boat tour, or even view from land – one of the best spots is the viewing platform at Cape Byron, where you can see the annual humpback whale migration. Wategos and Little Wategos Beaches also have regular dolphin visitors.
Cape Byron Marine Park
Website: Cape Byron Marine Park
4. Paddle in the translucent rock pools of Wategos Beach
Julian Rocks in the distance... 📷 @stephyl86 ・・・ Watego's Beach #visitbyron #byronbayPosted by Byron Bay on Tuesday, 28 March 2017
One of the most picturesque, family-friendly places in Byron Bay, Wategos Beach is a peaceful stretch of flat golden sand on the northern side of Cape Byron – even the local bottlenose dolphins love this place, and can often be found frolicking in the nearby waters. With its park benches and large BBQ areas, it’s the perfect location for a picnic lunch while the kids paddle in the translucent rock pools.
If you live here, this is also a great place to watch the sunrise without having to climb all the way up to Cape Byron Lighthouse.
Website: NSW National Parks - Wategos Beach
5. Take a scenic hike through the Minyon Falls
Minyon Falls in the Nightcap National Park, Northern NSW. Located about half hour from Byron Bay, the falls are surrounded by walking tracks and offer great views of the hinterland.Posted by OZBEACHES on Monday, 6 March 2017
If you’re ready for some adventure, how about a hike through the rainforest?
The Minyon Falls walking track is a good activity if you have about three or four hours to spare in the afternoon. Nestled in Nightcap National Park, it leads you through about 6 km (3.7 miles) of rainforest, to the majestic waterfall. The rainforest you’ll be passing through is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, which is a World Heritage Area, and the world’s largest area of subtropical rainforest. Home to a number of threatened species such as the red goshawk, regent bowerbirds and the barred frog, the walk makes for a great educational experience for children, too.
All you’ll need are some sturdy walking shoes, sunscreen, and a bottle of water. The weather is mild in winter months and hotter in summer, but don’t forget to check the forecast before setting off.
Address: Nightcap National Park, Minyon Platform Track, Whian Whian NSW 2480, Australia
Duration: 3 - 4 hours
Website: National Parks - Minyon Falls
A great destination for natural beauty
If you’re looking to escape the bustle of the busier cities, Byron Bay is a haven that’ll give you the refuge you need. The majesty of the natural biodiversity here is something that very few other parts of the world can offer, and it’s a beautiful place to reconnect with nature. Stop over for two or three days if you’re visiting New South Wales – we promise you’ll leave feeling spiritually rejuvenated.
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