Watch whales on the horizon and shorebirds on the water’s edge as you stroll along the shoreline of this beach reserve stretching south of Cape Byron.
Arakwal National Park is a protected area of golden sands and coastal heathland named for the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land. The Arakwal indigenous community co-manages this beautiful national park that bridges the Cape Byron State Conservation Area and the Broken Head Nature Reserve. Swim in the waves or walk on the soft sands and enjoy views of the uninterrupted horizon of the Pacific Ocean, bordered to the north by the rocky bluff of Cape Byron.
A great place to start is Tallow Beach, the national park’s sandy crown. Wander along the beautiful 2-mile (3-kilometer) beach, which lies between two rugged headlands. Play in the shallows with the kids or swim in the gentle waves. If the tide is right, wax your surfboard and take on the bigger breaks. Another popular pastime at Tallow Beach is beach fishing. Ask a local what fish are biting and learn about the best places to cast a line.
Stretch out on the sand and spot pied oystercatcher birds patrolling the shoreline for mollusks. You might see white-bellied sea eagles and osprey soaring overhead. Look toward the paperbark trees growing from the dunes behind you to try to spot a variety of woodland birds. During spring and winter, Tallow Beach is a prime location for watching humpback whales as they migrate between Antarctica and the Great Barrier Reef. Bring along a pair of binoculars for the best chance of spotting these magnificent creatures.
Explore the paths that weave through the dune vegetation and appreciate this haven for Aboriginal cultural heritage and local wildlife. Picnic and restroom facilities are available at the national park’s northern entrance.
Arakwal National Park is about a 10-minute drive from the town of Byron Bay. Reach Tallow Beach via the Cosy Corner picnic area in the Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Use the parking at Cosy Corner for a fee. Tallow Beach is not patrolled, so be careful of undercurrents and rough swells. The national park is open to visitors at all times, except in the case of rough weather or extreme fire hazard conditions.