Debbie Kruger
Friday, November 12, 1999


Debbie Kruger

All roads lead to Byron Bay in the summer and, with the millennium new year celebrations expected to draw a bigger-than-usual crowd, those roads — both of them — are going to be choked.

But if Byron is your destination and its beaches your lure, here are some tips to guide you to your perfect patch of sand.

In fact, the winds will be your guide for the most part.

With beaches facing in every possible direction around Cape Byron, finding protection is always possible.

Southerlies are the most friendly, offering smooth glassy water for swimming and great waves at the breaks along Main, Clarks, The Pass and Wategos Beaches.

When the wind turns north, as it often does in the summer, head for Cosy Corner at the northern end of Tallow Beach. Or, if you are more adventurous, drive south through Suffolk Park to Broken Head and hike down to one of the more secluded beaches such as Brays, which offers a gorgeous water hole for snorkling.

Taking small children down to the Broken Head beaches might be more trouble than it’s worth. The hikes can be steep and there are no facilities.

Kids will always be safest and happiest at Main or Clarks Beaches, where lifeguards patrol the surf and refreshments are readily available, as well as toilets and showers.

The Pass, which faces west, offers unsurpassed views across the hinterland, and is popular because of its toilets, kiosk and barbecue area in the park behind.

Shade is plentiful, but the constant comings and goings of boats can be hazardous.

What can be more frustrating are the king tides through the Christmas period, which swallow up the already small beach and leave little room to sit on.

Earlier this year king tides swept away much of Byron’s beautiful beaches, and sand regeneration is slow.

The sad tale of Belongil Beach’s erosion has made national headlines, and the rusty car wrecks that were unearthed definitely make for unsafe playgrounds for the young.

Families averse to the sight of nude sunbathers might also want to give Belongil a miss, as well as Broken Head Beach.

If you are bringing your four-legged friends, be aware that dogs are now banned on most Byron beaches.

Belongil is fine and a popular haven for dogs to meet and play. Parts of Tallow Beach are also still dog-friendly, but be sure to read the signs carefully and take that plastic bag for droppings. The rangers are notoriously vigilant.

Parking will be tight, cafes will be crowded, and the long-suffering locals might get a little irritated, but tourists are the life blood of Byron Bay so come on down and join the summer mayhem.

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