BYRON: Our Favourite Swim Spots

WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO FIND THE PERFECT SPOT FOR A SWIM ONLY TO FIND EVERYONE ELSE HAS FOUND IT TOO! BYRON'S LONG STRETCHES OF ICONIC SURFING AND SWIMMING BEACHES ARE AN ALMIGHTY MAGNET FOR VISITORS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY AND ACROSS THE GLOBE, BUT SOMETIMES WHEN THEY COME TOGETHER WITH THOSE LUCKY ENOUGH TO LIVE IN NATURE'S WONDERLAND, A LESS POPULATED SPOT FOR A MID-SUMMER DIP COULD BE A BETTER OPTION. SO WE'VE DONE THE RESEARCH FOR YOU. YOU'RE WELCOME!

LITTLE WATEGOS
 
Snuggled at the base of Cape Byron, Little Wategos is smaller and more remote than its bigger namesake.  This 150m stretch of white sandy beach is Australia's easternmost beach and is backed by a beautiful ampitheatre-shaped valley near the tip of Cape Byron.  It can only be reached on foot so is quieter than Wategos which is where you'll pick up the track to this hidden gem. Or you can take the track from the lighthouse - it's steeper but the views are pretty special. Swimming, surfing, fishing - tick. Just check your tides.  High tide can swallow up the beach!
 
WHITES BEACH
 
Australian Traveller nominated Whites as #1 Best Secret Beach in its list of 100 Incredible Travel Secrets. It's located in Broken Head Nature Reserve and access is made via a walking track that leads from an unmarked dirt carpark on the side of the road.  It exemplifies all that Byron is about with its crystal clear water, creamy white sand, countless rock pools, regular dolphin sightings and countless Pandanus trees.  It's a bit of an effort but worth it!
 
BELONGIL BEACH
 
Belongil Beach lies to the north of the main Byron town and is easily accessible by car or is just a short 10 minute walk along from Main Beach carpark. It's relatively safe swimming at the southern end nearest Byron - and better too when the beach is patrolled - or further up, where the freshwater of the tea-tree stained Belongil Creek meets the ocean, there's a wide, white sandy estuary which is a perfect and calm swimming spot. At complete low tide the two bodies of water are separate, but otherwise the beach is split in two, separated by shallow water.To the north you'll see 'The Wreck', remnants of the SS Wollongbar, and the sandbar it creates provides great waves for surfers when the swell is big.  And for those who wish to explore the rich under-water heritage, it's a great snorkelling spot too.

HARRY HILLS BEACH

Brunswick Heads is just 15 minutes drive from Byron and tucked into the inlet on the other side of the river is this protected, calm beach with beautiful views of the Hinterland and Mt Chincogan behind.  It's a little piece of paradise which can be accessed the long way round by driving through Ocean Shores and New Brighton along North Head Rd and into the North Head Nature Reserve.  Or you could hire a canoe or boat and paddle to the other side of the river with your picnic and maybe a fishing rod or two on board and just kick back and enjoy another long lazy day in this most beautiful part of the world.  

KILLEN FALLS
 
For a bit of wild swimming, Killen Falls, a large round swimming hole with a 10m waterfall at one end and just 25 mins from Byron is the place to be.  There you'll be surrounded by some of the last remaining stands of intact Big Scrub rainforest, and the sounds you'll hear are of birdsong and waters flowing down the 10m metre waterfall across the face of the naturally hollowed out cliffside into the pool below. When the water's clear - which is most of the time - its a great spot for snorkelling with lots of spotting of larger fish and its uneven rocky base makes for interesting exploring too.  And of course if you're brave enough you can stand under the powerful waterfall and marvel at this beautiful gift from nature.  To get there, take the pathway from the carpark at the end of Killen Falls Drive and then it's a short, hilly walk down an unpaved trail. And once you're at the waterhole, there are plenty of flat areas to set up your picnic.
 
MINYON FALLS
 
Minyon Falls is a 100m straight-down plunge waterfall with a magical and mystical swimming pool at its base.  It's in the Nightcap National Park and its World Heritage listed subtropical rainforests, volcanic remants, ridges, gorges, creeks, walking tracks and the beautiful falls are a must. A 13km walk will take you deep into the misty rainforest, past smaller creeks and estuaries, en route to Repentance Creek, where its waters flow over massive rhyolite cliffs to the natural swimming hole below. Too far? Take the 4km roundtrip down a steep path to the bottom of the gorge for a dip in the crystal-clear, fresh waters of Minyon Falls and just lie back and wonder at the miracle of nature. 
 


All images courtesy of Spell Byron Bay, Kirsty Cane and Luciana Rose