Belongil Beach, part of Australia’s famous Byron Bay, is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. We know this is a big call but it’s true. The beach is expansive. It runs as far as the eye can see, with clean, pristine, soft, white, powdery sand. It is somewhat wild and rugged with crystal, clear water. Watched over by Byron’s famous protective lighthouse, which marks the most easterly point of Australia, this beach is a total gem. Did we also mention you often see dolphins playing offshore and the lighthouse area and its adjoining coastline provide one of the best places for spotting whales along the east coast of Australia?
Finding Belongil Beach is easy. Go to the main car park opposite the Byron Bay Hotel and when looking out to sea turn left and start walking up the beach. Alternatively, when driving into Byron Bay from the main highway, you will see the turnoff on you left, just before you arrive into the main town area.
When you walk along the beach you are likely to see backpackers from all over the world learning to surf for the first time. The beach is dog friendly (only up to the Belongil Beach car parking zone) so you are bound to see a pooch or two enjoying the freedom and opportunity to romp in the waves. As you walk up further, about a kilometre or so from the car park, the beach really opens out wide. Just before you get to the area known as Belongil Creek (a Tea Tree outlet from the stream behind the beach) you will find the ‘traditional’ free beach. Very near here you will see a sign saying ‘Shore Bird Conservation Area‘. (Please take extra care not to enter this area nor to disturb any part of this sensitive environment when choosing a place to spend your relaxation time.) This part of the beach is not officially nude, nor gay but on most warm days you will find guys with their gear off taking in a few rays and enjoying the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Yes it is fine to swim nude here.
Around this area it is usually quiet and the tea tree lake at the back of the beach may look brown but the water is clean and tea tree water is wonderful for your skin. Take a walk around where the creek enters the sea, it is beautiful and you get a very remote feeling. The bushes and scrub around the lake sometimes hide surprises in the form of people sunbaking here in the seclusion and beauty nature has provided. This area is very safe. Anyone venturing this far up the beach is usually seeking to escape for some downtime.
If you wanted to go much further up the beach in the direction of Brunswick Heads, you would be better off hiring a beach bike from in town and when it’s low tide you can ride for hours and often find yourself the only person on the beach within miles.
Having had a good time at the beach it’s time for a coffee and something to eat. You should not miss the Tree House Cafe. This cafe is unique and a real chill out place. To find it go about a third of the way back from the free beach area and there are some rocks that almost meet the water. Walk a little past them and turn right and go up to the top of the bank where there is a seat. There are usually cars parked here. Head across the road and chill at one of Byron’s best kept secrets. On some evenings, this place gets packed for dinner and provides live entertainment by local and interstate artists.
Close by there is also another cafe called Belongil Bistro which has excellent coffee and an extensive food menu which is a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whether it is sunrise, sunset, sunny or stormy the colours and atmosphere of Bilongil Beach are always superb. Don’t forget to take sunscreen, water, maybe a good book and very little else.
By the way when we have a few days in Byron we stop at The Crest apartments on Shirely Street Byron Bay. The apartments are about half way between the town and beach and an easy ten minute walk to both. The apartments are very modern, clean, comfortable fully self contained and moderately priced. There is a beautiful heated salt water pool and BBQ surrounded by lush gardens at the rear of the complex. At night you can walk into town for dinner and drinks and leave the car behind.
There are so many reasons to choose the beautiful coastal town of Byron Bay for a break away from your busy world but the relaxed pace of Belongil Beach will sooth your spirit and ease your cares away and then call you back for more.