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Arakwal National Park

“Byron Bay can get very crowded, but this park is a fairly tranquil escape, right near the town centre and yet so far away in feel and atmosphere.”

In 2001, a historic agreement was reached between the NSW State Government and the Byron Bay Arakwal Aboriginal community. Arakwal National Park is the result and has many guises today: it’s an important part of Aboriginal heritage; it’s a haven for migratory birds and animals; and it’s a gift to travellers looking to escape the chaos of the thriving holiday town.

Co-managed by NPWS and its traditional owners, Arakwal features 3km of gorgeous beach bordered by sand dunes and rich coastal heath. All of this is just a stone’s throw from the towering white icon of Cape Byron Lighthouse, meaning it’s closer to the town than it feels.

Bring a towel for swimming or surfing. Once you walk out of the carpark and onto the sand, you’ll forget all about Byron Bay and focus upon the birds and whale watching in the vast Pacific Ocean, which stretches as far as you can see.

Experience the annual whale migration from June to November. Plan your next coastal adventure and find the perfect whale watching vantage point on the Wild About Whales website.

Highlights
 

Why you should visit

Arakwal National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

This is Aboriginal land
The reserve falls within the custodial boundaries of Bundjalung nation, with prime importance for the local Arakwal People who lend their name to the national park. The Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) Peoples' connection to the reserve was recognised in 2001, with the signing of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) People and the NSW State Government.

Preserving plants
Arakwal may be small from the outside, but its borders hold some important habitat for threatened plant species like the creatively-named stinking crypotocarya, and dark greenhood. Keen nature enthusiasts will find much of interest – bring the magnifying glass, but be careful not to damage what you see.

Animals on the move
The reserve is also a temporary home to a range of nomadic and migratory animals, which means it’s never quite the same in any given season. During autumn and winter, for example, the growing, flowering and fruiting season attracts birds, flying foxes and micro bats. Then there are the humpback whales, drifting past out to sea as they cycle annually between Queensland and the freezing waters of the Antarctic.

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Getting there

 Car

From Byron Bay:

  • Drive 3.2km from the town centre along Lawson Street and Lighthouse Road
  • Turn right into Tallow Beach Road and drive to the end where the Cosy Corner carpark is located

Get driving directions

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 Opening times

Arakwal National Park is always open but may be closed at times due to storm weather or fire danger.

 Close to

Arakwal National Park is close to:

  • Byron Bay (3.2km)
  • Ballina (31km)
  • Brisbane (165km)

 Public transport

For information about public transport options, visit the NSW country transport info website.

 Bike

Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

Weather and climate

 Visiting through the seasons

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Arakwal National Park. Here are some of the highlights:

Spring (Sept, Oct, Nov)

  • Watch from the beach as humpback whales pass by on their way home from the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica, many with calves.

Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)

  • Take a dip at Tallow Beach to cool off from the summer heat

Winter (Jun, Jul, Aug)

  • Now, the humpback whales are heading north, migrating to the Great Barrier Reef for the cooler months. Don’t forget the binoculars.

 Temperature

Summer

  • The average temperature ranges between 20.3°C and 27.2°C
  • The area's highest recorded temperature in summer is 35.1°C

Winter

  • The average temperature ranges between 12.2°C and 19.8°C
  • The area’s lowest recorded temperature in winter is 3.3°C

 Rainfall

  • The wettest month on average is March, the driest is September.
  • The area's highest recorded rainfall is 350.4mm in one day

Safety

Byron Bay

Phone: 02 6620 9300
Email: npws.byroncoast@environment.nsw.gov.au
Street address: Tallow Beach Road, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Opening hours: 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday

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Tallow Beach, Arakwal National Park. Photo: John Spencer/NSW Government