There’s no shortage of beautiful places to see around Byron Bay. I mean, we all know that. But did you know that exploring on foot gives you access some of the best places available?
The greater Byron area has a wealth of natural treasures that are just waiting to be explored, from dramatic sun-drenched coastlines to subtropical remnant rainforests.
Not sure where to start?
Here are 5 of the best walks to tick off your list.
1. Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
When considering the best walks around Byron Bay it's impossible not to include the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk. It's a classic. Not only do you get stunning panoramic vistas from the lighthouse itself, you also get the cool shade of coastal rainforest, beautiful beaches to have a quick dip and lots of cafes to stop and treat yourself.
It's the kind of walk you could take a half a day over and experience some of the best of what Byron has to offer in one impressive loop.
The walk has lots of steps and some steep sections so while it's ideal for taking young kids on your back it's not a good walk for a stroller
2. Big Scrub Loop
The Big Scrub rainforest once covered northeastern NSW and was the largest area of subtropical rainforest in Australia, covering a whopping 900 square kilometres. Less than 1% of the Big Scrub remains today. However significant remnants of lowland subtropical and littoral rainforest (one of the rarest types in Australia) still exist.
One such rare remnant sits in the Rocky Creek Dam area of Nightcap National Park and has a beautiful walking trail that loops its way through it.
The old-growth forest is stunningly beautiful and rich with life so if you want to hear and see the forest wildlife it's not a bad idea to do the walk slowly and quietly.
3. Shaws Bay in Ballina
Shaws Bay is at the mouth of the Richmond River in Ballina. The North Wall of the river creates the bay and offers a fabulous vantage point up the Richmond River. It's an expansive walk with lots of variety. Perfect for a family walk, the beautiful river beaches offer gentle resting spots and a nice place for a dip on a hot day.
4. Brummies Lookout
The majestic Wollumbin or Mt Warning is the most outstanding feature in the area. Wollumbin is the remnant core of the Tweed volcano, which formed around 23 million years ago when the whole area was a volcanic hotbed. It's visible from several places in the Byron and Tweed areas, including Cape Byron.
One of the more unique views of Wollumbin is from Brummies Lookout in Wollumbin National Park which offers vast and rare views of the sheer western cliff face of Wollumbin.
5. Norries Head Loop
Cabarita Beach is a coastal gem. The quaint little town has beautiful beaches and one of the best restaurants in the area - Paper Daisy. It's an easy place to explore on foot and the locals have put great effort into creating beautiful walking areas. The Norries Head Loop takes you out to Norries Headland, a perfect place to do some whale spotting during whale season.
Want to explore further? Check out the Byron Trails guidebook for a complete guide to the best of the natural gems in the area.
A PIVOTAL conversation began last week, on the topic of Ecological Healing and what the term means both locally and globally.
The conversation was sparked ahead of next month’s inaugural Fields of Healing event and was facilitated by the event’s Community Director, Adam Collett who has been working closely with the team at Unity Earth - the organisation responsible for co-ordinating the gathering.
The event which will attract indigenous leaders from across the globe will be held at the North Byron Parklands over the weekend of November 24 and 25 and aims to highlight three key pillars, explained Mr Collett; the concepts of intercultural, ecological and personal healing.
Last week’s conversation invited a diverse group of innovative leaders with varying backgrounds from across the region to share their wisdom, experience and unique skillsets. The group collectively explored moving forward with a number of creative real-world solutions that can serve to heal our relationship with the planet.
The Northern Rivers is home to an incredible amount of innovation in the field of regenerative agriculture and building a circular economy. Fields of Healing is an opportunity to showcase the solutions emerging within our community to a global audience; while also creating a space for us to learn from each other and the incredible wisdom held by this collective of Indigenous Elders from around the world.
"We have a chance to leave a legacy within this, a collective vision with tangible outcomes that help us build new pathways towards ecological healing on the earth," Mr Collett said.
If you're interested in being a part of the solution and evolving the concept of ecological healing, you can contribute by sharing your knowledge and learning about ways in which we can reduce our impact on the earth by attending Fields Of Healing 2018.
Two day convergence of global Indigenous leaders, live music, workshops, panels, art, healing, ecology & more! Visit the website for more information, or to book your tickets fieldsofhealing.com.au.
UNITY EARTH presents “Fields of Healing: A Journey of Awakening”
BYRON BAY, NOVEMBER 24-25, 2018:
An historic convergence of local and global Indigenous leaders joining artists, activists, musicians and healers for the inaugural “Fields of Healing” event at North Byron Parklands.
Legendary Eskimo Shaman from Greenland, Uncle Angaangaq to visit Australia for the first time
Grammy Nominated Reggae Star Rocky Dawuni and other acclaimed international Artists coming to support the event
Hereditary Dakota Chief and Global Unity Activist Chief Phil Lane Junior’s first visit to Australia
Dr. Mindahi Bastida, Director for the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics, returns to Australia for Fields of Healing
Commemorating the one-year anniversary of the momentous occasion of the Return to Country of Mungo Man. Indigenous people from the Lake Mungo descendants coming to Byron offering ceremony and songs for healing
UNITY EARTH is partnering with local indigenous community and other grassroots community organisations
Sam Cook, an indigenous Australian woman with a global profile and track record of event management is Event Director for Fields of Healing
A truly historic gathering, Fields of Healing, is to be held at North Byron Parklands, on the 24th and 25th November 2018. The event will bring together line-up of renowned healers, musicians, artists and thought-leaders for a historic “Convergence of Healing”. The event is co-hosted with local Minyungbal Song Man Uncle Magpie, traditional custodian of the land where this unique global-gathering is taking place. UNITY EARTH is also working closely with neighbouring custodian Auntie Delta Kay of the Arakwal people and working in collaboration with the excellent Culture Aware initiative. The inaugural event Fields of Healing is delighted to also feature outstanding international acts Kristin Hoffman, Premik Russel Tubbs and GRAMMY® nominated Rocky Dawuni. Rocky was recently appointed a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment. Local artists including Áine Tyrrell and Dane Kennedy are also performing.
Uncle Angaangaq from Greenland has been travelling the world since 1975 raising the alarm to the global community about climate change and the melting of the Big Ice in this homeland.
He says “my father told me to never go anywhere without being invited and I am so happy to be invited and accept that invitation, I’ve never been to Australia, I’ve never had a chance to visit you, you are my family, I will come with an open heart. Most importantly I will come with peace in my heart.”
Chief Phil Lane Jr, founder of Four Worlds International Institute has been a global activist working on peace, human unity and reconciliation for decades but like Uncle Angaangaq has never before been to Australia. Uncle Phil who believes that “Fields of Healing, is part of the fulfilment of Indigenous Prophecies everywhere on Mother Earth” is being accompanied by his Dakoda “Koda” (spiritual brother) Darcy Demas. Chief Phil says “both myself and my Koda Darcy Demas are so looking forward to visiting our relatives in Australia for Fields of Healing in November. We are fulfilling a journey my beloved father always talked about. He said they have very good horses in Australia”.
Of further historic importance, the event will also mark the one-year anniversary of the deeply historic Return to Country of Mungo Man in November 2017. This profound healing moment when the ancient remains of Mungo Man, a 42 000 years old human ancestor, were returned to his country in the Willandra Lakes Region of New South Wales, marks an important moment for Australia’s waking up and growing up. Representatives of the Indigenous group associated with Lake Mungo will attend Fields of Healing, continuing the important healing journey of this Ancestral Spirit.
Dr Mindahi C. Bastida Munoz is a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi Peoples of Mexico and Director for the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Dr Bastida was one of the international dignitaries at the Mungo Man Return to County commemorations in 2017 and is delighted to be returning To Australia for Fields of Healing, saying:
“After attending the historic ceremonies of Return to Country of Mungo Man last November in Mildura, I am excited to be returning to Australia for Fields of Healing in Byron Bay. This is a great opportunity to strengthen our connections with aboriginal peoples and our aboriginal brothers and sisters from ancestral Australia. Also for the healing and balancing Mother Earth through ritual ceremonies in Australia’s Sacred Sites”.
North Byron Parklands is a stunningly beautiful 660-acre cultural arts and music events venue. It is country which has deep significance for the local Aboriginal groups the Minyungbal and Arakwal people.
The two-day gathering is designed as both a “gathering” and a “retreat” offering an intimate experience capped at just 1500 people to ensure intimacy of attendees and delegates. Sam Cook is the Creative Director, herself an indigenous Australian and highly credentialed Festival director with decades of experience utilising the Arts as a force for healing and cultural expression. These two life-affirming days on the beautiful North Byron Parklands will be a deep shared experience of healing, intercultural community and personal transformation with powerful music, soulful food, healing ceremonies and healing circles. The event is alcohol and drug free and is designed to be family friendly with special activities for children who come along. It is a not for profit event. Unity Earth invite all who feel called, to come and gather for this powerful and historic event. Early bird tickets are available until September 30th. Go to www.fieldsofhealing.com.au for more info and to book.
Unity Earth Background
Unity Earth is a worldwide collective dedicated to promoting intercultural harmony, healing, and transformation through music, events and by weaving stories together into larger inclusive narratives. Unity Earth was a convenor and sponsor of the Return to Country Festival commemorating Mungo Man’s homecoming in 2017 as well as U Day Festival in Ethiopia in 2018. U Day Festival is planned for India in 2019 and Jerusalem in 2020.
Cape Byron Lighthouse Sunday, 24th June, 7am to 4pm
The census is organised by ORRCA and relies on volunteers to get outdoors and record how many whales are spotted. This data is used to help understand more about whale populations and their migration along the NSW coast.
There will be ORRCA and National Parks volunteers at the Cape Byron State Conservation Area, the perfect spot to join in the annual Whale Census. Spot whales from the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse or take in the sights along the Cape Byron walking track.
New Age Lager reminds us to preserve the beauty of our backyard...
Set to quench thirsts as the weather heats up, Big Scrub - Stone & Wood's refreshing new age lager is back. Only brewed from time to time, Big Scrub will be going on tap and hitting shelves across the country mid October.
Protect your local rainforest! With only 1% left of the largest sub-tropical rainforest on the East coast, the remnants of Big Scrub serve as a reminder to preserve the natural beauty of our backyard, and are the inspiration for our Beers from our Backyard limited release.
Our Big Scrub is a new age lager. It’s different to traditional lagers by being dry hopped, using new world hops and it’s left unfiltered. It pours golden with a slight haze from extended cold maturation (5 weeks), with a luscious, creamy head. Big Scrub balances ﬂoral aromatics, spicy herbal notes and hints of citrus from the dry hopping. It has a dry, firm bitterness that makes for a moreish finish.
We are lucky to live in one of the greatest places on Earth, with an incredible hinterland that needs to be protected and appreciated. Big Scrub is our local rainforest, that once covered 75,000ha prior to European settlement. It was the largest area of subtropical rainforest on the East Coast of Australia, and is an important part of Australia’s rich biodiversity heritage.
For us, we are conscious of treading lightly on earth and are inspired by the incredible regeneration and restoration work of our local community, work that has helped save our local rainforest. Leading the charge is Big Scrub Landcare, a not-for-profit we continue to support, working together to raise awareness and actively preserve our hinterland.
Footprints Gear opened in early 2017 by Greg and Brigid Kramer who wanted to combine their passion for outdoor adventure with a lifelong dedication to philanthropy and social change. Now, Footprint Gear sells the top outdoor adventure gear with 100% of proceeds going to charity.
Available brands include Deuter packs, Marmot, Rab, Black Diamond, Camelbak, Petzl, Keen, Teva, MSR and Smart Wool amongst many others. If it's not on their website, let Greg and Brigid know, and they can get it for you.
Here's how Footprints Gear works.
Footprints Gear is a registered charity. To start, several people donated to leave the store debt free and liquid. They do pay one wage (the majority of people involved with the charity are volunteers), rent, and electricity. After that, ALL profits go to charity.
Footprints Gear currently supports three charities, and customers are able to choose which charity the profits from their purchase goes to. The charities currently supported are Bowel Cancer Australia (research), World Youth International (overseas education) and Project Didi (supporting girls who have been rescued after being sex trafficked from Nepal). In the future, Footprints Gear hopes to suport 10, 20, even 30 different charities.
Bishal, photographed below, is currently being sponsored by Footprints Gear at World Youth International School in Nepal. He lost all of his family in the 2015 earthquake.
Footprints Gear supporters are well-versed in adventure, and include Geoff Bartram, who has an OAM for mountaineering having established a new route up Mt Everest. Other supporters have paddled a dugout canoe 500km down the Congo River, tracked wild gorillas, and led numerous trips to Nepal, West Papua, Tasmania, New Zealand and the Ruwenzories in Uganda, as well as trips to Europe such as the Camino.
Footprint Gear's outdoor expertise is unrivaled, so you can rest assured knowing that their advice and gear is of the highest quality, and that all profits go directly to charity!
You can find Footprints Gear at www.footprintsgear.org, or on Facebook. Or drop into the store at 71 Main Street, Alstonville, NSW, 2477 - just a short drive from Byron Bay!
For your personal travel or for organising group travel of business travel ventures get in touch.
Pangea Maps release 3D wooden contour map of Byron Bay and partner with local nonprofit Clean Coast Collective.
Not your typical maps... Pangea creates an experience with the water by showcasing the ocean floor in stunning detail. 10% from sales of the unique artworks will fund local Byron Shire cleanups and initiatives for a cleaner coast.
Pangea Maps have released a new map to add to their collection of iconic Australian coastlines. Byron Bay was the obvious choice for designer and creator Tom Percy, who has already crafted and sold maps of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for the past 2 years. The new map will feature the most easterly point of Australia, Cape Byron, as the centerpiece, with the surrounding ocean floor revealed. Partnering with local nonprofit, Clean Coast Collective, 10% of all sales will go towards preserving the beauty of this region by supporting initiatives such as local cleanups and a campaign for Plastic Free Byron.
The maps are handmade from laser cut plywood. They depict accurate bathymetric data (“topography for the water”). Made from 13 layers of 1.5mm plywood, each layer represents 45m of water depth. The maps come framed and ready to hang. To celebrate the Byron Bay Launch, a number of limited edition maps will be made using a higher grade wood with a darker finish, and these will be available in a larger size.
Tom Percy is an Industrial Designer who began Pangea Maps as a side project in 2014 and is now working full time mapping the whole Australian coast. He enjoys anything related to the water and wanted to create a 3D representation of the world that lies below the surface. Tom sees the maps as a way of combining modern surveying techniques and CAD technology with the art of cartography.
Pangea Maps accept requests for custom maps from all around the world.
Byron Bay based photographer and documentary filmmaker Evan Malcolm’s short environmental documentary film ‘Lapse of Reason’ has received official selection and has gone on to become a Finalist in the ‘Documentary / Social Commentary’ category at The International Timelapse Festival to be held on August 13, 2016 at The Aero Theatre, Santa Monica, California. His unreleased film ‘Outlapsed’ also received official selection.
The captivating short environmental documentary, which was shown at the Byron Bay Film Festival in 2015, was selected by a world-class panel of judges renowned for their passion, creativity and leadership in the time-lapse art-form. The judges included Godfrey Reggio, Director of the 'Qatsi Trilogy': 'Koyaanisqatsi', ‘Powaqqatsi' and ‘Naqoyqatsi'.
'Lapse of Reason' will be screened at The Timelapse Festival Award Ceremony on August 13 to both industry peers and the general public. It's a significant career milestone for the Byron Bay-based documentary filmmaker to be acknowledged for his creative work at an international level.
“It is such a privilege to be recognised by some of my peers in time-lapse and documentary film-making, including Godfrey Reggio who directed ‘Koyaanisqatsi', probably the most important film in the evolution of time-lapse film-making” said Evan. “To be screened alongside the leading time-lapse film-makers in the world on an international stage is quite frankly, mind blowing”.
The audience for time-lapse films has grown worldwide and continues to be a passion for Evan’s current and planned projects.
Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Byron Bay
Border Ranges (QLD/NSW Border)
Bald Rock (NSW)
Tibuburra & Sturt NP (North West NSW)
Gibraltar Range NP & Ellenborough Falls (Mid North Coast)
ORIGINAL MUSIC by Trent Crawford
FILM FESTIVAL SCREENINGS
Byron Bay Film Festival 2015
The Timelapse Film Festival 2016
'Lapse of Reason' has been released independently. View more of Evan Malcolm's work at www.evanmalcolm.com.
Byron Bay is one of Australia’s best destinations to spot the majestic humpback whale on its annual migration from cold Antarctic waters to warmer breeding grounds off the coast of Queensland.
Every year between May and November, an estimated average of 17,000 whales migrate north past the east coast of Australia. Humpback whales are believed to use landmarks to navigate their migration route, causing them to swim close to the coastline. As the country’s most easterly point, Byron Bay is spoilt with up-close views of these incredible creatures.
The International Whale Census Day, held on the last Sunday of June, sees dedicated volunteer whale enthusiasts and visitors count the humpbacks as they pass Cape Byron. In 2016, the count was expected to reach 25,000. However, humpbacks remain listed as vulnerable in New South Wales.
The best vantage point for whale watching on land is the Cape Byron Lighthouse, which stands over the Cape Byron Marine Park. Built over 200 years ago, the lighthouse is accessible by car or by foot, and offers unparalleled panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
Whale Watching Byron Bay can get you even closer to the humpbacks with a number of ocean tours available in Byron Bay. Witness the whales breaching off the coast with a 2.5-hour Whale Watching Cruise. The tour, which departs everyday June through November, accommodates a maximum of 12 people. In addition to whales, customers often see turtles, dolphins, and ocean birds.
Cape Byron Kayaks tours taken during whale season are an exciting way to glimpse the humpbacks from the water. There’s nothing quite like seeing such a huge animal so close up!