Cape Byron walking track
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.
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.