Enjoy Looking and Feeling Amazing in North Coast NSW
Just a few hours’ drive north of Sydney, Taree is at the heart of the beautiful Manning Valley on the North Coast of NSW. The town is by the Manning River, a popular waterway for fishing, boating and rowing. Delicious oysters are farmed in the meandering river and nearby Great Lakes.
You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in Taree as well as cafes, pubs and restaurants serving fresh produce and seafood from the area. Check out the shows at the Manning Entertainment Centre and take the Taree Heritage Walk. A popular annual event on the river is the Easter Powerboat Spectacular. From Taree, enjoy some of the best scenic drives in NSW. Explore the national park wilderness, wineries and farmers markets. Take the route through Coorabakh National Park, from Wingham to Elands, with the magnificent Ellenborough Falls a highlight. The sub-tropical rainforest at Wingham Brush Nature Reserve has a boardwalk to follow. Tapin Tops is splendid park wilderness, too.
For a bird’s-eye view of the valley, from the hinterland to the coast, Manning River Aero Club offers scenic flights for 30, 45 or 60 minutes. On the valley’s coastal strip, boating, fishing, swimming and surfing are popular at pretty towns from Wallabi Point to Old Bar and Crowdy Head.
A paradise of natural attractions and outdoor adventures, Port Macquarie is only four hours’ drive north of Sydney on the NSW North Coast. The city is home to a tempting range of delicious food at cafes and restaurants and an exciting events calendar of arts, sports and festivals.
Two top attractions are the Koala Hospital and the Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park, home to a giant saltwater crocodile called Shrek. Explore the beautiful Hastings River, where succulent oysters grow, and spot dolphins on a cruise with Port Venture Cruises and Port Macquarie Cruise Adventures. Whale-watching cruises depart the harbour at Port Macquarie between May and November, when thousands of whales migrate along the coast, including humpbacks, the stars of the annual journey. With the sparkling ocean teeming with fish, deep-sea fishing charters are popular all year. Discover the spectacular coastline, including white sandy beaches, on the Port Macquarie coastal walk in the Sea Acres National Park. At the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre you can join a guided Aboriginal cultural heritage tour and amble along the enchanting Sea Acres Rainforest boardwalk.
Natural beauty and fun attractions draw families and adventurers to Coffs Harbour, a coastal city on the mid North Coast of NSW. Enjoy gorgeous beaches, water sports, adventure sports including skydiving, scuba diving and game fishing, and friendly encounters with animals.
You’ll find plenty of accommodation options, many near a beach. Amble along the Jetty Strip at the bottom of Harbour Drive and choose from a delicious range of restaurants and cafes. You can walk across a marina breakwater to Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve for spectacular views. The Solitary Island Marine Park is a haven for marine creatures including whales during their annual migration between May and November. This beautiful marine park includes scenic estuaries, beaches and headlands. At Solitary Islands Aquarium, marvel at colourful clownfish and venomous lionfish. In the Butterfly House, you can walk among hundreds of butterflies.
You can also explore the amazing underwater world with Jetty Dive and during whale-watching season, take a cruise boat to see majestic humpbacks at play. The green hillsides around the town are the perfect backdrop for the Big Banana, one of Australia’s most visited and iconic big things. The kids will love the amusement rides at the Big Banana Fun Park, including water slides, a thrilling tobogganing ride and a candy-making kitchen.
Grafton, located nearly 50 km from the coast, is a substantial and gracious rural city characterised by wide streets, elegant Victorian buildings, a superb location on the banks of the Clarence River, a sense of solidity and permanence, and a long-standing concern with civic beauty which is obvious from the 24 parks which adorn the city.
The first ornamental trees were planted as early as 1874 and the city’s famous jacaranda stands, which are celebrated with an annual festival, were planted in 1907-08. The city is situated on, and divided by, the Clarence River which, until 1932 when the unusual two storey bridge was built, presented a major barrier between the city centre and the road to Sydney. The Clarence with its tributaries – the Nymboida, the Orara, the Mann and the Coldstream – constitutes the largest river system on the northern New South Wales coast. It drains over two million hectares and contains over 100 islands, including Susan Island which lies between Grafton and South Grafton. Grafton is the major settlement on the Clarence River and the commercial centre of an extensive agricultural and pastoral district. The fertile river flats are used for dairying, sugar cane and mixed farming. Fishing, the raising of pigs and cattle, and the processing and marketing of primary produce are also important to the local economy.
Grafton is a great base for exploring spectacular national park wilderness, including ancient rainforest in the Washpool National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Chaelundi National Park is popular for mountain biking and walking trails.
Ballina is a popular holiday destination with plenty of waterside attractions, including beautiful beaches, delightful river cruises and exhilarating kayaking tours. Watch the fishing boats head for sea at sunset and taste the catch of the day at the town’s restaurants and cafes.
With 25 km of cycle paths, explore the Richmond River and coastline with hired bicycles from Transition Cycles, The Bicycle Emporium or Sunrise Cycles. You can also discover more about the area with Kayak Ballina Tours. Bushwalking is great way to experience the colourful birdlife. The town is close to the splendid national parks of Broadwater and Bundjalong, where you can go canoeing on Evans River. For a heritage walk, take the Ballina Historic Waterfront Trail and you might see dolphins frolicking.
During whale-watching season, the Ballina coastline is great for spotting migrating whales. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in Ballina and check out the events calendar for festivals and markets, including the Ballina Fine Food and Wine Festival.
A major town in verdant hinterland on the far North Coast of NSW, Lismore is a wonderful holiday destination. Home for many artists and performers, you’ll find a rich cultural life reflected in the number of art galleries, theatres, performing arts spaces and markets in and around Lismore.
Discover outdoor sculptures along the riverbank on the Wilsons River Experience Walk. A great way to experience the town’s galleries – and vintage and recycling markets on weekends – is on the Arts, Vintage and Retro Trail, a delightful walk that includes street art and the Lismore Regional Gallery. Join the festivities for the Lismore Lantern Parade, held on or around every winter solstice, the longest night of the year. This brilliant event celebrates strong multicultural and community spirit with a spectacular parade featuring illuminated puppets, pyrotechnics, and music and fire art.
For fresh local produce, browse the weekly Lismore Organic Market. Volcanic soils in the Lismore region produce a range of delicious produce, including macadamia, avocado, stone fruit, blueberries, coffee, beef, pork and dairy. There are farmers markets in Nimbin and Blue Knob, too. For precious stones and jewellery, enjoy the Lismore Gemfest in May. The town is also a great base for exploring World Heritage rainforest in the region, including Nightcap National Park and Border Ranges National Park. Accommodation options in Lismore and surrounds suit a range of budgets.
Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 772 kilometres (480 mi) north of Sydney and 165 kilometres (103 mi) south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. At the 2011 census, the town had a permanent population of 4,959. The town is in turn the nucleus of Byron Shire, which had 29,209 residents.
Popular beaches include the year-round patrolled Main Beach and Clarkes and Wategos beaches. Little Wategos is Australia’s easternmost beach, accessible on foot. The easy-going seaside town has plenty of accommodation options, delicious cafes and restaurants, and vibrant markets. ours are available of the spectacular natural attractions, including World Heritage-listed rainforest in the Byron Bay region’s hinterland. Take a rainforest cycling adventure with Mountain Bike Tours, or go walking in the ancient rainforest of Mount Warning with Byron Bay Adventure Tours.
Cape Byron Marine Park is home to dolphins, turtles, rays and seabirds. An unforgettable experience is kayaking up close to dolphins or whales during whale-watching season with Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay or Cape Byron Kayaks. And the Cape Byron walking track has truly marvellous views.
On the far North Coast of NSW, Tweed Heads is a popular holiday spot for its beautiful Tweed River, white sandy beaches and sparkling ocean. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options, making the town a great base for exploring the wonderful Tweed region, including World Heritage rainforest. Take a rainforest river cruise with Tweed Endeavour Cruises and feed birds of prey on an island. You can trap mud crabs with Tweed Endeavour or Catch a Crab, which includes a visit to an oyster farm. Or hire a houseboat from Boyds Bay Houseboat Holidays and enjoy the river at your own pace.
At Point Danger Lookout you can spot dolphins. Between May and November, majestic humpbacks migrate along the coast. For an underwater adventure, Cooly Dive offers diving and snorkelling tours to Cook Island Aquatic Reserve, a haven for green sea turtles, giant gropers and grey nurse sharks. The ocean beaches offer some of the best surfing in Australia. Tweed Coast Pro surfing competition is held at Cabarita Beach, about 20 minutes’ drive south of the town centre. The recreational fishing is superb too, including deep-sea fishing charters and fishing tours in a kayak.