Cape Byron State Conservation Area

Overview

Cape Byron State Conservation Area is great for school excursions and is home to Cape Byron lighthouse, heritage accommodation, walking tracks, scenic lookouts and the Cape Café.

Read more about Cape Byron State Conservation Area

For over a century, the elegant Cape Byron Lighthouse has graced Australia’s most easterly point. Its powerful lamp still burns brightly across the bay and you can visit this historic landmark or even stay in one of the charming keepers’ cottages. If you’d prefer to be closer to the beach, there’s a choice of award-winning eco-tourism beach cottages within the park.

Cape Byron is a brilliant location for whale watching and the walking track provides spine-tingling views of the surrounding coast and ocean. You can enjoy a bite to eat at the Cape Café, with panoramic views across the hinterland to Byron Bay.

Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach – try The Pass, Wategos or Tallows. If you’re feeling more adventurous, there’s great diving, snorkelling, surfing, hang gliding and kayaking – go on your own or with licensed tour operators.

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 https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/cape-byron-state-conservation-area/local-alerts

Contact

  • 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 precinct 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:

    $8 per vehicle per hour/$4 per hour motorcycles at Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct and Information Centre carpark. Maximum 1 hour per vehicle per calendar day, including all NPWS annual passholders.

    $4 per vehicle/motorcycle per hour in the lower lighthouse carparks and at Captain Cook lookout, Cosy Corner, and The Pass carparks. Coin-operated and credit card payment available.

    Buy an annual pass (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/cape-byron-state-conservation-area/visitor-info#Fees-and-passes).
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Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Cape Byron State Conservation Area.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Get directions to key locations in Cape Byron State Conservation Area:

    Park entry points

    Parking

    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 Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Here are some of the highlights.

    Spring

    With the weather being a bit cooler, it's the perfect time of year for walking, barbecues and picnics on the beach.

    Summer

    Summer holidays beckon you – enjoy swimming, snorkelling, surfing, building sandcastles, or relaxing in the shade.

    Winter

    Cape Byron is a great spot to watch for whales on their annual migration - remember to take binoculars.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    22°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    35.1°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    15°C and 21°C

    Lowest recorded

    3.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    350.4mm

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per hour/$4 per hour motorcycles at Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct and Information Centre carpark. Maximum 1 hour per vehicle per calendar day, including all NPWS annual passholders.

    $4 per vehicle/motorcycle per hour in the lower lighthouse carparks and at Captain Cook lookout, Cosy Corner, and The Pass carparks. Coin-operated and credit card payment available.

    • All Parks Pass - For all parks in NSW (including Kosciuszko NP) $190 (1 year) / $335 (2 years)
    • Multi Parks Pass - For all parks in NSW (except Kosciuszko) $65 (1 year) / $115 (2 years)
    • Country Parks Pass - For all parks in Country NSW (except Kosciuszko) $45 (1 year) / $75 (2 years)
    • Single Country Park Pass - For entry to a single park in country NSW (except Kosciuszko). $22 (1 year) / $40 (2 years)

    Annual passes and entry fees (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees)

    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.

    Visitor centre

    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

    Bangalow (14 km)

    Bangalow is a relaxed but stylish village close to Byron Bay. It's set in lush green hills near the coast.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Mullumbimby (20 km)

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

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Cape Byron State Conservation Area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    View from the top

    Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Photo: Wayne G Reynolds

    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.

    • 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.
    • Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Join a National Parks guide to explore the popular children’s book 'The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch' at the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. You'll learn all about the world’s tallest, oldest and most colourful lighthouse on this school excursion for Stage 1 (Years 1-2) students focusing on HSIE.
    • Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Join a National Parks guide to explore the popular children’s book 'The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch' at the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. You'll learn all about the world’s tallest, oldest and most colourful lighthouse on this school excursion for Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) students.
    • 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 Whale secrets is a school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area for Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) students focusing on HSIE. Discover the secrets of whales through a playful mix of drama, games, story and ocean discovery.
    • Whale Secrets Whale secrets is a school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area for Stage 1 (Years 1-2) students focusing on Science and Technology. Discover the secrets of whales through a playful mix of drama, games, story and ocean discovery.
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    Keepers of Country

    The Pass, Cape Byron State  Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

    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 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 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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Walgun walk and cultural experience Walgun walk and cultural experience is a school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area focusing on Stage 6 Aboriginal Studies, Community Study (Years 11-12). Join traditional custodians to learn about Arakwal Bundjalung People's ongoing connection to Country.
    • Walgun walk and cultural experience Walgun walk and cultural experience is a school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area focusing on Stage 5 History (Years 9-10). Join traditional custodians to learn about Arakwal Bundjalung People’s ongoing connection to Country.
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    Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Cape Byron Lighthouse, Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

    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.

    • Bound For Cape Byron: Walk and lighthouse tour Put on your seafaring cap and walking boots, and join an NPWS guide on an informative 2-hour, 1km guided tour around stunning and iconic Cape Byron, Cape Byron State Conservation Area.
    • Byron Bay historic private lighthouse tour Immerse yourself in the history of Cape Byron Lighthouse. Imagine yourself in a lighthouse keeper's shoes on this private guided tour of iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse.
    • Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Join a National Parks guide to explore the popular children’s book 'The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch' at the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. You'll learn all about the world’s tallest, oldest and most colourful lighthouse on this school excursion for Stage 1 (Years 1-2) students focusing on HSIE.
    • Lighthouse Keepers Lunch Join a National Parks guide to explore the popular children’s book 'The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch' at the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. You'll learn all about the world’s tallest, oldest and most colourful lighthouse on this school excursion for Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) students.
    • Walgun walk and cultural experience Walgun walk and cultural experience is a school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area focusing on Stage 6 Aboriginal Studies, Community Study (Years 11-12). Join traditional custodians to learn about Arakwal Bundjalung People's ongoing connection to Country.
    • Walgun walk and cultural experience Walgun walk and cultural experience is a school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area focusing on Stage 5 History (Years 9-10). Join traditional custodians to learn about Arakwal Bundjalung People’s ongoing connection to Country.
    Show more

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Australian pelican. Photo: Rob Cleary

      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, Dorrigo National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

      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. 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.

    Plants

    • Wonga Wonga vine. Photo: Barry Collier

      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 tree palm in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer/OEH

      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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    School excursions (15)

    What we're doing

    Cape Byron State Conservation Area 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:

    Understanding landscapes and geology

    Cape Byron State Conservation Area maintains and preserves the land and scenery within its borders. Visitors are able to fully enjoy its attractions as facilities and surrounding landscapes are regularly and carefully maintained.

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

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

    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.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    Cape Byron State Conservation Area is committed to developing visitor facilities for its customers’ enjoyment and safety. Regular maintenance, upgrading and installation of recreational, accommodation and retail amenities and infrastructure take place in this park. NPWS works to monitor vulnerable species and address threats, which can include feral animals and weeds, and implements actions to target their impacts.

    Conservation program

    Tour guide and visitor services volunteer program

    When you sign up to volunteer for tour guiding and visitor services, you’ll be doing something for yourself as well as for the benefit of visitors to NSW national parks.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    There are a number of significant Aboriginal sites and artefacts within Cape Byron Conservation Area. NPWS is committed to protecting these important cultural items, and interpretive and educational programs are ongoing in this park.

    Conservation program

    The Pass midden

    NSW National Parks first recorded The Pass midden in Cape Byron State Conservation Area in 1980. And, in 2013, ancient archaeological midden material was repatriated and displayed on Country. Today, along with our Aboriginal community partners, NPWS works to protect The Pass midden, both now and into the future.

    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.

    Looking along the beach, Cosy Corner. Photo: John Spencer