Cape Byron Headland Reserve
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Situated about 3.5km east of Byron Bay’s township, Cape Byron is the most easterly point of mainland Australia and home to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. The spectacular headland juts out into the Pacific Ocean, offering unsurpassed views of Byron Bay, its beaches, and the hinterland.
Cape Byron is a part of both the Cape Byron State Conservation Area, and the 22,000-hectare Cape Byron Marine Park.
Cape Byron’s history begins with its traditional custodians, the Bundjalung of Byron Bay, the Arakwal Bumberlin people. A place of ceremony and learning, the Cape Byron headland, known as Walgun, features in numerous Dreaming stories. Many believe a ‘dancing circle’ was once situated on the peak of Cape Byron, and was removed in 1899 in preparation for the construction of the lighthouse.
The Arakwal Bumberlin people continue to care for Cape Byron, and work closely with the Cape Byron Marine Park.
On May 15, 1770, English explorer Captain James Cook passed the Cape Byron Headland. He named the landmark after fellow explorer John Byron.
One of the main attractions of the Cape Byron headland is the Cape Byron Lighthouse. Standing 22-metres high, perched 94 metres above sea level, Byron Bay’s icon was built in 1901 to reduce shipping hazards along the dangerous stretch of coast.
Cape Byron Lighthouse is still an important shipping aid today, and is managed and maintained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
In addition to the lighthouse, visitors are drawn to the overwhelming natural beauty of Cape Byron. The headland boasts dramatic sea cliffs, rare vegetation, abundant wildlife (dolphins, whales, sea turtles, sea birds, wallabies, and more), grassy expanses, and picture-perfect beaches.
The crest of Cape Byron is one of the best whale watching vantage points in Australia, with around 30,000 humpback whales passing the coast between June and November each year.
One of the best ways to experience the diverse landscape of Cape Byron is to hike the Cape Byron walking track. The 3.7km loop takes about 2 hours, and is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. If you’d like an easier or shorter walk, the walkway can be accessed at multiple points. Or, you can drive to the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
Activities at Cape Byron
Cape Byron Walking Track
Weave your way through lush rainforest, and hike across grassy clifftops as you take in the sights and sounds of Cape Byron. The Cape Byron walking track features 3.7km of clearly signposted walkways. Classified as a Grade 3 walk, the track includes many stairs, and short, steep inclines. The walking track can be entered via the Cape Byron Conservation Area or Palm Valley car park.
Cape Byron Lighthouse Tour
Take a 20-minute, volunteer-run tour of the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. Take advantage of the 360-degree views from the top of Australia’s most easterly point. Tours run from 10am – 3pm daily for a gold-coin donation.
Cape Byron Lighthouse Maritime Museum
Situated at the base of the Byron Bay lighthouse – in what was once the head lightkeepers office – the Cape Byron Lighthouse Maritime Museum gives visitors a unique historical insight into the lighthouse and town of Byron Bay. The Maritime Museum is open 7 days, 10am – 4pm.
Whale Watching at Cape Byron
Cape Byron Headland is a renowned whale watching destination. Between June and November each year, tens of thousands of humpback whales pass the coast on their annual migration. Cape Byron is one of five National Parks in Australia that host the national whale migration census day in June.
First Sun New Years’ Day Event
Set your intention for the New Year at the annual First Sun New Years’ Day celebration at the Cape Byron Lighthouse. Join hundreds of people as they welcome the year’s first light with meditation and yoga. This is a free, family-friendly event.
Watch the Sunrise
Be the first in Australia to see the sunrise at Cape Byron Headland. Every day, many gather at the Cape Byron Lighthouse to watch the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean. You’re sure to spot a dolphin or two!
Facts & Figures
Name Origin: The Arakwal Bumberlin name ‘Walgun’ means ‘the shoulder’. The name ‘Cape Byron’ was given by Captain James Cook in honour of John Byron, a British explorer.
Distance from Byron Bay: 3.5km from Jonson Street (approx. 9-minute drive)
Parking: Car parks are available opposite the Cape Byron Information Centre. An $8 entry fee per vehicle applies. Parking is limited during peak times.
- Cape Byron Information Centre
- Paved walking tracks
- Picnic tables
Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ's
Where is Cape Byron NSW?
Cape Byron is located in the north east of New South Wales in the Northern Rivers region. Cape Byron is a part of the Byron Shire.
Where is Cape Byron in Australia?
Cape Byron is located on the east coast of Australia in northern New South Wales. Cape Byron is the most easterly point of mainland Australia.
Where to eat in Cape Byron?
Cape Byron is a part of the Cape Byron State Conservation Area and Cape Byron Marine Park. Accordingly, there is just one cafe/kiosk on the Cape Byron Headland itself, the Cape Byron Lighthouse Cafe.
What is Cape Byron known for?
Cape Byron is known as the most easterly point of mainland Australia. It is also home to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, and is a popular whale watching destination.
What is Cape Byron like?
With spectacular cliff faces and uninterrupted views of Byron’s beaches, rolling hinterland, and the magnificent Pacific Ocean, Cape Byron is one of Australia's natural wonders.
What does Cape Byron mean?
The name Cape Byron was given by Captain James Cook in honour of British explorer John Byron. The Arakwal Bumberlin name, Walgun, means 'the shoulder'.
What to do at Cape Byron?
Take in the natural beauty by hiking the Cape Byron walking track, watching the sunrise, or spotting whales off the coast between June and November. Learn about the history of Byron Bay and the Cape Byron Lighthouse at the Cape Byron Lighthouse Maritime Museum.
How far is Cape Byron from Brisbane?
Cape Byron is 168km from Brisbane, about a 2 hour and 20 minute drive via the M1.
How far is Cape Byron from Byron Bay?
Cape Byron is 3.5km from the town of Byron Bay, about a 9 minute drive.
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