PHOTO: No longer a pristine stretch of sand, there has been severe erosion at Byron Bay's Clarkes Beach. (ABC North Coast: Bruce MacKenzie)

Clarkes Beach in New South Wales stripped by erosion, lack of replenishing sand normally swept around Cape Byron

Australia - A popular beach in Byron Bay on the New South Wales north coast has been washed away by what locals are describing as the worst erosion in at least 30 years.

Tonnes of sand has been stripped from Clarkes Beach, with the remaining dunes teetering on the brink of collapse.

Byron Mayor Simon Richardson said the sand, which is usually swept around Cape Byron to replenish beaches in the bay, was not getting into the sheltered corner.

"We've had king tides and various things that are all exacerbating [it]," he said.

"It seems that we've got three or four relatively unusual environmental effects all happening on top of each other.

"It does certainly seem to be the worst for many decades.

"There's serious damage along the dunal system getting up towards the holiday park there, and it's really difficult when nature has decided to play a little differently.

Two people walk on the sand at Byron Bay's Clarkes Beach.
PHOTO: Calm before the storms: Byron Bay's Clarkes Beach is usually an idyllic stretch of sand. (Supplied: Reflections Holiday Parks)

The erosion has come in the middle of a school holiday period in NSW.

Jack Plimmer, the executive manager of capital works at Reflections Holiday Parks, said it had forced the closure of some prime camping facilities.

"We had to cancel a few guest bookings in some cabins until we can make them safe," he said.

"We also had to demolish a guest lounge that was on a viewing platform there.

"We're looking at doing some sandbagging at the toe of the dune for a 90-day placement which will help with safety while we do some of those medium-term works, including moving some of those cabins back into the middle of the park.

A viewing platform about to topple into the sea after severe erosion of sand dunes at Byron Bay's Clarkes Beach.
PHOTO: A viewing platform about to topple into the sea after severe erosion of sand dunes at Clarkes Beach. (ABC North Coast: Elloise Farrow-Smith)

Mr Plimmer described the situation as a 'whole of beach' problem.

"We are really concerned about what this means for the future of the park, certainly short term," he said.

"I don't think the future of the park is in jeopardy at the moment, but some of our prime waterfront sites certainly are.

"If our park is at risk it's not only our park. It's the National Parks cabins on the corner and the beach restaurant right next door to us, as well as the council facilities."

Cr Richardson said the council was consulting with other authorities, but would not be making any knee-jerk reactions.

Severe erosion of sand dunes at Byron Bay's Clarkes Beach.
PHOTO: Severe erosion of sand dunes in front of Byron Bay's Reflections Holiday Park. (ABC North Coast: Bruce MacKenzie)

See ABC North Coast article . . .