Main Beach Shoreline Project

Widely regarded as one of Australia's 'iconic' coastal locations, Main Beach, Byron Bay is centrally located in the heart of Byron Bay’s coastal landscape. Main Beach provides the community with a place to connect with each other and the coastal environment. 

Project overview

In August 2019, Council engaged Bluecoast Consulting Engineers to begin an extensive, multi-faceted investigation to determine the best solution to modify the structure.

The Main Beach Shoreline Project will investigate various modification options, with the intent to improve the current situation.  The project is based on a ‘multiple lines of evidence’ approach which includes coastal modelling, geomorphological assessment of the shoreline, collection of wave data and expert observations. In addition, social, environmental and economic values will be explored and considered as part of the evidence based approach.

By using this approach, our aim is to find the best possible option for modification of the structure.

For further information on the project, download the Main Beach Shoreline Project Overview.(PDF, 3MB) 


The infographic provides an outline of the Main Beach coastal protection works.

At the interface between the sea and the land is a coastal protection structure (also known as the Jonson Street Protections Works or JSPW) that runs along the foreshore between the Main Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and the First Sun Holiday Park, and is next to Apex Park, playgrounds, the Memorial Pool and the beach car park. 

The coastal protection structure comprises a main groyne (located next to the car park) and two smaller groynes to the north (near First Sun Holiday Park) and south (near Apex Park).  The majority of the structure is made of rock of various sizes. 

Main Beach Shoreline Project Infographic

Future protection

Like many coastal areas of NSW, Main Beach is susceptible to coastal erosion.  The structure is a public asset that provides a significant role in protecting the Byron Bay town centre from coastal erosion and underlying long-term recession (movement of shoreline landward). However, the structure is degraded and not to a contemporary or conventional coastal engineering standard. It also doesn't provide suitable public amenity and aesthetics, public safety and access. 

Surfing has long been part of the fabric of Byron Bay. Council understand the value this activity brings to locals and visitors alike and will consider surfing amenity as one of the key investigations under the Main Beach Shoreline Project.

For each modification option, the impacts on surfing amenity at popular and nearby surf spots, including Main Beach and The Wreck, will be considered. Through the multiple lines of evidence approach, a combination of physical data collection (wave and current measurements), local surfing knowledge, coastal modelling of waves and currents, and geomorphological assessment will be utilised to improve the understanding of local wave and hydrodynamic processes.

Through assessment of data and information, specific conditions will be better understood. For example, bar morphology and metocean conditions required for good or bad surfing conditions. This will be essential to not only infer the interaction between the current (e.g. mini-rips cells) and proposed structures with the nearshore wave and hydrodynamic processes, but will also provide an understanding of long-term wave statistics and a variety of characteristic conditions.

This understanding will ensure that the proposed concept options can be optimised to minimise any potential negative impacts to amenity (e.g. beach width, surfing quality) at an early stage of this project. For more detail on the exact collection of data and coastal modelling, please refer to the consultant’s scope of work.(PDF, 5MB)