Byron Bay Beach Guide
Byron’s beaches are what makes it famous – and with good reason. The coastline and its headlands create a huge variety of conditions and types of beach – from the long, almost deserted stretches of Belongil Beach to the north and Tallow Beach to the south, through to the rolling surf and northern aspect of Wategos which is unparalleled as a site for an evening barbecue while watching the waves.
Byron’s string of beaches stretches for over 40 kilometres and includes safe family beaches patrolled by lifeguards, secluded and deserted beaches, optional clothing beaches and our internationally renowned surfing beaches.
The beaches of Byron Bay are nothing less than sensational. Right on the town’s front doorstep, Main Beach is a huge sweep of sand with something for every beach lover.
Down towards the lighthouse, The Pass is a popular surf break for long-boarders and, at the foot of Cape Byron itself, Wategos is another hot spot, great for swimming and these are north-facing beaches, and when the surf turns it on, it’s epic. Rides – long and fast on tubular waves over a sandy bottom – feel like an aircushion. Dolphins sometimes surf alongside for company.
To the south of the lighthouse, Tallow Beach runs for seven kilometres to Broken Head, however this beach is not patrolled.
From north to south, Byron’s beaches are:
Step off the northern end of the main beach carpark and you’re on Belongil Beach, with the sand stretching out all the way to Brunswick Heads. Just off the rock wall of the carpark is the Wreck, a popular surf break formed by the wreck of the SS Wollongbar. The further north you go the less people there are. By the time you reach Belongil Creek which spills across the sand and empties its tea-tree stained water into the ocean, Belongil is clothing optional and is often quite deserted, especially in winter. Dogs are allowed on some sections of Belongil Beach and it is the only place in Byron where houses are built on the beach front.
Byron Bay’s main street meets Main Beach at the carpark and the surf club. The park between the pub and the beachfront is a very popular gathering spot. You can enjoy some fish and chips on the grass, watch buskers and fire dancers and if you’re lucky, see the creation of a giant sand sculpture each evening in front of the surfclub. The beach is patrolled in summer and is the busiest stretch of sand in the shire.
Not a separate beach, but an area between Main Beach and The Pass, Clarkes Beach is where the bay begins to curve around. Conditions change regularly, but there is often a wide stretch of sand here, good for ball games and children.
If you want to swim or surf at The Pass you need to be alert. Dozens of surfers jostle close to the rocks to catch of the famous waves on this point break and dive boats launch right through the middle of them, so keep your wits about you, watch out for surfboards and keep an ear out for the blast of an air horn. Climb up to Fisherman’s Lookout for a view around to Wategos and to get a bird’s eye view of the skill of the surfers below. Parents often take children to frolic in the shallows here and a café up in the trees means you’ll stay well nourished. There are a couple of barbecues up under the trees near the showers.
The price of property at Wategos Beach has set a new benchmark in the region - but don’t be put off by the expensive tag. This small beach faces north and is one of the few places where you can sit under trees, look out at the water and barbecue your own dinner (or breakfast). The long rolling northerly swells make this a sublime longboarding spot and on Sunday mornings you’ll often run into the Byron Longboarding Club in the picnic area. Whales and dolphins often pass close off shore.
If you walk further around towards the easternmost point you’ll come to Little Wategos, a tiny stretch of beach that sometimes almost disappears. If you’re lucky you’ll be there when the conditions are perfect for a secluded swim and sunbake at Australia’s most easterly beach. At the very least you can have a great rock scramble.
Moving to the south of the lighthouse, Cosy Corner is the name of the sheltered north end of Tallow Beach, a favourite surf spot and the only sheltered place for miles when there’s a strong north-east breeze blowing. Like all of Tallow Beach (of which it is a part), the waves can be treacherous. If the breeze is right you can be surprised by a hang glider that’s been circling the lighthouse coming in to land quietly beside you on the sand.
This long, wild stretch of beach runs all the way from below Byron Bay lighthouse down to Broken Head in the south. It’s beautiful for long, uninterrupted walks, spotting birds (pelicans are common), beach fishing and surfing – though swimmers should take care as it can be dangerous. Watching the full moon rise from anywhere on Tallow Beach is unforgettable.
At the far south end of Tallow Beach, Broken Head is another favourite surf spot. There are walking tracks up around the headland where you can sit and watch the birds roosting on the rocky outcrops or look out for whales.
South of Broken Head
Kings, Brays and Whites beaches are tiny parcels of sand amongst the rocky headlands south of Broken Head. If you want secluded swimming and sunbathing with clothing being optional, head this way and be prepared for some bush scrambling to get there. Kings Beach is a gay hangout.
Click Here to see Surfcam Byron Bay