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I love a good coastal walk.
So, arriving in Byron Bay on a sunny day and in desperate need of some exercise, what’s one to do?
I haven’t spent a lot of time in Byron. I’ve visited only twice, once for New Years Eve way back in 2001 when Caz and I first stated dating, and the second time was for the legendary Bluesfest with our media passes.
But every time I have, I’ve felt as if I’ve walked into a place of higher vibrational energy.
If you somehow haven’t heard of Byron Bay, it’s that legendary beach town on the Sydney to Cairns road trip. It’s that one place on the NSW north coast that attracts thousands every year from all over the globe. Many never leave.
The pro-surfers to surf and the rookie surfers to learn. They come for the National Parks, the arts and culture, the markets, the festivals, the food, the shopping, the health retreats, to be seen, to hang with hippies, and the vibe.
Byron Bay has a lot going for it.
As we had already spent plenty of time sitting down in the car on the drive up from Sydney, it was time to stretch the legs.
We started the two hour return coastal walk from Byron Bay Beach, just in front of the Beach Hotel, Byron’s famous pub (which is a good plan so you can finish with a cold beer and lunch) and headed towards the southern end of the beach to pick up the stairs and boardwalk.
The boardwalk wraps around the beach before reaching a narrower, more natural trail around headlands and through coastal forests offering spectacular views.
We weren’t anticipating there to be many stairs – big planning error as we had Kalyra in the stroller in between her stretches of walking. Little Savannah was taken care of as we had our Kelty hiking carrier – a travel essential we never leave home without.
She loves riding up high on daddy’s back. We’d forgotten her hat so the sun hood was in use and she had to settle for sneaky views out the side.
Along the way we passed Wategos Beach, one of our favourite beaches in Australia.
On a calm day when the water is crystal clear, the waves are cleanly breaking out the back, the sun is beating down, Wategos is just a magic beach.
Of course we received a few strange looks along the way from passers-by who thought we were pretty hard core carrying the stroller up the several flights of stairs. Luckily it flattened out with plenty of vantage points to take in a rest and the ocean views.
Further along the path, just before you reach the lighthouse, you will pass by the most easterly point of Australia’s mainland, Cape Byron, and of course you have to stop for the obligatory photo.
The cape was named by Captain James Cook on passing here on 15 May 1770, to honour British explorer John Byron who circumnavigated the globe from 1764 to 1766.
Once you get towards the top of the lighthouse you may even see random goats chowing on grass. If your timing is right, Cape Byron Headland is a great spot for watching dolphins, turtles, surfers and even humpback whales on their annual migration.
If you’re not up for the walk, the easy option is to simply drive up from the other side on Lighthouse Road. But if you can, give the coastal walk a go. Breathe in the fresh air, see the changing colours, hear the crashing waves, and walk amongst the coastal forests.
Built from concrete blocks the Cape Byron Lighthouse was finished in 1901 and is the most easterly lighthouse in Australia, and one of the most powerful. It’s located about 3 kilometres northeast of the town of Byron Bay.
The lighthouse attracts more than 500,000 visitors per year and has become an icon in Byron Bay. Housing at the site includes the head lighthouse keeper’s residence, and two assistant keeper’s cottages which are available for overnight rental.
The top makes for a great spot to enjoy an ice cream or a coffee and take a rest before trekking back down.
Just don’t do what we did, BRING CASH.
The shop doesn’t take plastic. No cards! No ATM. Not a good scenario when for the past hour you’ve been harping on to your kids if they hang in there and enjoy the ride, daddy will have a nice treat for them at the end.
Hmm, and don’t think for a minute I wasn’t a bit peeved as well. I do love me a coffee. And an ice cream!
Kalyra coined the walk “The Stroller Roller Coaster” for the rides down the hills. So don’t forget your stroller. Where’s the fun in simply walking?
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