If there is one thing that you should do when staying, or even passing near Byron Bay, and that is to visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse. And there is no better way to really soak in the extraordinary views that are commanded from every side of the Lighthouse, than walking to the top.
Warning sailors of the rocky, Eastern most point of Australia, Cape Byron Lighthouse has lit up the Byron Bay skies since it’s construction in 1901. Today the Lighthouse stands crisp and proud at the apex of the cape, and whilst the light pans around the cape every evening, it is a destination in itself for many explorers during the day.
Head up to the lighthouse from Main Beach starting on Bay Street. Most of the 4 km walk tramps over boardwalks and paths however there is a short part where there is no footpath or boardwalk, so please be careful on these parts. The road climbs through rainforest with lush palms and curious hanging vines, and then when you reach the first lookout over Tallows Beach the flora changes to windswept, scrubby bush of the Arakwal National Park. Keep going up the boardwalk path and you’ll reach the Lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers cottages (that you can rent if you really want to spend some time at this glorious place). The views are spectacular, so do take your time just looking. Byron Bay’s beaches stretch out to one side and splendid Tallows Beach and Arakwal National Park are on the other side of the cape. Pause and look out into the emerald green sea as you may well spot pods of dolphins surfing on the waves and performing their incredible acrobatic displays, and you’ll see (and definitely hear) all manner of bird life going about their daily tasks amongst the trees and bush.
Pick up a coffee from the very elegant Raes, or if you can’t get enough of this place and this walk, keep going up the path, that climbs along the coastline from the westerly end of Wategoes as it will take you along a boardwalk (cleverly done so that you experience the landscape whilst not trampling on it) up and over the hill to The Pass, from scrubby bush back into lush rainforest.
For those who are super fit, you can do the whole walk in reverse. But please be aware that the stairs are numerous and steep so, whilst you definitely won’t need the gym that day, it isn’t a great direction for those wanting a leisurely stroll. And if you are in a rush, then you can drive up to the lighthouse. There is an $8 parking fee, but it’s well worth it and the money is used for protecting the wildlife and upkeep of the park. There is a cafe between the cottages and the lighthouse, which commands views across Byron Bay’s beaches, so if you aren’t walking back down - or even if you are - pop in a have a coffee and a look before setting out again.
Banner Photo Credit: Visit NSW