Pat says the region out the back of Byron Bay will blow you away and in Season 14, he showed us exactly why. Starting at Lennox Head Beach on the coast, it wasn’t long before he took us on a journey inland. We saw beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes, lookouts and of course, some top 4WDing spots.
Here’s how to get off the bitumen beyond Byron Bay.
Drive along the beach at Lennox Head
Drive along the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, a pristine stretch of iconic sand loved by surfers and fishermen. A 4WD permit is required to drive this stretch of the beach so you will need to purchase one from the 4WD permit self-register machine on Camp Drewe Road.
Head off-road in a kayak
Jump in a kayak at Fingal Head and paddle out around 400 – 500 metres to Cook Island. Here you can jump in (or overturn the kayak as Pat did) and snorkel the amazing reef that surrounds the island. Cook Island itself is a sanctuary for birdlife but underneath the island has to be seen to be believed. Spotting turtles is a common occurrence and here you will find Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles.
Challenge yourself at Levuka 4WD Park
Swap the lush green of the national parks to a bit more brown when you challenge yourself through the muddy sections at Levuka 4WD Park. In season 14, we watch Pat try out the “Playground” before moving on to the Bullant Track which took him from open forest to cascading creeks within the park’s very own rainforest.
Levuka 4WD Park is located on beef cattle country and as a result, campers and offroaders will need to be mindful of the bovine inhabitants when they’re having fun. Situated on the southwestern edge of an ancient volcanic formation, Levuka 4WD Park’s campgrounds boast great views across the valley.
Explore Mount Jerusalem National Park on foot
Pat hiked the Middle Ridge Trail to visit Hell’s Hole Falls in the lush rainforests of Mount Jerusalem National Park. Why is it called Hell’s Hole? Apparently many years ago when the area was still logged, it was hard to get the logs down the mountain through the rough terrain. The loggers would push the logs into the creek and wait for the flood waters to carry them down the mountains. However, the timber would get stuck in one spot. You guessed it…Hell’s Hole.
If you’re not done chasing waterfalls, see if you can find Unicorn Falls or Boogarem Falls. Bear in mind that there is no formal walking track to the latter and NSW National Parks discourage it due to the risk of falling.
Watch the sunrise from the Pinnacles in the Border Ranges National Park
Many people say that the Pinnacles Lookout is one of the best places in Australia to watch the sunrise. It’s a short hike in but it’s worth getting up early for the uninterrupted views over the World Heritage-listed rainforest, crater escarpment, Tweed Valley and Wollumbin (Mount Warning).
While you’re here in the Border Ranges National Park, pay a visit to the ancient Antarctic Beech Trees. These mossy monsters are a remnant of the Ice Age period, growing to around 50-metres high and two to three thousand years old.