Where to see Dolphins, Whales and More
A Guide to Byron Bay’s Wildlife
With rainforests, waterways, beaches and ocean reserves, Byron Bay is the ultimate animal-lovers destination. Whether you come for the whale watching in winter, the snorkelling in summer, or the cool and quiet of the rainforests, you can get your fill of wildlife all year.
Byron Bay is considered one of the best places in the country for whale watching, with the Southern Hemisphere humpback whales on their way to the breeding and birthing grounds in the subtropics. At more than 2,500-kms, this is considered one of the longest migrations in the animal kingdom. Whales migrate past Byron Bay from May to November, and there are several excellent tours or vantage points in the area from which to catch the whales in action, or you may be lucky enough to spot them while walking along Tallow Beach.
Byron Bay is known to have a large population of bottlenose dolphins, so much so that you’ll almost always see some swimming by if you hang around some of the vantage points like the hills around Little Wategos and Wategos beaches.
Flying foxes may occupy a camp for months or years and generally leave for the winter. Over the last few years, Middleton Street camp in Byron Bay has had residents all year. At the other four camps, the flying foxes leave over the winter months, to return in the spring. The numbers of residents at each camp varies from month to month and year to year. Flying fox camps can be identified by a distinct earthy, musky smell. It is with this scent that they communicate with each other. Keep your eye out at dusk when the flying foxes take flight – it is an amazing site to see!
Koalas have been recorded over much of the Shire from the coast to the hinterland. Within the coastal belt significant koala habitat areas have been identified at Brunswick Heads, Tyagarah, Myocum, West Mullumbimby and West Byron. In the hinterland, significant koala habitat has been identified in Bangalow, Federal, Goonengerry, Wilson’s Creek, Huonbrook and Montecollum. Koalas are one of Australia's most iconic animals, recognisable around the world. However, koala populations are under increasing pressure. Koala conservation programs are being undertaken on a national, state and local level. Keep an eye out when wandering our boardwalks as we have had a koala or two visit the resort!
Byron Shire is home to 28 species of native frogs including four listed as threatened in NSW. This means Byron Shire has one of the highest diversity of frogs in any one place in Australia. As you fall asleep in your rainforest suite, pause for a moment to enjoy your very own lullaby, compliments of our frog population.
This guy is mostly found at night in areas infested with lantana. They are found in parts of Queensland and the Northern Rivers. The biggest threats to its survival is habitat loss, predation by foxes, and grazing pressures due to feral goats and rabbits.
Australia's acrobats, the brush-tailed rock-wallaby is fantastic at climbing trees and rocks. Threats to their survival are similar to the threats faced by the black-striped wallaby. Keep an eye out for the brush-tailed in the Byron at Byron rainforest and in the areas around the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
It is estimated there are just 230 northern hairy-nosed wombats left in the world. It is believed they were once widespread in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Threats include predation by wild dogs, fierce competition for food with the Eastern grey kangaroo, disease, floods, drought, wildfire and loss of habitat. Walk the trails near Tallow beach and there’s still a chance you might just bump into one of these guys if you are lucky.
Australian Brush Turkey
What’s a wildlife list without including this infamous character? You’ll need no introduction; there’ll be no waiting in bushes in silence to meet one of these guys. The Australian Brush Turkeys (or Bush Turkeys as they are also known) will make themselves very familiar with you from the get-go. From strutting around down near the beaches looking for a stolen snack to scratching through the leaf litter in the rainforest, they are quite common in Byron Bay and around the resort grounds.
Growing up to a meter in length, the impressive Water Dragon is the largest of the dragon species in Australia and we have them right here at the resort! It is specially adapted to aquatic life, with a long tail that is up to two-thirds of its length, and nostrils right on top of its nose. Whenever threatened, he will take to the water, where he can submerge from several minutes up to an hour to escape predators or climb a tree using his powerful legs and long claws. Keep an eye out for them on the boardwalks near the creek.