Varied, scenic and accessible are arguably the best words to describe the running routes available to visitors and locals alike here in Byron Bay.
Whether you prefer running along road, beach or trail and whether you seek out simple jogs along the beach or heart-starting hills, you’ll find routes perfect for any kind of run and runner! What’s more, running here comes with the added reward of enjoying breathtaking views as standard.
We spoke to Caroline Bailey from Byron Bay Runners, the local running club that welcomes locals and visitors alike to their weekly social runs and training sessions. Here, she shares her expert opinion with us, offering her pick of the best running routes in Byron Bay and reasons why running is such a delight all year-round here.
Let’s discover five of the best running routes in Byron Bay.
1) Byron Bay Lighthouse Run – Road and Trail
A challenging loop run with ocean views, rising to Byron’s iconic landmark.
Byron Bay’s Lighthouse is a central feature of this coastal destination. It’s also host to an iconic and challenging run, filled with stunning views at every step. And it’s a run that Caroline considers an absolute must-do for every runner in Byron Bay.
There are a range of possible variations on this route. Ours begins from Captain Cook car park, located on Lighthouse Road (find toilets and water bubbler here too). While only 3.6km, this run incorporates 149m of elevation change and some memorable pulse-raising ascents.
- Head up the hill along the boardwalk (stopping for a picture above The Pass) and turn left to follow the steep footpath down to The Pass car park.
- Follow this footpath through the car park and past the outdoor gym equipment.
- The path heads up over the headland, offering incredible cliff views. It’s a mix of wide steps and sloping path connecting The Pass to Wategos Beach. Caroline rates this short section as one of the best coastline walks in Australia, so it’s worth visiting even if you’re not running!
- Continue along the footpath past Wategos Beach to find, in the far corner, the famous (read: infamous) footpath leading up to Byron Bay Lighthouse.
- Follow this steep paved track to the lighthouse, taking a breather at various points to enjoy views that can stretch on a clear day from the Gold Coast down to Ballina.
- Continue past the lighthouse and car park (more toilets and water bubbler located here), following the pavement to its end. Head up into the forest along the Tallows Ridge Track, (you’ll notice the green hang gliding launch spot just up the hill). Alternatively, take the higher road back down for a gentler descent.
- Tallows Ridge Track soon becomes trail and offers an exhilarating and undulating route back to the start point. The track is clear throughout, so you can focus on enjoying this run through beautiful coastal bush.
For a shorter, step-free route simply continue along Lighthouse Road after leaving the boardwalk, then take the road on the right where it forks and follow this steady incline up to the Lighthouse. Return via the same route.
2) Elements to Byron Bay – Beach or Road
A simple, flat loop taking in beach and road – perfect around sunrise or sunset.
Elements is a great place to start a short loop that features both beach and road. There are well-maintained pavements from the resort to the centre of Byron, and the Belongil Estuary is a great place to cool off when you’ve worked up a sweat.
As Caroline points out, “Byron Bay is very runner friendly. There are plenty of footpaths and lots of terrains to explore with beautiful scenery to explore along the way.”
This simple loop is a great example of this. You can use it as a basis for a longer run exploring Byron town centre too.
- Leave the Elements resort onto Bayshore Drive and turn left.
- Pass North Beach station on your left, then turn left onto Sunrise Blvd, located opposite Habitat, and follow this winding road until you reach Ewingsdale Road.
- Cross this main road (at the pedestrian crossing), then turn left, crossing Belongil Creek as you head towards Byron Bay.
- Continue along this road. As you reach the roundabout next to the Police Station and service station, turn left, heading into the centre of Byron.
- At the next roundabout, turn left and head up the typically busy Jonson Street towards Byron’s Main Beach.
- As you reach the sea wall, turn left (away from town) and make your way down onto the sand of Belongil Beach.
- Follow this stretch until you reach the Belongil Estuary as it feeds into the ocean. Take off your runners and enjoy the reward of the warm water at the end of this running route.
3) Suffolk Park – Trail and Beach
A thrilling trail route through rainforest and along secluded beaches.
Located to the south of Byron Bay, Suffolk Park boasts a diverse range of hilly trails that offer access to some of the area’s less visited beaches.
It’s a great place to escape the crowds, though it’s recommended not to run alone as the area is quite secluded. Always stick to the designated paths and roads too.
- From the car park on Broken Head Road, head straight up Seven Mile Road, which soon becomes a rough track. You’ll be sharing this route with cars so, although it’s a quiet road, stay vigilant about oncoming vehicles.
- The winding road climbs steadily, reaching the car park for Kings Beach in a little under 1km.
- Continue to the end of this car park to find the staircase in the right-hand corner. A mix of bush track and steps, this trail running route eventually opens out onto Kings Beach. After a brief pause or lap of the beach, head back up the stairs to reach Seven Mile Road again.
- For a shorter run, continue back down the road to the start for a run of approx. 2.5km. If you’re seeking a longer run, turn left and continue up the road.
- Pass over the top (another possible turnaround point) and head down until you reach a small car park and trail entrance on your left.
- Follow this trail down to Whites Beach to discover another of Byron’s hidden gems.
- Retrace your steps up the stairs and trail then back along Seven Mile Road until you arrive back at the start.
Note: It’s important to stick to the designated paths, for more than your own safety. This is Arakwal land, and remaining on the paths is an important sign of respect for their rights as the local Indigenous peoples.
Distance: 2.5 – 7km
4) Byron to Brunswick Heads – Beach
A 10km beach run connecting Elements to the idyllic village of Brunswick Heads.
Home to the annual Byron to Brunswick Beach Run, this 10km running route takes in an unbroken stretch of beach backed by beautiful coastal rainforest and bush. It’s also a great example of Caroline’s number one reason why she loves running in Byron Bay.
“If you’re doing a hard hill session, you’ll get rewarded with some of the best views in the world. And if you’re heading out for an easy recovery run, you can take it along the beach with the sunset coming up and dolphins in the surf. There’s just so much natural beauty here, it’s never boring!”
The route also finishes in the charming fishing village of Brunswick Heads. Here you’ll find plenty of great cafes where you can reward yourself for your hard work!
- To run the full 10km route, begin on Belongil Beach in front of Elements of Byron.
- Head away from Byron Bay town and start running north.
- Staying on the beach, simply continue until you reach the sea wall at Brunswick Heads – you’ll know you’ll have reached it because you can’t run any further!
Please be aware that a section of Tyagarah Beach is a designated ‘clothing-optional’ beach.
5) Local Public Track
A championship standard grass oval open to the pubic year-round.
If you’re keen to keep up your training on the track, you’ll be glad to know that Byron has a 400m track that’s open to the public.
It’s free for individuals to use and is open, weather permitting, year-round. You’ll find the track behind the Cavanbah Centre next to the AFL oval. There’s plenty of parking available, though it’s only 2.2km jog from Elements resort – the perfect warm-up!
Note: Organised group training sessions need to seek prior permission from the Cavanbah Centre.
And don’t forget to check out our guide to health and wellbeing in Byron Bay.
Want more inspiration for things to do in Byron Bay? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay.