Arakwal National Park

Overview

Arakwal blends the convenience of Byron Bay with the appeal of a secluded beach retreat, offering birdwatching, whale watching, swimming, fishing, and picnicking.

Read more about Arakwal National Park

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.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/arakwal-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Arakwal National Park.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    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

    Park entry points

    By bike

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

    By public transport

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

    Best times to visit

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

    Spring

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

    Summer

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

    Winter

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

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    20.3°C and 27.2°C

    Highest recorded

    35.1°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    12°C and 19.8°C

    Lowest recorded

    3.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    350.4mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Byron Bay (2 km)

    Byron Bay is Australia's easternmost town and 'style capital' of the North Coast. It's a place of outstanding natural beauty, set against lush volcanic hills.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Mullumbimby (21 km)

    Mullumbimby sits on the Brunswick River and is overshadowed by subtropical hills.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Ballina (30 km)

    Ballina is a bustling holiday town and service centre and home of the Big Prawn. It's situated at the mouth of the Richmond River, close to superb beaches.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

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

    This is Aboriginal land

     View of Arakwal National Park. Photo: N Graham

    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.

    Animals on the move

    Vegetation of Arakwal National Park. Photo: N Graham

    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. 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.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

      White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

      White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

    • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

      The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Arakwal National Park has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Preserving biodiversity

    Arakwal National Park contains a mosaic of environments, and is home to both threatened and endangered native plants and animals. The knowledge passed from the Byron Bay Arakwal People is integrated with scientific information for best practice conservation of native plants and animals, to ensure cultural considerations are taken into account, and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

    Conservation program

    BioNet

    Uniting technology with the vast collection of information on biodiversity in NSW, BioNet is a valuable database open to any user. From individual plant sightings to detailed scientific surveys, it offers a wealth of knowledge about ecology and threatened species in NSW. 

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Arakwal National Park. Risk assessments for new and emerging weeds are carried out as an ongoing initiative within the park. Pest management of bitou bush and other weeds is a priority and an important part of the work NPWS does to protect the integrity of biodiversity which exists within Arakwal National Park.

    Conservation program

    Bitou bush threat abatement plan

    Bitou bush poses a serious and widespread threat to threatened species populations and ecological communities on the NSW coast. The NPWS bitou bush threat abatement plan helps to reduce the impact of weeds at priority sites using control measures such as ground spraying, aerial spraying, biological control and physical removal.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    The Byron Bay Arakwal People are recognised as the traditional owners of Country that includes Arakwal National Park. As the traditional owners, their role in looking after the lands, waters and plants and animals of Country has always been and will always be their responsibility. They have chosen to exercise this responsibility in partnership with the NPWS under joint management arrangements for the park.

    Conservation program

    Arakwal National Park joint management program

    Arakwal National Park is jointly managed between the Bundjalung of Byron Bay People (Arakwal) and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The Arakwal National Park Joint Management Committee brings together the Bundjalung People with NPWS and Byron Shire Council representatives to provide advice on the management of Arakwal National Park.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Conservation program

    Hazard reduction program

    Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a three-pronged approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to fuel like dead wood, NPWS conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and community.

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