Cape Byron State Conservation Area
Palm Valley, or ‘The Pass,’ offers well-equipped picnic areas right by the beach, plus a popular café, several walking tracks, and access to the Fishermans lookout.
- Picnic areas
- Cape Byron State Conservation Area in North Coast
- Entry fees
- Park entry fees apply
- What to
- Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
- Please note
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go bird watching or whale watching.
Not far from Byron Bay’s iconic lighthouse, Palm Valley – or ‘The Pass,’ as locals call it – is a terrific base for exploring nearby attractions. Delicious, seasonal meals can be found at The Pass Café, or take advantage of the large grassy picnic areas by bringing your own packed lunch and meat for the barbecues. Picnic tables overlook The Pass beach, popular for its surf and a great place to spend afternoons swimming or lying on the sand. An even better view of the surrounding area can be found nearby at Fishermans lookout.
If you enjoy walking and birdwatching, you’ll want to check out a short wheelchair-accessible track adjacent to the parking area, which meanders through lush coastal palm rainforest. A longer walk will lead you up over the hill to Wategos Beach, and all the way to the stunning Cape Byron Lighthouse. If you’re looking to work up a sweat and get that heart pumping without leaving the Palm Valley area though, you can burn some extra calories at the outdoor gym, offering a selection of fitness equipment.
With its variety of offerings, Palm Valley can be a busy spot on summer weekends when the surf is up. For a quieter visit, consider stopping by on fine days during the cooler months.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/picnic-areas/palm-valley/local-alerts
- National Parks Contact Centre
- 7am to 7pm daily
- 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) for the cost of a local call within Australia excluding mobiles
- 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: $8 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: $4 per vehicle/motorcycle per hour. Pay and display machines - cash and credit cards accepted.
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.
All the practical information you need to know about Palm Valley.
Getting there and parking
Get driving directions
Palm Valley is in The Pass precinct of Cape Byron State Conservation Area. To get there:
- Follow Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and turn left after the boardwalk onto Brooke Drive.
- It is just five minutes by car or a half hour walk from the centre of Byron Bay
- Sealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Parking is available at The Pass carpark, including several designated disabled spots. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking may be limited.
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Here are some of the highlights.
With the weather being a bit cooler, it's the perfect time of year for walking, barbecues and picnics on the beach.
Summer holidays beckon you – enjoy swimming, snorkelling, surfing, building sandcastles, or relaxing in the shade.
Cape Byron is a great spot to watch for whales on their annual migration - remember to take binoculars.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
22°C and 27°C
15°C and 21°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
- Flush toilets
- Gas/electric barbecues (free)
- Cold showers
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - easy
- This area is fully wheelchair-accessible
A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.
Cape Byron Information Centre
199 Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay NSW 2481
- 9.30am to 4.30pm daily. Closed Christmas Day
- 02 6639 8300
Palm Valley is in Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
Cape Byron Lighthouse
Perched high above Byron Bay's glorious coastline, historic Cape Byron lighthouse was constructed on this rugged headland in 1901. Its landmark 22m high white tower houses the light that still illuminates the bay of an evening. To find out more about the lighthouse take a tour with an expert guide and be sure to check out the Maritime Museum. In days gone by, lighthouse keepers were responsible for igniting the lighthouse's light of an evening. The keepers have long been replaced by automated light systems; however the Victorian Georgian style cottages in which they lived remain as heritage listed buildings. Today they operate as holiday accommodation, having been carefully restored to offer modern convenience while retaining their historical charm and an insight into the life of a lighthouse keeper.
- Cape Byron Lighthouse: A special place Experience a bird’s eye view from the top of the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse in this Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) geography excursion. Students will learn about the features of this special place and its significance to people and the community.
- Cape Byron Lighthouse: A special place Experience a bird’s eye view from the top of the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse in this Stage 1 (Years 1-2) geography excursion. Students will learn about the features of the lighthouse and its significance to people and the community.
- Signal on the shore: Australian colonies Join us as we explore the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse on this Stage 3 history excursion. You'll learn about the lighthouse keepers and their families, and discover how these people helped shape the development of Australia’s history.
Keepers of Country
Walgun, as Cape Byron is known by its traditional custodians, maintains spiritual, cultural and historical importance for the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) Aboriginal People. The pipi midden (shell mound) at The Pass is one of the largest and oldest in far north NSW.
- Dolphin Dreaming Dolphin Dreaming is an Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area, focusing on HSIE. Through story, dance and creative expression, Arakwal Aboriginal guides present the life and culture of Byron Bay's Aboriginal people.
- Dolphin Dreaming Dolphin Dreaming is a Stage 1 (Years 1-2) school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area, focusing on HSIE. Through story, dance and creative expression, Arakwal Aboriginal guides present the life and culture of Byron Bay's Aboriginal people.
- Dolphin Dreaming Dolphin Dreaming is a Stage 3 (Years 5-6) school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area, focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Through story, dance and creative expression, Arakwal Aboriginal guides present the life and culture of Byron Bay's Aboriginal people.
- Dolphin Dreaming Dolphin Dreaming is a Stage 2 (Years 3-4) school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area, focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Through story, dance and creative expression, Arakwal Aboriginal guides present the life and culture of Byron Bay's Aboriginal people.
- Palm Valley Palm Valley, or ‘The Pass,’ offers well-equipped picnic areas right by the beach, plus a popular café, several walking tracks, and access to the Fishermans lookout.
View from the top
Cape Byron State Conservation Area is part of a significant north-to-south regional corridor for migratory animals, including the fruit dove and cuckoo shrike. Locals you might be lucky enough to spot while touring the area include threatened wallabies and sea eagles. A peaceful walk through the area’s serene littoral rainforest, with plant life; such as laurel trees, white lace flowers and basket ferns, to admire along the way, is sure to further enrich your experience of the Cape Byron area.
- A whale of a time Discover the wonderful world of whales on this Stage 2 (Years 3-4) excursion around Cape Byron headland. This excursion is designed to support the Living World Science and Technology topic content strand.
- Byron tandem hang gliding flights and lessons Try the thrilling sport of hang gliding with a tandem flight over spectacular Cape Byron or nearby Lennox Head. With 40 years’ experience, Byron Airwaves Hang Gliding School is your ticket to the freedom of flight.
- Cape Byron walking track Enjoy spectacular coastal views along the Cape Byron walking track that takes you on a hike through rainforest, beach, grassland and clifftops to the lighthouse.
- Cape Byron: The earth’s environment Join us on an Earth’s environment geography excursion at beautiful Cape Byron for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students. Students will explore the features of the reserve and learn about people’s differing perceptions of the park and how it is managed.
- Wategos Beach Located just north west of Cape Byron and the lighthouse, Wategos Beach is one of Byron’s best places to picnic, paddle and play.
- Whale secrets Discover whale secrets in a playful mix of drama, games, story and ocean discovery for Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) students. This excursion supports the Living World topic of the K-10 Science and Technology syllabus.
- Whale secrets Discover whale secrets in a playful mix of drama, games, story and ocean discovery for Stage 1 (Years 1-2) students. This excursion supports the Living World topic of the K-10 Science and Technology syllabus.
Plants and animals you may see
Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)
The curious pelican is Australia’s largest flying bird and has the longest bill of any bird in the world. These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands.
Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami)
The Australian brush turkey, also known as bush or scrub turkey, can be found in rainforests along eastern NSW. With a striking red head, blue-black plumage and booming call, these distinctive Australian birds are easy to spot while bird watching in several NSW national parks.
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.
Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)
The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.
Cabbage palm (Livistona australis)
With glossy green leaves spanning 3-4m in length and a trunk reaching a height of up to 30m, the cabbage tree palm, or fan palm, is one of the tallest Australian native plants. Thriving in rainforest margins along the east coast of NSW, in summer this giant palm produces striking spikes of cream flowers which resemble cabbages.