Length 6.1 km (3.8 miles), terrain: a couple of hills, 75-meter gain
Pictures courtesy of Google StreetView Trekker. Thanks!
Byron Bay is a relaxed, artsy village of 5,000 people perched on a point of land sticking out into the ocean on Australia's east coast. It's great location makes it popular with surfers. Beaches line the town to the north and east, and nature preserves protect natural woods and bushland beyond.
|Along the Byron Bay Walking Track|
So, if your luck also brings you to this great spot, lace up your running shoes and get ready for one of the most beautiful runs you'll ever do: running along the beach sands and then take the Cape Byron Walking Track as it climbs and winds along the clifftops and secluded coves, past the Cape Byron lighthouse, and back again. There will be spectacular views at every turn and a mix of nature preserves and nice neighborhoods. And -- if you're really lucky -- you'll see some marine life: dolphins, rays, turtles. Between May and October it's also possible to sight humpback whales migrating past the cape.
|Start of the run at Johnson Street: head straight to the horizon!|
NOTE: that great-looking restaurant behind you, the Pacific Dining Room, with its big outdoor terrace beneath giant fir trees is the place to go in the evening. You'll enjoy an amazing acoustic show from the squawking parrots who fill the trees, gathering each evening to scream the day's news to each other.
Now walk out onto the sand beach and look around. You can see Mt. Warning across the bay to the north.
This spot is called the Wreck, because of the sunken ship just out in the water, which you might see if the tide is right. It sank there in a cyclone almost 100 years ago, and it causes interesting waves for surfers, making this a popular surf spot.
So now turn right to run eastwards along Clarkes Beach, with the little green stripe to your right that separates the town from the sand. This is where the surf schools hold their classes. The best running is on the wet, compact sand near the water.
|The view from Fishermans Lookout: we'll keep running along those cliffs!|
Keep left in the parking lot and turn onto the brick pathway leading east through the woods. This is the walking track.
You'll head uphill, and soon find yourself at the clifftops, with great views over the rocky coastline again. We're in the Cape Byron Headlands Reserve.
The trail then heads downhill to tiny Wategos Beach, with a quiet little neighborhood nestled between the hills, along Marine Parade.
As the trail goes up over the hill, though natural bushland and woods, it starts curving southwards as you round Cape Byron.
|The bush on the way to Cape Byron|
|The trail at Cape Byron: this is as far east as you can get!|
|Cliffs, heading towards the lighthouse|
|View south past Tallow Beach to Lennox Head|
|The bush on the way home|
Run through the parking lot, past the lookout and down the steps to Clarkes Beach again. Now just turn left and run back to the starting spot. This run was so good, you won't want to stop. So if you want to add extra distance, just continue running westwards past the Wreck and run along Belongil Beach. Enjoy your moment in paradise!
|Clarkes Beach heading back towards town|