Duration: 1-2 hours
Price Guide: $0
This walk takes you to some of Australia’s best surfing and swimming spots. Bring your gear if the weather is suitable.
There are several routes you can take up to Cape Byron Lighthouse, but the most scenic by far crosses three of Byron’s adjoining beaches; main beach, Clarke’s beach and Watego’s beach. Start at main beach; is directly in front of the town of Byron Bay.
As you walk onto the main beach, turn right.
The main beach of Byron is perfect for both swimmers and surfers, be it beginners or pros (surf lessons are very popular here). At peak season the beach is positively strewn with tourists all hankering for a taste of the idyllic lifestyle enjoyed so thoroughly by the locals.
Continue along main beach. This soon merges into Clarke’s Beach.
As you walk you will notice Clarke’s Beach curves around, facing north – this makes it more suited to sports such as windsurfing and paragliding than Main Beach. Just offshore is Lighthouse Road, where you will find Captain Cook’s lookout – said to be good for spotting wildlife such as wallabies and feral goats.
Continue along Clarke’s Beach for about 10 minutes.
Clarke’s beach ends and you will see the fisherman’s lookout; a good place to check the surf.
If Wategoe’s is not accessible from the beach (during high tide), walk around The Pass to your right. Serious note: trying to clamber over the rocks in the hope of a lazy shortcut is dangerous. Not to mention impossible in flip flops. It’s a very hazardous thirty feet. So I wouldn’t recommend it.
As the most popular surf break on the north coast, The Pass is, as you can imagine, a little treacherous at times, so be careful if you’re not too sure of what you’re doing on your board!
Walk up the ramp and through the carpark, there is a path leading to Wategoe’s Beach on the left, walking its length takes about 10-15 minutes, with some lovely views overlooking the coast. When you reach the beach, keep walking towards the right. (By now you will be able to see the lighthouse on the cliff ahead).
Watego’s Beach is small, sheltered and less packed than the main beach, which can only be a good thing for most people! Undoubtedly the perfect place to wile away the hours sunbathing and swimming – and if you fancy making a day of it, there’s also a picnic area with free electric barbeques.
At the end of Watego’s, there is a ramp leading up to your right. Follow this around; at the top there is an information board pointing out directions and distances to various landmarks. Take the path leading up to your left.
This path is known as the Cape Byron walking track, and takes you through a coastal rainforest and you ascend to the lighthouse. As you near the top (which will take you around 20 minutes) you will find yourself on Cape Byron; (named by Captain Cook after the grandfather of poet Lord Byron). Here you will find a lookout that is officially the ‘most easterly point of Australian mainland’. This is the best location for whale watching, not to mention dolphins!
Follow the path up around to the lighthouse.
Cape Byron Lighthouse is an awesome sight; standing 22 metres high and perched on a dramatic point of headland. It was built in 1901 by Charles Harding in the style of James Barnet, his predecessor. The blinding light which beams from the tower is the most powerful of all of Australia’s lighthouses. All in all, quite impressive!
To get back down, you can either go back the way you came, or alternatively there is another route which leads down the other side of the cliff, descending steeply down through more rainforest and exiting you onto Lee Road, which can be followed around to town.