Byron Bay is more than just a tourist mecca, it’s also my home. I’ve spent more than half my life living in and around the shire, strolling its rainbow-filled streets and regularly kicking back at the top park with a burrito in hand as the blue sky melts to brilliant pinks and gold.
The town is always evolving with new bars, restaurants, and designer stores I can’t afford to shop in calling it home, but there are plenty of things that have remained constant too. One of those is its natural beauty – it’s easily one of the most stunning places in the country.
If you’re looking to enjoy town’s natural wonders, the Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk is the place to start. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Byron.
This gorgeous loop weaves along the golden sands of Clarkes Beach, skirts the always-busy surf break at The Pass, crosses the headland at Wategos Beach and eventually leads up to the lighthouse atop Cape Byron – Australia’s most easterly point. After you breathe in the ocean views, the path meanders down through coastal rainforest to the start of the track.
That’s the walk in a nutshell, but there’s more to it than that.
Here’s all you need to know.
Length: Up to 4km
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Duration: 1 to 2 hours (depending on how much you want to enjoy the view)
Starting Point: Byron Bay SLSC / Clarkes Beach Carpark
Finishing Point: Clarks Beach Carpark / Byron Bay SLSC
There are two main starting points: Byron Bay SLSC or Captain Cook Lookout.
Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club
Perfect if you want a little extra distance. You can either stroll the foreshore towards the lighthouse or walk along the beachfront. Once you reach the Clarkes Beach Carpark just walk down the concrete path to the beachfront and continue around to The Pass.
Captain Cook Lookout / Clarkes Beach Carpark
The loop track finishes directly opposite the carpark, so this is a more convenient option. If you start from the Clarkes Beach carpark, walk down the concrete path to the beachfront. From here you just stroll east along the sand towards the busy surf break at The Pass.
Once you reach The Pass, take a little time to soak up the serenity. You’ll spot surfers vying for the best wave, dive boats launching or returning, and people climbing up and down the stairs of the lookout to enjoy the view.
After you’re done, walk up the stairs or boat ramp to the carpark and across to the far side. You’ll see a brick pathway leading up and around the headland. While you’re here, there’s also a nice detour loop leading through the palm forest – it’s around 100m in length.
As you cross the headland, you’ll see the gorgeous beach at Wategos stretching before you.
Continue along the brick path and then follow the footpath beside the road to the far side of the beach. Don’t forget to look back and soak up the view of Wategos and Main Beach. At the other side of the beach you’ll see a brick pathway leading up into the Cape Byron State Conservation Area.
As you follow the path there will be a side path down to the left – take it. Welcome to Little Wategos Beach. The lookout at the end of the rocky point offers beautiful views of the beach and back to towards Main Beach.
The small island you can see if the distance is Julian Rocks, an amazing local dive spot where the tropical waters of the north and cool waters of the south meet. As a result, it offers an incredible diversity of marine life, from vibrant soft corals to sharks and green turtles.
Back at the main path, turn left and head up the stairs.
Cape Byron Lighthouse
Welcome to the most easterly point of the Australian mainland! The lookout here is a fantastic place to sit, catch your breath, and breathe stunning views across the bay.
Sitting proudly atop the cape, Cape Byron Lighthouse has been a defining feature of the town since the turn of the 19th century. It was operated by resident lighthouse keepers until 1989 but is now fully automated. There’s a great maritime museum and coffee shop in the nearby cottage, as well as fixed binoculars if you want to get a closer look over the bay.
After exploring the lighthouse area, walk towards the vehicle access road and follow the pathway down the hill. Enjoy views of Tallows Beach to the south. Note: the pathway does not follow the road all the way down.
Tallow Ridge Track
You’ll spot a brick pathway adjacent to a small parking area leading up to the left. Take it. From here things get more organic and uneven, so good walking shoes are essential!
The dirt pathway leads up and down through the coastal rainforest, beneath huge Bangalow palms. Bird song and the wind rustling the trees are usually the only sounds you’ll hear.
The path has one way in and one way out. Follow it through to the other side where you’ll emerge at Lee Lane, across the road from Captains Cook Lookout. If you started at the Surf Club, just follow the concrete pathway alongside Lawson Street back to the clubhouse.
The wonderful thing about the walk is it changes throughout the day. The early morning sunrise, the midday shine, the late afternoon glow… it’s magic at any time.
Have you completed the Lighthouse Walk? What’s your favourite section?