Winter Day Trips – Byron Bay
5 July, 2017
Well, haven’t we been having some glorious winter weather and perfect timing for the school holidays too!
As well as attending some awesome school holiday activities we are endeavouring to keep up with our Winter Day Trips and this week it’s the turn of Byron Bay!
We enjoyed a fun lighthouse walk – of which I will give you varying options to complete; for those of you with little one’s in a pram/stroller to the ones that fancy a bushland route! A couple of different cafe options, playground (sorry no skatepark this time although if it’s a must you could drive 5 mins to Suffolk Park but that one will be included in another day trip) and I suspect, a rather surprising kid-friendly place for lunch!
As always, you can make this day trip your own by choosing to include, exclude or switch up various parts so that it works best for your family.
We started at Clarkes Beach Car park. Mainly because we could fortify ourselves with a delicious juice at Beach Byron Bay before we set off but also because it offers 4 hours parking. Beach Byron Bay has either a lovely dine in restaurant overlooking Clarkes Beach (if you fancy brekkie) or a cool take away bar for juices, coffee sandwiches and ice-creams. Also just out the front – and super handy if you are waiting for refreshments – is a kids sandpit with boat which was thoroughly enjoyed by my son.
Beach Byron Bay
Monday to Sunday | 7.30am – 4pm for Breakfast, Lunch, Coffee and Drinks
Tuesday to Saturday | 6pm – 10pm for Dinner
There also used to be a small kids playground on the nature strip at the entrance to Clarkes beach and there is signage promising its return as an all new playground but we’ve yet to see anything happen here. We’ll keep you posted!
Now, before I go any further here’s some handy hints around parking in Byron Bay.
- There are some FREE street options but it does mean walking further to your destination (Click here for a PDF PAID PARKING MAP created by Byron Council)
- If you are reside in Byron Shire you can purchase a $50 Annual Parking Exemption Pass which as long as you keep to the hours signed, you can simply park your car and go.
- You can buy a National Parks pass and here there are a number of options:
- You can buy an annual one for Cape Byron Headland Reserve for $22 This means you can park ALL DAY at Captain Cook (the next car park up Lighthouse Rd from Clarkes Beach) The Lighthouse itself , The Pass and Tallow Beach (Cosy Corner).
- You can buy an annual NSW pass which costs $45 for all parks in Country NSW (except Kosciuszko)
- To apply online, you can click here to take you to National Parks NSW Fees and Passes for Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Or, you can visit them in person at their office on Tallow Beach Road, Byron Bay.
One other IMPORTANT thing to note – especially for the little ones – is that there are amenities blocks at both Clarkes Beach and Captain Cook Car parks as well as at The Pass and Wategos beaches and of course at the Lighthouse itself.
Apart from the spectacular scenery, what is so good about this walk, is its versatility. The track can be picked up at a number of points along the way and can therefore be walked in shorter sections depending on your (children’s) age/stamina. You can walk as we did from Clarkes Beach car park or nearby Captain Cook car park. From this point you can either take the boardwalk or, across the road is Lee Lane and a signposted entry will direct you to the bushland route. Alternatively, you can park closer at either The Pass or Wategos beach and pick up the trail from there. And, if your little one is in a stroller, you don’t have to miss out – you can walk up to where the boardwalk ends and then continue on the road, instead of through bushland and navigating steps. You will still be rewarded at the top with magnificent 360 degree ocean and hinterland views.
The lighthouse itself opens at 10am and the ground floor is a Maritime Museum full of interesting memorabilia where the kids can also have their hand stamped with a whale or a lighthouse.
There are also daily tours up the lighthouse – starting from 10am. These are dependent on the volunteers and the weather but they aim to run them every half hour until 3pm.
There are only 10 people allowed up at a time (plus the tour guide) and for reasons of safety the tour is only available for ages 5+.
A volunteer recounts many interesting facts and anecdotes about the lighthouse and its history, plus – weather permitting – you get to walk outside at the top and enjoy the stunning panoramic vista!
If you want to find out more – take a tour!! It’s free but donations are welcome.
After the tour was over, it was a short stroll over to the Cape Byron Lighthouse Cafe to sample delicious pastries and enjoy a warm cuppa.
Cape Byron Lighthouse Cafe
Open Daily from 9am to 5pm | Coffee, cakes pastries, ice creams and fresh rolls.
HANDY HINT: You may be hot and sweaty from your walk up to the lighthouse but it can be wind whippingly cold in winter at the outdoor cafe and we were very glad of our jumpers and beanies!
Once again, there are varying routes down. Perhaps if you’ve come up through the bush you’d like to walk back the coastal scenic route or vice versa. Just check out the varying colours of the ocean as we make our way from top to bottom along the coastal route! Although this is a Winter Day Trip, the bush walk is a welcome cool and shady retreat if you decide to do this in the warmer months.
Also, there are obviously a number of beach stop options to enjoy too. We chose to rest for a while at Wategos and my son played happily on the rocks. It was such a warm day for winter that there were a number of people sunbaking – though we weren’t nearly so brave!
Now you may want to end your day trip here or at The Pass and enjoy a lazy afternoon down the beach. There’s barbecues and picnic tables at both Wategos and The Pass and The Pass Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and refreshments until 2.30pm.
Alternatively, you might go back into town, as we did and try The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co for lunch. Yes, with a renewed emphasis on being a family friendly eatery – we went along to check it out and were not disappointed!
The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co
Cnr of Jonson St & Lawson St, Byron Bay
Monday to Friday | 12.00pm to 12.00am
12.00pm – 3pm lunch| 3pm-6pm limited menu | 6pm dinner
Saturday and Sunday |9am to 12am
9am to 12pm breakfast | 12.00pm to 3pm lunch| 3pm-6pm limited menu | 6pm dinner
They have a kids menu with a variety of meals including a vegetarian option of spaghetti napolitana which my daughter enjoyed. My son and I shared delicious hot chippies and salad complemented with a slow roasted pumpkin (from the adults menu) adorned with whipped feta and pomegranate. Yummo!
And, best of all during school holidays (3 – 14 July) not only is the kids lunch menu HALF PRICE – yes that’s just $5 a meal – they can also have their face painted and enjoy colouring in their A3-size menu. Talk about the perfect way to stop the grumbling while they wait for their food to appear!! It’s also worth noting that if you have bubba’s – they have 10 highchairs available.
After a sumptuous lunch on the sofas we made our way to Main Beach playground to relax with friends on the grass as the kids enjoyed endless fun at the playground and climbing in the pandanus trees.
What a simply wonderful way to spend the day with kids in Byron Bay.