Main Beach Shoreline Project


The Main Beach Shoreline project looks at how we can best protect Byron Bay from coastal erosion. 

The existing coastal protection structure between the First Sun Holiday Park and the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club was designed in the 1960s. The structure is degraded and needs improvement.

Main Beach, Byron Bay is in the heart of Byron Bay’s coastal landscape.

Have your say

Our recent consultation designed to understand what people value most about the Main Beach Shoreline has closed.  

As part of this consultation people were asked to provide feedback on seven concept designs each with different coastal protection features.

To view the concept designs visit Main Beach Shoreline Project on Your Say Byron Shire.

Project overview

In August 2019, we engaged Bluecoast Consulting Engineers to begin an investigation into the best solution to modify the structure.

The project includes:

  • Coastal modelling.
  • Geomorphological assessment of the shoreline.
  • Collection of wave data and expert observations.
  • Exploration of social, environmental and economic values.

Our aim is to find the best possible option for modification of the structure.

For more information download Main Beach Shoreline Project Overview.(PDF, 3MB) 


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

Where the sea and land meet is a coastal protection structure also known as the Jonson Street Protections Works or JSPW. This 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)


Removal of the groynes is expected to increase sand bypassing with gaining of sand (accretion) to the west of the structure and loss of sand (erosion) to the east of the structure. 

Realignment of the structure landward would be expected to see a readjustment of the shoreline with an increase in sand movement from east to west. 

With the shift of the structure off the beach, sand bypassing around the structure would see gaining of sand to the west of the structure and loss of sand to the east of the structure. As such, a considerable landward shift to the eastern shoreline position would be expected.

The next stage of this investigation involves a detailed review of up to three design options. This review will involve coastal modelling and detailed assessment to better understand the expected impacts (positive and negative) to the shoreline and sand movement. More information can be found in the Concept Design Development Report (Bluecoast, November 2020).