The New South Wales coastline is home to some of the world’s prettiest beaches. Some of these beaches happen to be in and around Byron Bay in the northeastern corner of New South Wales.
Byron Bay is a popular beach-side town that attracts a great amount of travelers each year. Despite its ever-growing popularity and influx of visitors, Byron Bay has never lost its small town laid-back atmosphere.
Initially making a name for itself as a busy industrial port town, Byron Bay has slowly transitioned into a holiday destination and surfing hot spot since the 1960’s. Which is no surprise, with so many great beaches at its doorstep.
Beaches of Byron Bay
Let’s have a closer look at Byron Bay’s beaches, so you know where to go when you next visit Australia’s most vibrant coastal town. We’re doing this tour in a clockwise manner, starting at Belongil Beach, located just west of Byron Bay’s city centre.
One of the best ways to get a good glimpse of all beaches is by following the Byron Bay lighthouse walking track, starting and finishing at Byron Bay’s main beach.
1. Belongil Beach
Often overlooked by tourists, Belongil Beach is a 2.5km stretch of sand between the mouth of Belongil Creek in the west and the seawall and Byron Bay car park further east. A much quieter alternative to Byron Bay’s main beach, Belongil Beach is great for families and dog owners.
In 1921, a 2K ton passenger steamship stranded in the surf right in front of Belongil Beach. This shipwreck is still visible and is now a popular snorkelling spot.
Named The Wreck, this section of Belongil Beach, just north of the seawall, is also a popular surfing spot. It’s a sheltered reef break with consistent swells.
2. Main Beach
Stretching from the main car park at the end of Jonson Street all the way to Clarkes Beach and The Pass further east, Byron Bay’s iconic main beach is conveniently situated directly in front of the town’s centre. It’s great for swimming with usually mild waves.
A large grassy park area right behind the beach is a popular venue, with great facilities such as picnic tables, barbeques, toilet blocks and playgrounds. It attracts locals and visitors of all sorts and backgrounds, creating a pleasantly harmonious atmosphere.
Byron Bay’s main beach is patrolled by surf life savers year-round, with their club house located in the centre of the beach. Established in 1907, the Byron Bay Surf Club is one of Australia’s oldest surf life saving clubs.
3. Clarkes Beach
Further around the bay towards the east, Byron Bay’s main beach flows into Clarkes Beach, a quiet north-facing strip of sand with beachfront parking, great facilities and a large caravan park.
Clarkes Beach is great for swimming as the waves are relatively small, but big enough to make them suitable for learn-to-surf programs that are often held here. It’s also a popular snorkeling spot, with some rocky areas close to the shore.
4. The Pass
Located at the very end of Clarkes Beach towards the Fisherman’s Lookout, The Pass is one of Byron Bay’s surfing hot spots. On days with perfect conditions, surfers can expect to ride waves for hundreds of metres.
When visiting The Pass, don’t forget to climb up the Fisherman’s Lookout, which offers lovely views of The Pass, Clarkes Beach and Main Beach.
The Pass Cafe, just behind the beach on Brooke Drive, offers a great range of breakfast and lunch options, surrounded by lush rainforest and with excellent views from the outside deck.
5. Wategos Beach
By many considered to be the prettiest beach in the Byron Bay area, Wategos Beach is a pleasantly sheltered strip of sand with a relaxed vibe and great facilities. Wategos produces a friendly surf, suitable for learner surfers.
Located between Cape Byron and the Fisherman’s Lookout, below the Byron Bay Lighthouse, Wategos Beach can be accessed by foot via the Cape Byron walking track. Alternatively, there is limited parking available along Marine Parade just behind the beach.
6. Little Wategos Beach
Next door neighbour is Little Wategos Beach, Australia’s most easterly beach, accessible by foot via a sidetrack from the Byron Bay Lighthouse walk. Only 150m long, this north facing beach is great for swimming, sun bathing and also rock fishing.
If you’re looking for an even more sheltered and isolated strip of sand, Little Wategos may be the perfect spot for you.
7. Tallows Beach
Located south of Cape Byron in Arakwal National Park, Tallows Beach is a very long stretch of sand that connects with Broken Head further south. Lighthouse Road leading to the Byron Bay Lighthouse provides excellent views of Tallows Beach.
The northern tip of this beach, also known as the Cosy Corner, is another popular surfing hot spot with surf breaks that are protected from the northerly winds.