Welcome to one of the world’s most alluring coastlines, blessed with a perfect mix of rock pools and gentle waves for all ages, pumping surf breaks to conquer and wild, windswept beaches where you’re sometimes the only one in sight (yes, they do still exist!). The Northern Rivers boasts some of the world’s best beaches and a truly idyllic coastal lifestyle. Discover just some of Locale’s favourite beaches to make the most of our little slice of paradise.
Without an afternoon at Main Beach, no visit to Byron is ever really complete. This busy stretch of golden sand runs from the seawall at Belongil Beach down to Clarkes Beach, and it’s the prime spot to head to, right in front of the world-famous ‘Beachy’ (The Beach Hotel). The grassy park at the top end attracts an eclectic mix of locals and tourists who come to soak up the sun, sand and surf or sit back and enjoy the bohemian vibe. Grab yourself some hot chips or pack a picnic basket and settle into a soundtrack provided by the ever-present buskers — there’s often fire dancers, drummers, and so much more in the mix. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot a pod of dolphins frolicking in the water just offshore — yep, even our friendly marine friends know a good thing when they find it!
An iconic surf spot, The Pass offers a perfect beach experience for all ages in Byron Bay. Whether you come for the wave break out beyond or swim and frolic in the more gentle shallows along the long sandbank, The Pass makes for an idyllic day out, and you can easily lose hours to beach bliss here.
To get a panoramic view of the Byron coastline, head to the eastern end of The Pass to climb the stairs to Fisherman’s Lookout, a wooden platform that is a favourite spot of photographers.
And be sure to look for the freshwater midden to learn about the area’s Indigenous history — it’s an accumulation of shells and stone artifacts that reveals this site’s use as a gathering place for local Arakwal First Nations people stretching as far back as 1,000 years ago. You’ll find it located to the left of the boat ramp.
Wategos is its own little legend in Byron Bay — a picturesque cove that feels like a secluded haven, even though it’s super popular with locals and tourists alike. But be warned — there’s very little parking at the best of times.
When you’re done swimming or surfing, head to the restaurant at iconic Raes on Wategos for a meal to remember (bookings are essential!). Or just grab a coffee from the coffee van that resides near the patch of grass nearby.
Wategos is also a popular departure point for the Cape Byron Walking Track, located just west of the Cape Byron headland, that ends at Australia’s most easterly point and the town’s famous lighthouse. It’s a stunning walk, especially early in the early morning.
For a sunset to savour, head to Belongil Beach! This gorgeous stretch of coastline is known as one of the best places in Byron Bay to watch the sun setting over the hinterland beyond, producing awe-inspiring colours across the sky. Don’t be surprised to find the shoreline and grassy area near the car park filled up with locals and visitors who converge to watch day turn to night against a beautiful backdrop of mountains.
While swimming can be a little fraught here (it is best to swim on the Southern end nearest to Byron Bay, and only when the beach is patrolled in Summer), Belongil more than makes up for it as a superb spot for long beach walks.
Offshore, The Wreck is well-known in surfing and diving circles — it’s the remains of the SS Wollongbar that ran aground on the 14th May 1921 during a severe cyclone, and the wreck itself uniquely produces excellent waves when conditions are right.
Cross the wooden bridge and head north of the break wall at the mouth of the Brunswick River in Bruns to find one of the area’s smallest yet prettiest beaches. Torakina is very popular with locals and is especially loved by families for its protected sandy beach and gentle waters perfect for very young children.
There’s a grassy park that’s perfect for picnics or BBQs (with several public amenities available), and it’s an ideal spot to simply laze in the sun and relax in between dips in the crystal clear water.
Visit at high tide to watch (and join!) the locals jumping off the wooden bridge into the gently flowing waters of the tidal river that separates the village from its beaches.
Known as the ‘Jewel of the Tweed’, Hastings Point is surrounded by ocean, a national park and reserve, a beautiful estuary and a large stretch of native vegetation. Little wonder this calm haven is where you’ll find local families swimming, sunbathing, stand-up paddleboarding and bridge jumping just about every single day of the year — it’s a natural rancho relaxo!
The calm and often crystal clear waters of Cudgera Creek make it a hugely popular holiday destination for families with young children. There’s also the fantastic Tweed Coast Surf School in residence at the old surf shack, by the river’s edge. As a result, Hastings point tends to get pretty crowded on some days, especially during school holidays, but regardless, you can’t help but fall in love with any day spent enjoying this charming corner of the Tweed Coast.
Driving over the rise on Tweed Coast Road once you hit Cabarita Beach, you can’t help but look to the left — with a pumping break known for consistent and long, powerful rides and a pristine golden beach, this truly is a surfer’s paradise! Known for its natural beauty and laid back beach vibe, Cabarita Beach is a favourite with locals and holidaymakers (as the often packed car park, with vans laden with surfboards will attest!).
Walk along the boardwalk to the top of nearby Norries Head to be rewarded with sweeping, uninterrupted views of the coastline both north to Casuarina and Tweed and south from Maggies Beaches and Pottsville to Byron Bay that will take your breath away. The lookout is a popular spot for picnics or afternoons lounging on the grassy headland and is a great place to watch the annual whale migration between June and October — you’re almost guaranteed to spot Humpbacks or Southern Right Whales.
As one of the closest beaches to the border, located just a 20-minute drive south from Coolangatta airport, Salt Beach at Casuarina is one of the Northern Rivers most accessible and best-kept secrets and a much-loved destination for holidaymakers and locals alike.
There are kilometres of well-maintained boardwalks and pathways to walk and cycle on that stretch right along the coastline here — so you can cycle or stroll to the beach and back through heath and grasslands. The beach is ideal for surfing, but not so much for swimming — there’s a constant rip that tends to sweep northwards, and the majority of the beach isn’t patrolled, so proceed with caution. The Salt Boat House also offers a simple access point to Cudgen Creek, where you can hire canoes and kayaks and make the most of the calmer waters.
But the real allure of Salt Beach lies in its close proximity to the luxury hotels and restaurants of the nearby resort community of Salt Beach, which is perfectly set up for holidays and caters well for families with children.
Okay, this is, hands down, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Tweed Region. Located at the southern end of Wommin Bay and is cradled by Cudgen Headland, Kingscliff Beach and the entire area has a relaxed vibe and a plethora of options for a perfect day at the beach. Yes, there’s excellent surfing, an ocean-side lagoon, and grassy parklands with amenities to keep you lingering a little longer. But for the ultimate day in the water, head instead to the picturesque river and estuary system that spills out into the Pacific Ocean at the southern end of the beach. It’s an ideal swimming spot (great for small kids), fishing, and watersports. And the river is generally slow-flowing, so settle in and simply let the rivers current carry you away on an inflatable or bodyboard. Bliss!
The village of Kingscliff around the beach boasts many cafes, restaurants and places to stop for a drink, so it’s no surprise that the area is popular most weekends and during holiday periods.