School excursion

Cape Byron: Environmental change and management

Stage 5 (Years 9-10), Geography, Cape Byron State Conservation Area

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Join us on this in-depth fieldwork excursion for Stage 5 (Years 9-10) students using Cape Byron as a real-life case study to investigate the Geography syllabus topic of Environmental Change and Management.

Read more about Cape Byron: Environmental change and management

Students will investigate the coastal processes that influence the geomorphology of this protected area. They'll learn how the reserve is jointly managed by traditional owners, the Arakwal Bundjalung People, and NSW National Parks.

Students will survey visitors to Cape Byron to explore the different views that influence approaches to environmental use and sustainable management.

Students will develop an understanding of the functioning of environments and the scale of human-induced environmental change challenging sustainability.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 5 (Years 9-10)
Learning area Geography
Student outcomes

GE5-2. Explains processes and influences that form and transform places and environments

GE5-3. Analyses the effect of interactions and connections between people, places and environments

GE5-4. Accounts for perspectives of people and organisations on a range of geographical issues

GE5-5. Assesses management strategies for places and environments for their sustainability

GE5-7. Acquires and processes geographical information by selecting and using appropriate and relevant geographical tools for inquiry

GE5-8. Communicates geographical information to a range of audiences using a variety of strategies


Students will:

  • Examine the form and formation of Cape Byron State Conservation Area
  • Investigate the role and importance of the reserve in supporting biodiversity
  • Learn about joint management of the reserve by the traditional owners, the Arakwal Bundjalung People, and NSW National Parks. 
  • Investigate human-induced environmental change and how this impacts the reserve
  • Survey visitors to analyse how people’s perceptions affect their attitudes to, and use of, environments such as Cape Byron.
  • Discuss possible environmental management approaches and perspectives to sustainably manage Cape Byron into the future

Excursion details


Weekdays during school term.

Guided. Available on request.

$12 per person (includes GST). Minimum fee of $240.00 (includes GST). Teachers and other staff are free.

Meeting point
Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct at the end of Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay. Groups meet on the verandah of the northern side of the Lighthouse Keepers Cottage (visitor centre).
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
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Park info

  • in Cape Byron State Conservation Area in the North Coast region
    • Cape Byron State Conservation Area is open all hours, but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
    • Cape Byron Lighthouse lawn is open 8am to sunset.
    • The Maritime Museum in the former Lighthouse Keeper’s office at the base of the lighthouse is open 10am to 4pm daily.
    • Opening before 8am for events or disabled access can be arranged by prior notice – contact NPWS Byron Bay office during business hours 02 6639 8300.
  • Park entry fees:

    Cape Byron Lighthouse lawn and Information Centre: $10 per vehicle per hour/$4 per hour motorcycles. Maximum 1 hour per vehicle per calendar day, including all NPWS annual passholders.

    Captain Cook lookout, Cosy Corner, and The Pass: $5 per vehicle/motorcycle per hour. Tap and pay card or phone payments accepted at pay machines. Cash and credit cards accepted at Cape Byron Information Centre.

    Coach entry: $30 per coach up to 30 seats; $57 per coach 31 to 43 seats; $94 per coach 44 seats and over.

    Buy annual pass (//
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Info for teachers

All the practical information you need to know about Cape Byron: Environmental change and management.

Program outline

  • Start at Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct
  • Welcome, introductions, acknowledgement of Country and safety talk
  • Activity 1: Formation and features of Cape Byron State Conservation Area 
    • Geomorphological formation of the Cape 
    • Coastal biophysical processes of the Cape
    • Features of the reserve
    • Overview of management of the reserve including ILUA (Indigenous Land Use Agreement)
    • Current management focus
    • Sketch of Byron Bay (labelling/geographic features)
  • Activity 2: Human influence, change and contemporary management (tourism at the Cape)
    • Debate: Population pressures (worldwide tourism trend in national parks) 
    • Discuss 2019 Cape Byron Master Plan
    • Undertake visitor survey
  • Activity 3: Guided walk through the reserve to Wategos Beach via the most eastern point of the Australian mainland and debrief 
  • Finish at Wategos Beach (western end picnic area)

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    This activity begins at the Cape Byron Lighthouse and ends at the western end of Wategos Beach. To get to Cape Byron Lighthouse, take Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and follow it to the lighthouse. Wategos Beach is on Marine Parade, off Palm Valley Drive, Byron Bay.


    Bus parking is located at the lighthouse precinct. Buses transporting students on approved programs are free. Additional vehicles will need to pay appropriate fees.

    Parking is limited at excursion venues. An $8 car entry fee applies at the lighthouse. Those with NPWS Park Passes are exempt. Annual passes can be purchased online or from any NPWS office.

    What to bring

    Bring a hat, sunscreen, adequate food and drinking water. Fresh water bubblers are available at The Pass.

    Please wear long pants, closed comfortable shoes and bring a hat and sunscreen. Be ready for all weather conditions with a jumper and raincoat. And remember to bring food and any necessary medications.

    It’s a good idea to pack your belongings in a backpack rather than a plastic bag.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

    Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

    Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

    Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

    Risk assessment and risk benefits

    Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

    We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

    Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


    Disability access level - hard

    Wheelchair facilities are available, please let us know in advance if you are bringing someone with special needs so that we can plan accordingly.