During my last week in Australia, I stayed with my friends Elien and Liam at Liam’s family’s house in Logan in between Brisbane and Gold Coast. Elien and Liam wanted to show me some of their favourite places in the area, so on the day after my arrival, we headed to Byron Bay, a famous beach town in the far-northeastern corner of New South Wales.
We had about 100 km. to drive before getting there, so we set off early in the morning. I slept most of the way, because I’m terrible at getting up early and driving makes me sleepy, so I didn’t see much on the way, but when we arrived, I felt fresh and ready to explore!
The first place we visited was Wategos Beach and I begun to understand why they had brought me here. Wategos Beach is a small paradise with a relaxed vibe close to the center of Byron Bay, where all sorts of activities are available. We didn’t spend much time on the beach, but it was a perfect little photo break.
From Wategos Beach, there is a short walking track to the Byron Bay Lighthouse, the easternmost lighthouse in Australia and an icon for the town that was built from prefabricated concrete blocks in 1901.
I love a good coastal walk and this one didn’t disappoint me. The walk took us through a tropical rainforest, where we saw a water dragon, stunning beaches, grassland and dramatic clifftops before reaching the lighthouse, which is situated on Cape Byron. We also passed by the the easternmost point of Australia’s mainland, where we stopped to take the obligatory photo.
From the lighthouse, there is a beautiful view of Byron Bay and the surrounding areas. It’s possible to drive up to the lighthouse, but I would recommend walking, so you don’t miss out on the spectacular scenery and wildlife on the walking track.
On the way back to Wategos Beach, where we had parked our car, we walked down to Little Wategos Beach, a quiet and secluded beach that is only accessible by foot. Little Wategos Beach is the easternmost beach in Australia and is a beautiful spot that should not be missed.
We then walked back to the car and drove a little further to the beach of Broken Head, which is an absolutely stunning beach on the other side of the lighthouse.
We walked along the beach for a while, looking for Lake Ainsworth, which is a fresh water lake known as the “Tea Tree Lake”. The lake has a distinctive stain from the tea trees surrounding it, creating a beautiful yellow, orange and dark red colour that is in stunning contrast with the white sand of the beach. Tea tree oil is claimed to be useful for treating many medical conditions and dermatologic conditions, such as dandruff, acne, lice and herpes, and swimming in the lake is said to be good for the skin, hair and nails. It’s a very unique lake and a perfect place to rejuvenate and clear your mind in peaceful settings.
This place has yet to be discovered by the many tourists that come to Byron Bay, which I definitely think is a good thing, and I’m thankful to Elien and Liam for showing me this, as I otherwise probably would’ve never heard of it.
After spending some time at the lake, we drove to the hilly hinterland of Byron Bay, where our goal was to see the Minyon Falls, a beautiful plunge waterfall with a descent of over 100 metres over rhyolite cliffs in stunning surroundings.
On the drive to Minyon Falls, Liam spotted a koala on the side of the road and we were all so excited! It’s very rare to see koalas in the wild in Australia, as they are in danger of becoming extinct. I’ve seen koalas before on Kangaroo Island, but this felt a bit more special because of the settings. Who would’ve thought that it was possible to spot a koala from the car!? Thanks Liam!
Since the sun was about to set, we decided to just go to the Minyon Falls lookout for a short photo session, before heading back home to Logan.
Byron Bay is a unique place to visit, even with the many tourists that come there all year round. I would describe it as a “hippie haven” – the Christiania of Australia. We met some very alternative people there, all of whom were down to earth and seemed happy about leading simple lives. Byron Bay is a happy place; a place for relaxing and having fun, and if you want to be a bit more adventurous, Byron Bay is also a great place for nature exploration and wildlife spotting.
Read about Elien and Liam’s adventures around the world on their blog, Follow the Sun.