The Byron Bay waterfalls are among the most beautiful in New South Wales. There’s also a wide range of options, from those that drop 100m over cliff edges to those that you can jump off and those with easy access swimming holes. In short, there’s something for everyone, whether you want to go for a swim or simply admire them. There’s even one that you can visit at night, and we guarantee it will take your breath away.

To bring you this guide, we visited as many falls as we could. There are a few waterfalls that were once known as local secrets that we’ve left off this list because they are now closed to the public and may get you fined if you visit them. All of the falls listed below are safe, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t found some hidden gems for you!

The following are the best waterfalls near Byron Bay.

1. Protesters Falls

The Protestors Falls walking trail, located in Nightcap National Park’s rugged ranges, leads through magnificent rainforest to a spectacular waterfall. It’s a great stop on a driving tour of the beautiful NSW North Coast hinterland near Lismore, and it’s an ideal short walk for families and nature lovers.

Terania Creek, named after the late 1970s protests that saved this valuable patch of pristine rainforest, is an important habitat for a variety of endangered frogs, including the threatened Fleay’s barred frog and pouched frog.

protestors falls - waterfalls near byron bay

You’ll notice how subtropical bangalow palms and native tamarind give way to towering rainforest giants of yellow carabeen and strangler figs as you walk along this easy trail. Keep an ear out for the rose-crowned fruit dove and the barred cuckoo-shrike. A pademelon might even dart through the bush. If you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by the Terania Creek picnic area for a leisurely lunch.

This trip is also ideal to pair up with The Channon Market, one of the amazing markets of the Northern Rivers region.

2. Minyon Falls

Minyon Falls lookout has the best view in the area. On a clear day, you may be able to see all the way to the coast from the lookout platform, which overlooks not only the falls but also the valley below.

Enjoy the sounds of local wildlife, the peaceful atmosphere, and the spectacular natural surroundings as the cascades flow over Minyon Falls to a deep palm-shaded gorge about 100m below. The cliffs’ tops are forested with Australian eucalypts such as blackbutt and scribbly gum, and a lovely pool at the base of the falls is an ideal place to cool off and relax.

minyon falls from the top

Minyon Falls is ideal for a quick stop, but if you want to stay longer, there is a picnic area with plenty of shady trees and picnic tables. There are also a few bushwalks that start from the picnic area, such as the Boggy Creek walk, which leads to Rummery Park campground, and the Minyon Falls walking track, which takes you down to the base of the falls.

And, while Minyon Falls has stunning vistas and beautiful scenery, it’s more than just a visual treat. It is also a special place for the Aboriginal community in the area.

3. Killen Falls

Killen Falls, surrounded by foliage that drapes itself over the damp rock walls, will make you feel as if you’re in your own hidden paradise as you listen to the crashing waterfall.

One of the last remaining remnants of the big scrub rainforest can be found at Killen Falls. The large scrub rainforest that once covered the Northern Rivers before the cedar-getters cleared the majority of it. Because it is significant to the region, it is critical that you respect the area and take your trash with you.

killen falls

one-kilometer return walk from the parking lot. The walk is a grade 3 bush walk, and prior bush walking experience is recommended due to the steepness of the track. Duration of visit: 1 hour, including picnic time.

Keep going, stay safe, and protect our rainforest.

Killen Falls Reserve is located on Killen Falls Drive in Tintenbar, New South Wales, approximately 20 minutes from Ballina and off Friday Hut Road.

4. Whian Whian Falls

There are many beautiful waterfalls to swim and explore in Northern NSW, and one of the best should be on any wild-swimming enthusiast’s bucket list: Whian Whian Falls, located near Nightcap National Park.

If driving through effortlessly beautiful country landscapes to a waterfall sounds like your idea of a fun day out, then keep reading for a quick overview of how to get to the Whian Whian Falls Conservation Area.

whian whian falls

The drive from Byron Bay will take about an hour and is clearly marked (to those responsible for this, a sincere thank you from a girl who is geographically challenged at times).

If you have Google Maps on your smartphone, simply type in the name of the waterfall and it will direct you to the location, along with clear signage on the country roads. If you prefer, you can follow my directions from the nearest town, Dunoon, by driving along the main road out of town known as Dunoon Road and turning onto Whian Whian Road in the direction of Rocky Creek Dam. You will drive over Simes Bridge, which has Rocky Creek running beneath it, and the carpark will be on your left just after the bridge.

When you arrive at the carpark, look for a clearing and a track on your left; follow the fence around until you reach the lookout over the falls. Unless there has been heavy rain in the area, getting down to the swimming hole itself is fairly easy; however, take your descent steadily so that you do not slip over and bruise your backside.

Pack a picnic and plenty of fluids to keep you going so you can enjoy a refreshing swim in these beautiful pools. Remember to take your trash with you, as there are no garbage cans at Whian Whian Falls, so that others can enjoy these beautiful spots as much as you do.

5. Hanging Rock Falls

Hanging Rock Falls empties into a large swimming hole that is up to seven and a half metres deep in places. The falls cascade over the rocks that lead to the swimming hole. There is a rope swing from the cliffs and a fallen log from which you can jump (with caution! ), as well as a smaller jump from the rocks for kids and those who don’t need as much adrenaline. The pool is well-known and popular among backpackers, and it can become crowded on hot days.

hanging rock falls

6. Dalwood Falls

Dalwood Falls, located inland from Ballina, NSW, appears to be more of a hidden gem. I drove 45 minutes from Byron Bay to find this spot and was definitely ready for a swim in the heat!

The trailhead for this waterfall is located on Dalwood Road in Dalwood, New South Wales. The trip out to the waterfall takes about twenty minutes from Ballina and is surrounded by lush hinterland and farmyard scenery all around. It’s a great day trip and a great way to avoid the big coastal towns when they’re overrun with people trying to cool off with a swim.

dalwood falls

The entrance you’ll see along Dalwood Road is a barricade with a sign that says ‘Do Not Enter.’ This sign is there for legal reasons because people have been injured or killed at the falls, most likely from cliff-jumping. The property owners still allow people to swim; just remember to read and follow the signs and avoid putting yourself in unnecessary danger.

The base of the falls is only a ten-to-fifteen-minute walk from the blockade on Dalwood Road. You’ll notice the trail bends to the right; continue on and you’ll be able to take the small forks in the trail that lead to different points. One will take you to a point along Emu Creek.

One will take you to a point along Emu Creek, which supplies water to Dalwood Falls. Second, there is another trail that will take you to the top of the falls. A word of advice: it’s perfectly fine to take your time ascending to the base of the falls. It is quite steep and can be slippery, so proceed at your own pace.

Last but not least, take a refreshing swim beneath the stunning cascades of water at Dalwood Falls. Please keep in mind that this waterfall is on Private Property, so please remove any trash or belongings from the area so that everyone can enjoy these natural wonders!

We’d like to point out that the best time to visit any of the waterfalls in the Byron Bay area is after some decent rainfall, or at the very least not during a long dry spell.

During long dry periods, many of them reduce to a mere drizzle or even dry up completely, as we discovered when we flew to Byron just to go waterfall chasing and found none! We learned the hard way so that you wouldn’t have to.

Also check to see if they are open, sometimes they are closed due to excessive rain and the roads leading to them could be off limits. Nothing worse than taking a 45 minute drive to be cut off.

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