Cape Byron State Conservation Area

Exploring cultural heritage in the park

Cultural sites

Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages (3 bedrooms, up to 6 people)

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area as there is one step to the verandah and one step to the cottage at the front and rear entrance.

View to the south from Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Ever dreamed of living in a lighthouse? Now you can get a taste of it with a holiday in the award-winning Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages, in Cape Byron Conservation Area. With Byron Bay just a short drive away car, or a half hour walk, it’s a perfect place for a coastal getaway with family or friends.

Lots of accommodation in Byron Bay boasts spectacular views and these cottages are no exception, featuring an almost panoramic view that takes in golden beaches, dramatic coastline and the iconic lighthouse. Although popular with visitors during the day, when the sun goes down, you’ll have the area all to yourself. Sunrise over the ocean is a spectacular sight and well worth waking up for, at least once on your holiday.

The cottages have been lovingly restored to retain their heritage charm, with the addition of modern conveniences to ensure you holiday in style. After a day of swimming, walking and exploring cook up a feast and toast the lighthouse keepers of days gone by.

Looking for lessons and tours? 
Enjoy adventure activities with a commercial tour operator. You might want to try sea kayaking, surf schools, hangliding, scuba diving, snorkelling, mountain bikes or a lighthouse tour. Or do it yourself - relax on the beach, nature study, walk, swim, surf or go fishing. Find out where you can fish on the Marine Parks Authority website.

Activities: walking, sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving, whale watching, surfing, swimming, dolphin watching, birdwatching, hang-gliding

Getting there: The Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages are 2km east of the Byron Bay town centre. To get there take Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and follow it to the lighthouse. The cottages are on the left.

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Accommodation fees: Rates and availability are displayed when making an online booking.

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets.

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Byron Bay, Phone: 02 6620 9300

Sunrise from the Lighthouse Cottages, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: Michael Van Ewik/Michael Van Ewik)Master bedroom in Lighthouse Cottage 1, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: Michael Van Ewik/Michael Van Ewik)Kitchen in Lighthouse Cottage, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: M Ven Ewik)Bathroom in Lighthouse Cottage 1, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: Michael Van Ewik/Michael Van Ewik)Cape Byron Lighthouse in Cape Byron SCA (Image: J. Winter/DECC)

Cape Byron Information Centre

When visiting the beautiful NSW North Coast, get your holiday off to a great start with a visit to Cape Byron Information Centre in Cape Byron State Conservation Area. With loads of information about Cape Byron, as well as surrounding national parks, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you make the most of your visit.

Discover the best walking, swimming and surfing spots and learn about what’s under the sea at Cape Byron Marine Park.

From this lovely setting overlooking the ocean, you might spot dolphins swimming year-round or even whales during the whale watching season from May to October. Grab a souvenir from the gift shop before you go or a coffee and bite from the cafe to fuel you up for your adventures.

Activities: walking, whale watching, picnics and barbecues

Getting there: On entering Cape Byron State Conservation Area:

  • Follow Lawson Street from Byron Bay along Lighthouse Road

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Opening hours: Cape Byron Information Centre is:

  • Open 9.30am-4.30pm (seven days).
  • Closed on Christmas Day 

Facilities: amenities block, picnic tables, cafe/kiosk, carpark, drinking water, lookout, flush toilets, trackhead/access point, venue, visitor centre

Contact: Cape Byron Information Centre, Phone: 02 6620 9300

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area

  • Cape Byron Lighthouse is not accessible, however the area outside the lighthouse is flat

Cape Byron Lighthouse in Cape Byron SCA (Image: J. Winter/DECC)The light that shines by night over Cape Byron Marine Park emanates from a tower as famous as the town of Byron Bay itself.

Built at the turn of the 19th century to protect ships passing along the coast, Cape Byron Lighthouse stands resolute on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. Operated by resident keepers until 1989, its now automated light is clearly visible from Byron Bay township.

Take a guided tour of the lighthouse, learn more about this iconic white tower and find out about shipwrecks and stories from the sea in the Maritime Museum below.

You’ll enjoy some of the best views of the ocean and hinterland on the entire coast, including regular sightings of turtles, dolphins and humpback whales.

Activities: whale watching

Getting there: Cape Byron Lighthouse is 2km east of the Byron Bay town centre. To get there, take Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and follow it to the lighthouse.

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: carpark, drinking water, flush toilets, trackhead/access point

Vehicle entry fee:

  • Cars: $7 per hour
  • Motorbikes: $3 per hour
  • Coaches: Coach parking fees (GST inclusive) are based on the seating capacity of the coach. $21 (less than 30 seats); $42 (31-43 seats); $70 (more than 44 seats)
  • Note: If you are a regular visitor, you can buy an NPWS Annual Pass. Lower carpark (outside lighthouse precinct): $4 per hour (pay and display machine).

Imeson Cottage (2 bedrooms, up to 4 people)

Wheelchair access: hard

Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty as there are five stairs to reach the cottage and an ungraded track.

View from Imeson Cottage in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)If you were any closer to the waves, you’d have sand between your toes. Award-winning Imeson Cottage sits right on the beach overlooking one of Australia’s most popular surf breaks, ‘The Pass’, just a short drive or stroll to the holiday of Byron Bay. The jewel in the north coast holiday crown.

Isolated from the hustle of Byron Bay, you'll be relaxing in ECO certified two-bedroom cottage. Offering one of the most stunning views of the whole east coast, all from the comfort of your bedroom, or while you’re relaxing on the balcony.

This unique cottage was used as a holiday shack for close to 100 years, and has recently been fully renovated to meet every possible need beach goers may have. With the bush behind you and the ocean in front, you’ll be spoilt with spectacular views from every vantage point.

Looking for lessons and tours?
Enjoy adventure activities with a commercial tour operator - find out about sea kayaking, surf schools, hangliding, scuba diving, snorkelling, mountain bikes or a lighthouse tour. Or do it yourself - relax on the beach, nature study, walk, swim, surf or go fishing. Find out where you can fish on the Marine Parks Authority website.

Activities: walking, sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving, whale watching, surfing, swimming, dolphin watching, birdwatching, hang-gliding, paddling, scuba diving, snorkelling

Getting there: Imeson Cottage is located on Lighthouse Road in Cape Byron State Conservation Area. It's just five minutes by car or a half hour walk from the centre of Byron Bay.

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Accommodation fees: Rates and availability are displayed when making an online booking.

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Byron Bay, Phone: 02 6620 9300

Dining area, Imeson Cottage in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Bedroom with a view in Imeson Cottage, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Imeson Cottage right on the beach in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Nature Tourism Certified logo

Mildenhall Cottage (3 bedrooms, up to 6 people)

Wheelchair access: easy

The cottage is fully wheelchair accessible, including an accessible bathroom.

Bathroom in Mildenhall Cottage, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)With spectacular coastal vistas and direct access to one of Byron’s best beaches, award-winning Mildenhall Cottage is the perfect holiday accommodation for those who love nature and the beach. The cottage is one of four 1920’s-1950’s beach shacks that has been carefully restored to offer modern convenience with ECO certification accreditation, while still retaining its original character, heritage and charm.

The cottage is right on the beach, so you’ll wake to the sound of waves crashing on the golden sand of The Pass. All that is on offer in Byron is close by, take a sea kayak adventure, go snorkelling or diving, check out the lighthouse on a guided tour, or head in to town for a spot of shopping and to pick up supplies.

After a day of exploring the Byron coast or hinterland, you’ll be ready to relax. The verandah is the perfect place to recline with a glass of wine and some cheese as you take in the evening tranquility.

Activities: walking, sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving, whale watching, surfing, swimming, dolphin watching, birdwatching, hang-gliding, paddling

Getting there: Mildenhall Cottage is 2km east of the Byron Bay town centre. To get there, follow Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and the cottage is on the left.

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Accommodation fees: Rates and availability are displayed when making an online booking.

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets.

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Byron Bay, Phone: 02 6620 9300

Kitchen/dining area in Mildenhall Cottage, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Mildenhall Cottage is the perfect holiday destination located right on Clarkes Beach at Cape Byron (Image: David Taylor/David Taylor)Sunset from Mildenhall Cottage at Clarkes Beach in Cape Byron (Image: David Taylor/David Taylor)Nature Tourism Certified logo

Palm Valley

Wheelchair access: easy

  • This area is fully wheelchair-accessible

Enjoy magnificent views from the picnic tables at Palm Valley BBQ area, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Taylor/OEH)Not far from Byron Bay’s iconic lighthouse, Palm Valley – or ‘The Pass,’ as locals call it – is a terrific base for exploring nearby attractions. Delicious, seasonal meals can be found at The Pass Café, or take advantage of the large grassy picnic areas by bringing your own packed lunch and meat for the barbecues. Picnic tables overlook The Pass beach, popular for its surf and a great place to spend afternoons swimming or lying on the sand. An even better view of the surrounding area can be found nearby at Fishermans lookout.

If you enjoy walking and birdwatching, you’ll want to check out a short wheelchair-accessible track adjacent to the parking area, which meanders through lush coastal palm rainforest. A longer walk will lead you up over the hill to Wategos Beach, and all the way to the stunning Cape Byron Lighthouse. If you’re looking to work up a sweat and get that heart pumping without leaving the Palm Valley area though, you can burn some extra calories at the outdoor gym, offering a selection of fitness equipment.

With its variety of offerings, Palm Valley can be a busy spot on summer weekends when the surf is up. For a quieter visit, consider stopping by on fine days during the cooler months.

Activities: walking, snorkelling, surfing, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, whale watching, picnicking, playing and socialising

Getting there: Palm Valley is in The Pass precinct of Cape Byron State Conservation Area. To get there:

  • Follow Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and turn left after the boardwalk onto Brooke Drive.
  • It is just five minutes by car or a half hour walk from the centre of Byron Bay

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: amenities block, picnic tables, gas/electric barbecues (free), cafe/kiosk, carpark, drinking water, lookout, flush toilets, trackhead/access point, cold showers, venue

Partridge Cottage and Geoffs Shed (3 bedrooms, up to 7 people)

Wheelchair access: hard

There are three steps up to the property and narrow pathways.

Sunset at Partridge Cottage in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)For award-winning holiday accommodation with a difference, head to Partridge Cottage in Cape Byron State Conservation Area. This unique cottage recalls the classic Aussie beach holiday and provides a wonderful escape to one of Australia’s premier beach destinations.

Step back in time for a retro beach holiday in this original north coast beach shack and adjoining studio. The cottage has been tastefully renovated to reflect Fifties fashion. With ECO certification, it’s fully equipped with all the modern creature comforts.

There’s direct access to Byron Bay’s main beach and your neighbours are the wildlife residents of Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Wake to water views and the sound of crashing surf, chill at the cottage, relax on the beach or enjoy Byron’s many activities. In the evening, it’s time to cook up a barbecue feast on the deck, with an ocean soundscape.

Looking for lessons and tours?
Enjoy adventure activities with a commercial tour operator - find out about sea kayaking, surf schools, hangliding, scuba diving, snorkelling, mountain bikes or a lighthouse tour. Or do it yourself - relax on the beach, nature study, walk, swim, surf or go fishing. Find out where you can fish on the Marine Parks Authority website.

Activities: walking, sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving, whale watching, surfing, swimming, dolphin watching, birdwatching, hang-gliding, paddling

Getting there: Partridge Cottage is 2km east of the Byron Bay town centre. To get there from Byron Bay town centre, follow Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and the cottage is on the left.

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Accommodation fees: Rates and availability are displayed when making an online booking.

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets.

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Byron Bay, Phone: 02 6620 9300

Partridge Cottage kitchen, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Partridge Cottage living area, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Partridge Cottage bedroom, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Partridge Cottage bedroom, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Partridge Cottage bathroom, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Taylor/DECCW)Nature Tourism Certified logo

Thomson Cottage (3 bedrooms, up to 6 people)

Wheelchair access: hard

There are eleven steps to access the cottage from the parking space.

View of the sunset from Thomson Cottage in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Thomson Cottage is simply the best of both worlds; nestled between a beautiful white sand beach and luscious rainforest, it's a dream location for the perfect beachside break. The award-winning accommodation is ideal for family or friends looking for an indulgent holiday getaway near Byron Bay on the idyllic north coast.

Hidden within Cape Byron State Conservation Area, the cottage offers privacy with unimaginable views of the famed surf spot 'The Pass'. From the expansive balcony you can watch the waves roll in, check out the local dolphins swim by and even humpback whales in the winter.

Equipped with everything you could possibly need to unwind, this ECO certified property uses solar power and features an energy efficient design.

Activities: walking, sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving, whale watching, surfing, swimming, dolphin watching, birdwatching, hang-gliding, snorkelling, scuba diving

Natural setting: rainforests

Getting there: Thomson Cottage is located on Lighthouse Road in Cape Byron State Conservation Area. It's just five minutes by car or a half hour walk from the centre of Byron Bay. 

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Accommodation fees: Rates and availability are displayed when making an online booking.

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets.

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Byron Bay, Phone: 02 6620 9300

Kitchen area in Thomson Cottage, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Bedroom 3 in Thomson Cottage, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Thomson Cottage with view to the beach in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Young/DECCW)Mildenhall Cottage bathroom, Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Taylor/DECCW)Sunset from Thomson Cottage in Byron Bay (Image: David Taylor/David Taylor)Nature Tourism Certified logo

Historic roads and tracks

Cape Byron walking track - 3.7km (loop)

Wheelchair access: hard

Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty

  • The boardwalk from Captain Cook Lookout to Brooke Drive is pram and wheelchair accessible. However, most parts of the track are steep, with many steps.

Walking (medium difficulty, 2 hours )

General information

Tallow Ridge walk includes sections of littoral rainforest (Image: David Taylor/DECCW)You’ll need a good two hours to properly experience the Cape Byron walking track – but it’s so rich in delights, so don’t be surprised if you reach the end and feel like doing it all again. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to spend a couple of hours on the state’s entire coast.

The 3.7km loop leads you on a hike through rainforest and across clifftops with stunning views of the ocean and hinterland.

En route you’ll wander through the shade of bangalow palms and ancient burrawangs, across kangaroo grasslands, along picturesque beaches and up to Cape Byron Lighthouse. Remember to keep an eye out on the water for turtles, dolphins, stingrays and, in season, whales.

If you’d prefer an easier walk, the track can be accessed at numerous points and walked in shorter sections.

Directions: you can walk any combination of the sections described below. They describe walking in a clockwise direction, but you can walk the other way, starting at the Captain Cook Lookout, up Tallow Ridge and descending from the Lighthouse to the Lookout. In warmer weather the ascent through the rainforest can be cooler than the coastal climb.

1. Captain Cook to Palm Valley (The Pass) 700 metres, 15 minutes, flat. Stroll along the boardwalk to Palm Valley. At Palm Valley wander through a Bangalow palm forest and visit one of the oldest middens in the region, where the Bundjalung people camped, leaving remains of dugum* (pipis), julum* (fish) and other animals.

The path is wheelchair accessible as far as Brooke Drive. Bicycles can also use this section.

2. Palm Valley to Wategos Beach 500 metres, 10 minutes, some steps. Climb around the headland to Wategos Beach. Watch surfers and bottlenose dolphins ride waves into shore or cool off in the water at this sheltered cove.

3. Wategos Beach to Lighthouse 700 metres, 25 minutes, steep with steps. Enjoy spectacular views while ascending steep cliffs to the Australian mainland’s most easterly point. Look out for dolphins, stingrays, bingihyn* (turtles) and, of course, humpback whales on their annual migration between May and November before climbing to the top of Walgun* (Cape Byron Headland).

4. Lighthouse to Captain Cook car park 1.6 kilometres, 20 minutes, steep sections, unpaved track. Descend through littoral (coastal) rainforest with scattered barwan* (Burrawang palms). In pre-historic times cycads like these dominated the landscape.

*Bundjalung word

Some of the locals gather at Palm Valley picnic area in Cape Byron State Conservation Area (Image: David Taylor/DECCW)Ancient cycads such as the Burrawong are found along the walking track (Image: David Taylor/DECCW)Cape Byron Lighthouse in Cape Byron SCA (Image: M. Van Ewik/DECCW)


Events, activities and alerts at this location
Closure

Cape Byron SCA track works

Some areas of this park are closed due to track maintenance work. Closed areas include Cape Byron walking track between The Pass and Wategoes Beach. For more information, please contact the Byron Coast area office on 6620 9300 or visit the NSW national parks safety page.

Wednesday 29 October to Wednesday 12 November