A destination acclaimed for its lush hinterland and world-class surfing points, Byron Bay is the coastal town on everyone's bucket list. This northern New South Wales town is founded on surf culture and alternative community that has drawn in travellers from all over the world. Byron Bay's abundance of natural beauty ranges from the rolling mountain ranges, flourishing rainforests, white beaches and gushing waterfalls. This magical coastal and hinterland oasis really does have it all. With so much natural beauty in Byron Bay and the surrounding region, the greatest decision is choosing what to see first.
Best Natural Attractions
If you're wanting to get out of the chaos of inner Byron and avoid the more popular beaches, White’s Beach is the perfect hidden gem that’ll have you blissed out. White’s Beach has made a name for itself by featuring as the number one travel secret of Australia by Australian Traveller. The secluded white sands and rock pools of White’s Beach are located a short drive from the popular tourist destination Broken Head. The dirt road winds through the lush greenery of the surrounding rainforest. Sunrays occasionally break through the eucalypt walls and give a tantalising taste of the coastline below. White’s Beach is about a 2km drive along this road, the spot is unmarked so keep your eyes peeled. There's a scenic hike down to the beach once you’re parked. Wind your way down the cliffs and you’ll soon enough make it onto the creamy sands of White’s Beach, where you’ll be greeted with countless rockpools, beach caves carved out of the surrounding limestone rock walls, palm trees and crystal clear water.
Watego’s Beach is no secret among Byron Bay tourists, but situated right at the end of the cape is it’s smaller and arguably more gorgeous sister Little Wategos. Little Wategos is Australia's most easterly beach and as it can only be reached on foot it is often less crowded than the adjoining Wategos Beach. This small strip of beach is highly protected and is encased with an amphitheatre-like valley of palms and rock formations. After lazing on the beach it’s only a short walk up the hill to the world famous Byron Bay lighthouse.
Lake Ainsworth (Lennox Head)
A 25-minute drive south of Byron to the small neighbouring town of Lennox Head you’ll find Lake Ainsworth. Better known as Tea Tree Lake, this amazing freshwater lake is vividly coloured by the surrounding tea tree plants that drip their oils into the water. The dark amber water entertains many kids swinging from the rope swings into the water or jumping from the overhanging trees branches. Motorboats are not permitted in the lake making it the perfect spot for swimmers, stand up paddle boarders, canoers and kayakers.
There's a plenitude of stunning waterfalls surrounding the Byron Bay hinterland, each one containing such a unique beauty and experience for visitors. Rounding out this list of the top natural and scenic attractions of the Byron Bay area are these three breathtaking waterfalls.
Killen Falls is located 30 minutes from Byron Bay in the small town of Tintenbar. Once you’ve parked there’s a fairly short walk down an unpaved trail to get to the base of the falls. This little rainforest escape will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a secret paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the town. The falls are encircled by moss and green foliage that runs along the damp rock wall of the falls. There’s a hollowed out cave that you can scramble into and watch the water tumbling over the edge and into the water hole.
Nightcap National Park is a goldmine for wonderous hikes and waterfalls. One such place is the World Heritage listed Protestors Falls. To get to the falls you’ll follow a track through the lush and rugged rainforest which will greet you the sweet sounds of running fresh water and a large variety of bird songs. This magnificent walking trail will lead you to the base of the waterfall. The wispy waterfall is a spectacular sight to see. Please be aware that swimming is not permitted in the base of the pools as it is home to an endangered species of frog.
Also located in Nightcap National Park, Minyon Falls is a spectacular sight that shouldn’t be missed on a trip to Byron Bay. The lookout on the top of the falls offers panoramic views of the surrounding rainforest, sometimes even offering a glimpse of the coastline. Looking down, you have the best seat in the house to watch the water cascade over the gorge roughly 100m below. The waterhole at the bottom is reachable by a 4km return walking trail. The track brings you through the dense rainforest and ferny creeks, before ending in a rock climb and arriving at the base of the falls. The roaring water crashes down into a beautiful pool where travellers can enjoy the pool from the rocks or jump in for an exhilarating swim.