Check out the 10 best Byron Bay walks and hikes to find a rewarding route that will help you make the most of your time up north. Each provide their own unique journey that will have you in love with the wonderful nature scapes of the Byron Bay region.
Byron Bay is more than just a vacation destination for Australians from all over the country. It’s a state of mind influenced by a lifestyle that prioritises physical and mental health. That means the retreats, spas, and health food outlets are complemented by the area’s breathtaking beauty and an impressive collection of hikes and walks.
Many of the easy walks along the incredible coastline of Byron Bay and the surrounding towns are paved or very well graded. For a more difficult hike, head west, away from the glistening coastline, and into the Byron Hinterland, where a plethora of national parks await eager hikers.
1. Three Sisters walking track
1.6km – 30-45 mins – gentle dirt track
You’ll arrive at this breathtaking location after meandering through the lush rainforest. There is no better place to sit and contemplate the natural beauty that surrounds you than overlooking Kings Beach. The views are breathtaking, with a stunning coastal panorama of secluded beaches, rocky coves, and dense rainforest.
It’s a great place to see migrating whales in the winter and spring, and it’s also great for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for the collision of air and sea wildlife as white-bellied sea eagles dive for food. Also, when the wildflowers bloom, the headland comes alive with colour.
Consider learning about the Aboriginal story behind Three Sisters, which tells of three sisters who were transformed into the rocky outcrops near the headland. You could also simply stroll along the beach, dip your toes into the glistening blue waters, and relax under a shady tree at the rainforest’s edge.
2. Cape Byron Lighthouse Walking Track
4km – 1-2 hours – steep steps at times
When discussing the best Byron Bay hikes and walks, no list would be complete without including this signature stroll. The Cape Byron Walking Track has something for everyone. And, while the 3.7km loop can be completed in a couple of hours, why would you? As with most things in this part of the world, leaving the watch at home and taking your time is preferable.
Spend the entire afternoon slowly working your way through the various sections of this walk. You’ll have access to beautiful beaches and ocean views. You’ll walk along cliff edges and through lush rain forest. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the historic Cape Byron Lighthouse.
With so many cafes along the way, you’ll never be far from a refreshing organic juice, re-energizing coffee, or some organic snacks to put a spring in your step.
This is a Grade 3 track, but it should be suitable for walkers of all abilities. Take it in sections with the kids, especially if you want to stop at a few beaches.
3. Lennox Head Boardwalk Walk
3kn return trip – easy with some inclines
The Lennox Head Boardwalk is a beautiful scenic coastal walk that ends with breathtaking views from Lennox Point and the Pat Morton Lookout.
Take morning tea, a picnic, or promise yourself and your children a tasty treat or refreshing drink from one of the town’s many delicious cafes when you return.
You can start at the end of Dress Circle Road, where the ‘official’ track starts, or further up the road, towards Lennox town centre, at the end of Rutherford Street, where there is a small carpark, beach access, a picnic table, and a set of children’s swings. You can also access the track from a number of beach access points along the way.
Simply follow the stroller-friendly beachfront boardwalk, which turns into a pathway at the end of Dress Circle Road, up to Lennox Point and the Pat Morton Lookout.
The Pat Morton Lookout, located on the top of Lennox Point, also known as ‘The Point,’ provides spectacular views of the coast as far north as Byron Bay. It is a great place to watch whales migrate (from June to November) and also to watch the locals and dolphins carve it up at its world-renowned right hand point break! This is also a popular hand gliding location, and when the weather cooperates, you’ll see quite a few of them soaring through the skies.
4. Victoria Park Nature Reserve Walk
If you didn’t get enough boardwalking in Lennox Heads or are looking for somewhere else to take the kids, the Victoria Park Boardwalk is a great option. The walk is littered with information about native bushland and the area’s indigenous population. The Victoria Park Nature Reserve is part of the area’s pre-colonial rainforest known as the Big Scrub, which once covered 45,000 hectares.
You can head here after you’ve finished at Lennox Head for another nice little walk, or you can drive 45 minutes straight from Byron Bay. If you need to refuel, there are BBQs and picnic tables available for public use. There’s also a parking lot at the reserve, so you shouldn’t have to look for a spot.
5. North Wall Walk
3.4 km return to Shaws Bay parking area – flat and fairly easy
This easy walk will allow you to enjoy some of Ballina’s most beautiful assets, with Shaws Bay on one side and the Richmond River on the other. Park on Brighton Street and take the footpath that runs along the break wall.
Take in the tidal Shaws Bay, watch the trawlers leave or return in the Richmond River, and finish by watching the surfers at Lighthouse Beach. Keep an eye out for Osprey and Pelicans, as well as dolphins, in the river between the break walls – a common sight in the area!
It is located approximately 30 minutes south of Byron Bay in Ballina. If you are looking for a coffee or a quick bite check out Brighton St Takeaway. Fancy an afternoon brewsky take a stop off at Shaws Bay Hotel.
6. Protestors Falls
Protesters Falls is a beautiful walk in Nightcap National Park located 8 kilometres from The Channon. The walk is not far from Lismore and was recently explored by the Hiking Mums Northern Rivers group. The walk takes 30-45 minutes round trip and includes both an easy stroll through the high rainforest canopy and a short, steep ascent over rocks to the falls themselves.
The falls are named after the 1970s Terania Creek protests, when locals banded together to ensure the integrity and safety of the now World Heritage-listed rainforest surrounds. The Channon Monthly Markets, one of the best markets in the region, features the local community, food, produce, crafts, and specialities on a monthly basis. Combining the markets and the Protesters Falls walk could make for an excellent family day out.
Subtropical Bangalow palms, native tamarind, rainforest yellow carabeen, and strangler figs are among the walk’s highlights. Rose-crowned fruit doves, barred cuckoo-shrikes, pademelons, and rare frog species are also seen in the area. There are also a couple of monitor Goannas who frequent the parking lot and are especially curious and easy to spot if you’re up for an early start.
On weekends, the “peak” section of the walk, the climb to the viewing rocks, can be crowded, so please be cautious not to slip. On this walk, you’ll mostly see families with babies, toddlers, and school-aged children, as well as couples and grandparents. A picnic area and drop toilets are located adjacent to the carpark.
Swimming is not permitted at this location, but you may find something nearby further downstream. Although accessible by 2WD on an unsealed road, the nearby creek crossings occasionally flood and make the walk inaccessible during heavy rain, so please check the NSW National Parks website before heading out.
7. Minyon Falls
Minyon Falls, one of the Byron Hinterland’s true gems, offers a variety of trail options. There are numerous ways to access these 100m waterfalls surrounded by stunning rainforest, ranging from a short stroll connecting the car park (directions) to the viewing platform (about 15/20 minutes return) to the longer hike we’ve featured below.
The longer hike starts at a trailhead about 1km before the main viewing area (directions). The road leading up to both is a well-kept dirt road suitable for most cars.
Descend into the forest via switchbacks for about 1km to reach Repentance Creek. Continue along this path, which will take you directly to the base of the falls after a short section of rock hopping. Cross the creek and continue along the loop track as it climbs up towards the escarpment after a quick dip (no sunscreen, please).
Enjoy the views of Condong Falls as you ascend. Keep to the Minyon Falls Loop Track (on the right) at the Quandong Falls fork and follow the escarpment to the top of Minyon Falls. Because this section is exposed, bring sunscreen with you. Return down the road to the trailhead after admiring the spectacular views of the falls.
8. Pinnacle Walk – Mt Warning
Hikers have long flocked to the difficult 9km Wollumbin (Mount Warning) Summit Track. However, in 2015, the Bundjalung People requested that visitors respect this sacred native site by not climbing it. The Pinnacle Walk is an excellent alternative that allows you to respect their wishes while still providing an excellent view of Border Ranges National Park.
The Pinnacle Walk to the Pinnacle Lookout is only 600m return and provides stunning views of the aforementioned Wollumbin while looking out over dense rainforest and the Tweed Valley. The walk begins with a car park, making it easy to get there.
Now, the two-hour drive to walk 600m may put you off. However, as with many journeys that leave the coast in the rearview mirror, the journey itself is worthwhile, with plenty of wonder outside the car window. Of course, you can make the most of your time by exploring other short hikes in Border Ranges National Park, such as the Border Loop Walk, Palm Forest Walk, Bar Mountain Circuit, and others.
9. Big Scrub Loop
The Big Scrub rainforest once covered northeastern NSW and was Australia’s largest area of subtropical rainforest, covering 900 square kilometres. Today, less than 1% of the Big Scrub remains. However, significant remnants of lowland subtropical and littoral rainforest (one of Australia’s rarest types) remain.
One such rare remnant can be found in Nightcap National Park’s Rocky Creek Dam area, where a beautiful walking trail loops through it.
The old-growth forest is stunningly beautiful and alive with wildlife, so walking slowly and quietly is a good idea if you want to hear and see the forest wildlife.
10. Booyong Nature Reserve Walk
Why not visit Booyong Reserve, a 16-hectare original rainforest wonderland with over 150 plant species, including amazing figs and lush, aromatic natives. One of the last remnants of “Big Scrub” is a centuries-old canopy that once stretched from Byron Bay to Lismore.
A forest-floor walking track allows easy access to wander under the shady canopy, with only the occasional fallen trunk to navigate and an abundance of life to explore, from reptiles to rare fungi. It is known locally as a sensory playground for generations of young, and a lush, natural de-tox for the old. The spectacular Richmond Birdwing butterfly, as well as many wet forest birds that hide in the branches overlooking the Reserve’s two creeks, call Booyong home.
The Booyong Nature Reserve is located between the townships of Eltham, Nashua, Brooklet, Fernleigh, and Pearces Creek, and is also a short, central, and convenient drive from the region’s major towns of Ballina, Lismore, Bangalow, or Byron Bay on sealed roads suitable for both 2WD and 4WD.
Red Cedar is historically significant to the region and this walk because it was an export industry that thrived in the late 1800s, with its timber used in furniture manufacturing. Booyong Reserve contains one of the few remaining examples of Red Cedar, which once covered much of the area.
Other species include the Small Leaved Fig, Pepperberry, Olivers Sassafras, Black Bean, Blush Walnut, Grey Walnut, White Booyong, Koda, White Beech, giant Francis Water Gums (some of the world’s largest), Hard Quandong, and many others.