If you happen to make the long trek between Sydney and Brisbane by car, you will no doubt be looking for a few stops along the way. Luckily there are lots of treasures to explore as you work your way along the Pacific Highway, perfect for a 1 hour stop to rest and recharge.
One of the best spots to visit is iconic Byron Bay. Famous for its surf, laid back lifestyle and funky alternative vibe, Byron Bay is high on the list of places to visit on the NSW far north coast.
We decided to stop in Byron Bay on our way back from the Gold Coast. Being a mere hour and a half south of Surfers Paradise, it’s a popular destination for many, and a great spot for a brief detour on a longer journey. Even with only an hour to spare – long enough for a bite to eat and stretch your legs – there are so many options to explore.
You can stop in at one of the many cafes or browse your way through the eclectic mix of shops. You can check out the local beach with its famous surf breaks or explore the bushland and countryside that surrounds the township.
But if you have kids to entertain (or tire out for the rest of your journey!) the Cape Byron Bay lighthouse is the destination for you. Perched on the most easterly point in Australia, the lighthouse is accessed by road or by foot, and features amazing views of the NSW coastline.
Managed by the national trust, car parking is available near the lighthouse itself for a flat fee. Otherwise you can park in one of the smaller carparks dotted along the access road. If you have kids, particularly toddlers, you may want to try to park closer to the lighthouse for convenience (it’s a steep hill climb to the top).
On the day we visited, the lighthouse museum was manned by a volunteer who was able to share fascinating insights into the lighthouse, Byron Bay and the history of shipping along the NSW coast. The range of historical objects on display is impressive and Gilbert, Matilda and I spent lots of time in here checking them all out.
I was surprised to learn the lighthouse is actually a lot younger than I expected it to be – it was only built in 1901 but it’s still a working light house to this day.
If history is not a crowd pleaser for your kids, take them for a stroll along the headland instead. A few hundred metres down from the light house is the most easterly point of Australia itself, a perfect photo opportunity for the whole family.
If you have more than an hour to spend here, wander further along the headland to Captains Cook’s Lookout – I know I wanted to check it out for myself on our visit there.
We really enjoyed our stop in Byron Bay and ended up staying longer than our planned hour – we really did thoroughly enjoy our time there. I can definitely recommend it as a stop along the way if you are heading up to Queensland or coming down into NSW.
If you had 1 hour in Byron Bay, what would you choose to do?