June on the East Coast of Australia can be chilly (all of 16C) and sometimes wet. And it was chilly and wet when we decided to visit Byron Bay for a winter weekend away from work.
The highlight was a walk around the lighthouse overlooking the ocean watching whales on their annual migration north.
Remember – this is the most easterly point of the Australian mainland so the headland takes the brunt of the weather, especially from the south – straight from the Antarctic.
The walk is on a constructed track with steps and steep slopes up and down the cliffs around the headland just south of Byron Bay. You can take less than an hour if you wish or take all day. However long you choose to stay, the one thing I can guarantee is it will blow the cobwebs out of your mind and open new horizons.
We started here…
Looking south down Tallow Beach on the south-east of the headland. This beach takes the full brunt of the south easterly winds and ocean swells when they come in from the Antarctic. It can be brutal at times. And on this winter weekend it is not surprising not a soul was in sight.
We climbed up the track around a small headland, wind blowing in our hair.
And then up and around the lighthouse on a track that took us around the easterly tip of the Cape Byron headland.
Looking over Banksia woodland towards Julia’s Rocks to the east which are great for diving because they are cut by deep fissures known as The Nursery and Hugo’s Trench within which calm waters attract masses of small colourful fish.
First, we overlooked the northern most tip of Tallow Beach.
And climbed the track to the little around Cape Byron Headland.
And down into a section of coastal rainforest growing on its sheltered northern face.
Down to Wategos Beach
What a difference…
This beach look safe in comparison. No wonder we got our first sight of cold water hardened swimmers and surfers.
Apparently, there is a picnic-perfect grassy area behind the beach, which includes tables and free electric barbecues overlooking the picturesque scenery.
And, due to a long sandbar and reef, the waves at Wategos break progressively. This, paired with the rolling northerly swells, creates conditions ideal for longboards, Malibus and learning surfers.
The beach is also patrolled during the summer months.
We climbed down the track through the rainforest to the edge of the beach, fringed with Pandanus and Casurina Trees.
Watching groups of people learning to surf in the safe waters.
And up the other side to The Pass, a small headland separating Wategos Beach from Clarkes Beach to the north watching more advanced surfers in the swell around the Pass.
Go for a walk in Byron – especially if you are there in June.