Horse riding along the beach in Byron Bay with Zephyr Horses is an absolutely magical experience: not only is it one of the most unique things to do in Byron Bay, but it’s one of the best things to do in the whole of NSW Australia! It is honestly an incredible experience and there’s no doubt about it: this definitely needs to go on your bucket list the next time you’re heading to Byron Bay!
BEACH HORSE RIDING IN BYRON BAY WITH ZEPHYR HORSES
Horse Riding Along The Beach In Byron Bay:
The horse rides along the beach with Zephyr Horses are very popular – and for good reason! Having the experience of riding through the sub-tropical forest and then arriving at a spectacular and secluded private entrance to the beach, then walking your horse through the water is truly breathtaking. To top it all off, we even managed to spot dolphins whilst on our beach horse ride – it couldn’t get any more perfect and it was such a special moment!
The beach horse ride takes you along Tyagarah Beach, which is just north of North Belongil Beach. Despite being a few short kilometres from Byron Bay town centre and the more well-known beaches of Main Beach and Wategos Beach, Tyagarah Beach is actually a really great location as you have the Cape Byron Lighthouse positioned perfectly on the backdrop of your beach horse ride, which makes it a great Byron Bay photography spot! Plus Tyagarah Beach is a much quieter beach in terms of beach-goes (you’ll generally only find a handful of beach-goers), which of course makes the experience more special and gives you a big sense of freedom!
Forest To Beach Ride
We did the Forest To Beach 2 hour Horse Ride with Zephyr Horses. The Forest to Beach rides have a maximum of 8 people: I really enjoyed it being a small group as it felt more personalised, you get to know the staff better and they can monitor you more if you need assistance – as neither my partner or I have rode a horse in years so we aren’t particularly experienced at riding horses!
The 2 hour ride is divided into roughly 15 minutes in the round yard by the ranch at the beginning getting acquainted with the horses, then 20 minutes riding your horse from the ranch through the forest to the beach, 45 minutes riding on the beach then 40 minutes back to the ranch through the forest via a different route. I was really impressed by how long we spent on the beach – the riding time was just perfect, not too short or too long.
The transition of riding on your horse from the forest to the beach is very smooth as the bush is adjoining to the beach. To get onto the beach from the forest you will go up a short slope with your horse, and then down again to access the sand. The instructors explain how to sit and hold the horse when you are going up and down the slope so you feel confident. This was quite a fun experience as I had only ever rode on flat surfaces before! The feeling when you are going down the slope and transition from the dirt track to sand is amazing, with the view of the sea unfolding in front of you!
The Forest to Beach rides always take place only when it is low tide, plus they take place solely on weekends (not weekends or Public Holidays). This is to ensure there is plenty space on the sand for the horses, the beach isn’t too busy and so regular beach-goers can enjoy the beach without feeling disturbed by the horses. Although most of the beach-goers we came across were fascinated by the horses and loved seeing them!
And don’t worry if a horse poops on the sand – a member of staff always follows along with a wheelbarrow to pick up any horse poo on the beach to keep it nice and clean (you can see her on the left hand side of the photo below!).
There are two Forest to Beach Horse Rides every week day – plus sometimes there are also sometimes Forest to Beach rides that happen at sunrise or sunset!
Sunrise or Sunset Forest To Beach Ride
The Sunrise and Sunset Forest to Beach Horse rides are even more spectacular than the regular Forest to Beach rides during the day. The Sunrise Ride in particular is the most magical of all the horse rides you can do, as you get to see the sun rise over the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse. If you get a good sunrise, this can honestly make for an unforgettable view!
Like the regular Forest to Beach horse rides, the Sunrise and Sunset rides are only able to happen on weekdays (excluding Public Holidays) when it is a low tide. As tide times change each day, it is not always possible to get a sunrise/sunset on a weekday where the tide is low. Therefore there may only be a handful of dates each month where you can do the sunrise or sunset rides. It is strongly recommended to book the sunrise or sunset rides in advance as they are the most popular tours and sell out very quickly as they aren’t frequent.
For the sunrise or sunset rides, they follow the exact same process as the Forest to Beach Ride (roughly 15 minutes in the round yard with the horses at the beginning, riding through the forest to the beach, 45 minutes riding on the beach then riding back to the ranch through the forest. Whilst we didn’t get to experience a sunrise or sunset ride as during our week in Byron there weren’t any scheduled, we know it would be an incredible experience and would love to witness it next time we are back in Byron!
As the Forest to Beach group tours are mixed-experience group rides, riders of all different levels will be in the same group. In our group we had complete novices, as well as some girls who were very confident and experienced horse riders. Whatever level you are, this won’t hold you back, nor will you feel out of your depth. The staff will always endeavour to tailor the ride to your needs.
If most of the group is made up of beginners, the pace will be a bit slower. If however there is a big variety in levels, the staff can divide the group for a little bit so one member of staff can take the more experienced riders to gallop/canter along the beach, whereas another staff member can be with the less experienced riders walking or trotting on their horses.
If you don’t want to be on a group tour for the Forest to Beach ride or the Forest Trail, you can book a private ride for 1 or more people. Private rides are especially popular with families as children under 10 are not allowed to join the group rides. If you have children aged between around 3-10 that want to do a horse ride you will need to contact Zephyr Horses to book a private ride. Children are not allowed to sit on your lap whist you ride the horse – it must be one person per horse so it may not be suitable for some children.
Private rides are also popular with extremely confident riders who want to do a fast ride, or some total beginners who want to go at a slower pace, as well as people who just want a quieter and more unique experience.
BEACH HORSE RIDING BYRON BAY WITH ZEPHYR HORSES
You are not allowed to bring a phone or a camera along on the ride. There are no exceptions to this! This is for everyone’s safety – it can be so easy to drop or damage a phone/camera on your ride, plus it would make it hard to control your horse. Don’t worry though – the staff bring their phones and take plenty of photos for you as they know that getting photos of this special memory is important to many people.
After the ride the staff will Airdrop all the photos across to you, or email them across to you via WeTransfer if you don’t have an Apple phone. The photos the staff sent were of a really good quality – they’ll take some photos of you as you are walking through the forest and along the beach on your horse, plus they will also stop and take several solo photos of you by the sea, as well as photos with your travel partner/s.
The photos are a really nice added extra that I wasn’t expecting. But it’s important to remember that the staff are not professional photographers, the photos are just an added bonus. You are there primarily for the horse riding experience and not for the photos.
If high quality and professional photos or aerial videos of you horse riding are what’s really important for you, it is recommended for you to purchase one of the photography packages in advance. Zephyr Horses have specific professional photography and aerial video packages available for you to remember the special moment – click here for details and pricing. Bear in mind it needs to be booked in advance as Zephyr Horses will bring in a photographer/videographer for this.
BEACH HORSE RIDING BYRON BAY WITH ZEPHYR HORSES
The staff at Zephyr Horses were incredibly friendly, patient and full of energy which made the ride even more enjoyable. The team was professional throughout and extremely experienced, with communication between all of them very good. Whether you are a novice or very experienced at horse riding, the staff will provide you with the support you need.
They will show you how to hold the reins, how to control the horse and how to stop the horse. It’s important to remember the instructions as you are the one in control of the horse and need to give it clear indications of what you want it to do.
The horse ranch where Zephyr Horses is based is beautiful with rustic chic vibes. It is set amongst sub-tropical woodlands with a stunning lotus pond as the backdrop. There are a couple of benches here where you are welcome to relax on before or after your ride. Plus there are toilets on site as well as a water fountain so you can re-fill your water bottle. There is also space to leave your bags and belongings in the ranch.
The horses have a very good life here – they regularly take it in turns to go on vacation to the owner’s farm in the hinterland where they are free to run wild and recharge their batteries, and then they come back to the ranch.
BEACH HORSE RIDING IN BYRON BAY WITH ZEPHYR HORSES
Alternative Types Of Rides Offered Besides The Forest To Beach Rides:
The Forest Trails are also group tours, but with a maximum of 10 people (you can of course choose a Private Forest Trail Tour instead if you wish). You can choose either a 1 hour Forest Trail or a 1.5 hour Forest Trail ($120 and $150 respectively), with 15 minutes at the beginning getting accustomed to your horse and the remainder of the time spent riding the horse through the forest.
Whilst this will still be a fantastic experience, I highly recommend you book onto the Forest to Beach rides as opposed to the Forest Trail. They are slightly more expensive as they are longer (2 hours long), but riding a horse on the sand was honestly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Riding on the sand and walking in the sea with the horse was truly a wonderful experience. With the Forest Trail you don’t get this experience as you don’t go near the beach at all.
Zephyr Horse also offers 10 minute introductory pony rides at The Farm for children aged 3-8 most Saturday mornings from 9.30-11.30 for $20. This is a great way to introduce your children to the wonderful world of horses. These rides don’t need to be booked in advance, but do double check beforehand on the Zephyr Horses Instagram page that they are running before you turn up.
In addition the popular ‘Mini Zephyrs’ (pony club) group runs for over an hour on Saturday mornings and aims to educate children about caring for and owning a horse.
It’s not just children who are catered for at The Farm when it comes to horse rides. Adults can also get to experience an educational tour around The Farm on horseback ride on some Fridays and Saturdays -.click here to book!
More Zephyr Horses Unique Experiences
Zephyr Horses also do 2.5 hour horseback pub tours most Saturdays! You get to ride from the ranch through the forest to the North Byron Hotel for a delicious pub meal and a beer – sounds fab right?!
If a couple of hours with the horses just isn’t enough, why not book onto one of Zephyr Horses weekend mustering camps – a unique one night camp that includes tent accommodation, horses, food and plenty of other activities!
Horseback Archery is also an option if you want to ride rein-less and have fun shooting targets with a bow and arrow! Horseback archery is suitable for all levels of riders – just contact Zephyr Horses for information on dates!
You can also book the horses for commercial photo shoots and weddings. Imagine these horses in the background of your wedding photos, it would look so dreamy!
BEACH HORSE RIDING IN BYRON BAY NSW WITH ZEPHYR HORSES
What to Wear:
Comfortable Long Trousers
When you make your booking and get your confirmation email, Zephyr Horses will advise you to wear long trousers for your horse ride. This is purely for your comfort so the horse hair doesn’t irritate your legs. Don’t worry if you forget long trousers though and arrive in shorts, you’ll still be allowed to ride. Remember to not wear trousers that are too tight as you will need to get on and off the horse.
Closed Shoes & Socks
Zephyr Horses also recommends for you to wear closed toe shoes for your ride. However, they will provide you with ankle high riding boots to wear in your size for your ride anyway, so don’t worry if you forget your trainers. I do advise to not forget your socks though, just so your feet are comfy in the riding boots.
As we all know the Australian sun is very strong, I definitely recommend you wearing a hat or sunglasses during your ride to give your face some protection from the sun. If you choose to wear sunglasses you will need to keep them on throughout the whole horse ride (you can’t slide them into the top of your t-shirt or your pockets if you want to take them off as they will easily fall down and probably get smashed). I was debating whether to bring sunglasses or not as it was a bit cloudy before we started the ride and nobody else was wearing them. Nevertheless, I stuck with my gut and chose to wear them as my eyes are quite sensitive to the sun. Plus I thought the sun was bound to come out later, and against the reflection of the sand the sun can be quite strong. In the end I was most certainly glad I did wear sunglasses as it was very sunny by the time we arrived to the beach.
If you choose to wear a hat (like many people did on the ride), a baseball cap is best, as bear in mind you will need to wear your hat under the helmet. Helmets are compulsory for the ride, so if you will be tying your hair up in a bun or pony tail, make sure it is a low one so the helmet will sit comfortably on your head.
Suncream of course goes without saying. Even if it’s not sunny before you start your ride, the weather can change a lot in two hours. You don’t want to get caught out and get sunburn as there is no opportunity to apply suncream during the ride.
BEACH HORSE RIDING BYRON BAY NSW WITH ZEPHYR HORSES
Booking Your Zephyr Horses Ride:
Booking online with Zephyr Horses is very easy. The Zephyr Horses website is easy to navigate and you can see the timetable of available tours as well as the amount of spots left for each session. When booking you will be asked to provide your age, height and weight (maximum is 110kg) – purely so the team can match you up with a suitable horse before you arrive. They will also ask for your horse riding experience from 0 to 5 so they know what level you are at (0: never ridden a horse before – 5: comfortable at all gaits and with a more spirited horse). All levels are welcome at Zephyr Horses.
You’ll notice that the times of the Forest To Beach rides can sometimes vary quite a lot and that they are not always at the same time every day. This is because Zephyr Horses are only allowed onto the beach at low tide. And as tide times change each day, the horse rides will therefore need to be timed in accordance with the tides.
Note that additional beach horse rides cannot be accommodated outside of the times offered on the calendar on the website, nor are they allowed on weekends or Public Holidays. This is due to Marine Park licensing restrictions. Also note that Tyagarah Beach is in parts a clothes optional area (ie: nude beach), but it certainly isn’t like there are lots of nudists walking around. I only saw one man very very far away. Plus, the team at Zephyr Horses will always endeavour to steer clear of any nudists, particularly if children are on the ride! Again it’s important to remember when booking that children under 10 can not do the group tours and you will need to book a private tour if you have children under 10.
As Zephyr Horse rides are very popular it is advised to book your ride at least 2 weeks in advance to ensure you get a day and time that suits you, especially if you plan to do the group beach horse rides and sunrise/sunset rides. Remember they only have a limited time period during which they can do the rides due to tide times and Marine Park regulations, so you don’t want to wait until last minute to book a ride and then find out that suitable rides are either sold out or none of the times work for you.
If you need to contact Zephyr Horses just do so through their Contact Form. They are extremely efficient at getting back to you and trying to accommodate your needs. The contact form or email is the best way to reach them as they often pop in and out of the office to the paddocks and also to look after the guests and get them ready before they embark on their horse rides. Communication with the staff before our horse ride was very smooth, efficient and professional.
If you have any medical issues, disabilities or injuries or there is a possibility of pregnancy it is always best to contact Zephyr Horses to discuss prior to making a booking so they can assist you.
BEACH HORSE RIDING BYRON BAY WITH ZEPHYR HORSES!
About Zephyr Horses
Zephyr Horses Byron Bay has around 30 horses – many of them which were rescue brumby horses from the Australian Alps region (Snowy Mountains). As soon as you enter the grounds it’s clear to see that the horses are taken care of extremely well, are trained well and they receive a lot of love from the staff there.
Zephyr Horses are a Covid safe environment – all areas are clean, guests are asked to confirm they haven’t got any visible signs of covid-19 and that they haven’t been in contact with any confirmed cases of covid-19. Guests are also asked to wash their hands with soap and water in the bathrooms upon arrival at Zephyr Horses and social distancing is encouraged throughout.
Location of Zephyr Horses:
Zephyr Horses is located in Byron Bay, just past the entrance of the Elements Of Byron Resort. The entrance to Zephyr Horses is right at the end of Bayshore Drive at the roundabout past Elements – you’ll see the Zephyr Horses sign on your right. Follow the gravel path round to the right and you’ll see the onsite car park (free), and of course some of the horses and ponies! Whilst it may be tempting, don’t approach or pat the horses, just head straight to the ranch and let the staff know you’re here. All the beach rides and forest trail rides start from the ranch.
It’s really important to turn up on time for your ride (ideally 10 minutes before the start time) so you don’t delay the group and you can enjoy the horse riding experience to the maximum! Traffic going in and out of Byron Bay can sometimes get very busy, so it’s a good idea to make your way towards the Arts & Industrial Estate in plenty of time. There are plenty of cafes and shops nearby to keep you busy if you arrive well before your ride is due to start. Alternatively, you can just arrive to the ranch early and chill out on the bench by the calming lotus pond. There isn’t a cafe on site, just a water fountain, so you can always bring snacks – just make sure not to leave any rubbish behind.
If you’ll be taking an Uber from the centre of Byron Bay to the Zephyr Ranch it should cost around $15 – the drive is about 10 minutes. Do be aware that especially during peak times or early in the morning, Uber availability is not great in Byron Bay and you can often be waiting up to 20 minutes to get an Uber. Other times an Uber will turn up within 1 minute so it can really be a gamble, so be sure to book your Uber with plenty of time! Especially if you will be doing the sunrise horse ride, there may not be any Uber drivers on duty, in which case you will need to phone for a regular taxi (Byron Bay Taxis – 0266855008), which may cost more.
An alternate way to get to Zephyr Horses that by car or taxi from the centre of Byron Bay is to take the vintage Solar Train to North Beach Station from Byron Beach Station. From North Beach Station it is about a 5 minute walk to Zephyr Horses along Bayshore Drive. The Byron Solar Train runs every hour from around 10am to 5pm, so do check the timetable beforehand and see if it is convenient for you to take the train. It is a unique experience as it is a restored 1949 era two carriage heritage train. Adult journeys on the Solar Train cost $5 or $10 return. The 3km coastal journey takes roughly 10 minutes, journeying through beautiful rainforest, coastal wetlands, and part of the Cape Byron Marine Park. Click here for more info and to view the timetable.
BEACH HORSE RIDING BYRON BAY WITH ZEPHYR HORSES!
Zephyr Horses have a small store on-site (as well as online!) with merchandise available to purchase such as t-shirts, hats, water bottles etc that make great souvenirs of your trip!
The price is $220 per person for the Forest to Beach ride, and $250 per person for the sunrise or sunset Forest to Beach rides. Whilst this may seem a little expensive for some people, I honestly feel it is completely worth the money for such a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience. Treat yourself and your loved ones as an upcoming gift for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, Valentines Day – there’s always a reason to celebrate! Also be sure to keep an eye on out the Zephyr Horses Instagram page as sometimes they do surprise discounts on there!
SUMMARY OF BEACH HORSE RIDING BYRON BAY WITH ZEPHYR HORSES
The beach horse riding experience with Zephyr Horses is honestly one of the best things to do in Byron Bay NSW. Whether it’s your first time on a horse or you’ve done hundreds of rides before, it’s bound to be a special and unforgettable memory that will last a lifetime. We know it certainly was for us – we enjoyed it so much and were talking about it for days after!
Whether you plan to book a romantic sunset horse ride for yourself and your partner, or an action packed ride for your friends or the whole family, a beach ride with Zephyr Horses is sure to be a memorable experience with memories that will last a lifetime.
What Else Is There To Do In & Around Byron Bay?
If Zephyr Horses alone hasn’t convinced you that Byron Bay is the perfect holiday destination, check out these other things to do around the trendy laid-back town of Byron! Whether you want to relax or want to do different activities each day, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Byron Bay. Byron Bay is a very popular place for all types of travellers, from backpackers and grey nomads to the elite and rich and famous and is a firm favourite on any East Coast Australia NSW road trip itinerary! Many people come back to Byron again and again as they just love the energy and good vibes here. There is just something about this place that makes you long to return!
Cape Byron Lighthouse
A must when you are in Byron Bay is to visit Cape Byron Lighthouse – mainland Australia’s most easterly point. As this is the most iconic photo spot in Byron Bay it does get busy, especially at the weekends – but it is most definitely a magical experience! The lighthouse is so picturesque, located ontop of a cliff overlooking the ocean and you can get some fantastic photos here.
Sunrise is a popular time to visit as this is the first place in Australia where you can see the sun rise every day. The view of the sun coming up over the ocean is magical. Sunset is also popular and people often come up here with groups of friends with some food, drinks and music and enjoy the view and the sun disappearing over the hills.
Visit The Pass Or Wategos Beach
Byron Bay is known internationally for it’s epic surf beaches. The Pass and Wategos Beach are firm favourites for surfers to catch waves. If surfing isn’t your thing and you’d prefer to stay on dry land, take a walk up to The Pass from Main Beach to get a lovely view back over Main Beach.
The Pass is an elevated viewing platform and is a lovely place to watch the surfers – plus you can often spots dolphins here too! You can get some lovely pictures of the staircase overlooking the beach, or you can get some looking out over the ocean. If you visit at low tide it will be a lot easier to walk here, whereas if you visit at high tide you’ll need to wade through the water a little to get to the steps!
Halfway between Cape Byron Lighthouse and The Pass is Wategos Beach. Wategos is a beautiful sheltered beach popular with surfers and locals.
Visit The Trendy Boutique Shops, Cafes & Restaurants
There is a lovely atmosphere in Byron Bay with lots of family businesses and start-up companies. There are many lovely boutique clothes stores to wander round, plus there are so many great cafes and restaurants here. As Byron is a free-spirited place, you’ll find many vegan restaurants that offer simply delicious food. We tried out many vegan restaurants during our time here, but our absolute favourite was No Bones.
Kayak With Dolphins or Snorkel At Julians Rocks
The marine life in Byron Bay is honestly out of this world. Here at Byron Bay you can kayak with dolphins – which is an incredible experience, or you can go snorkeling at Julians Rocks – one of the best snorkeling sites in Australia, but in my opinion it was even better than snorkeling at The Great Barrier Reef (which I have done twice). During the summer months you can swim with the endangered leopard sharks (we swam with at least 12!), and during the winter you can swim with grey nurse sharks. Dolphins, turtles, rays and many unique fish such as clown fish are here year round. The snorkeling trips depart from Brunswick Heads – 20km north of Byron Bay, and I recommend you explore Brunswick Heads after and Torakina Beach as it is a lovely little town.
During the months of April to October roughly, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales on their migration – a truly magnificent sight!
Minyon Falls, Nimbin or Crystal Castle Day Trips Into Byron Hinterland
If hiking and swimming underneath waterfalls if your thing, then a trip to Minyon Falls should definitely be on the cards for you. Hike down to the waterfall and swim at the base of the waterfall (100 metres high) before hiking back up and continuing your journey to Nimbin. Nimbin is the hippie and marijuana capital of Australia and is certainly an interesting place – you’ll feel like you’ve walked back into the 1970’s!
Crystal Castle is also located in the Byron Hinterland, and the highlight is the twin amethyst crystals here. These crystals are the largest and most beautiful crystals in the world, from the amethyst fields in Uruguay, standing at a breathtaking 5.5 metres tall. These crystals were created millions of years ago from molten lava flow and are extremely rare, usually hidden deep below the earth’s surface. When they were discovered in 2016 they were transported to Crystal Castle.
Byron Bay is certainly in a convenient and accessible location – in just over one hour’s drive you can be on The Gold Coast in Queensland, or you can be in Brisbane in less than 2 hours. Several cheap flights a day go from Sydney to Ballina (the gateway to Byron) and the flight time is just over one hour.
This post is sponsored by Zephyr Horses. All views and opinions however are my own.