Travel the North Coast of New South Wales, Australia

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North CoastNorth CoastOver the years we have traveled most of the North Coast of New South Wales in Australia. Glorious Pacific Ocean surf beaches and
towns where it is a combination of warmth, sophistication and quirkiness have made this one of Australia's most popular holiday regions.

Parks protect much of the coastline around Coffs Harbour, and a string of small surfing and fishing communities provide facilities for the groups of walkers and campers who explore the area. Coffs Harbour itself is an important commercial centre, servicing the region's large scale agricultural and fishing industries. It is also a very well equipped tourist destination, with major resort facilities and opportunities for divers, anglers, kayakers and surfers.

The far north coast ecxtends from Wooli, east of the major centre of Grafton, to the border with Queensland, its centrepiece the backpacker/surfer haven of Byron Bay. A magical coastal town that we always enjoy. The region has spectacular beaches, legendary surf and a backdrop of World Heritage listed rainforests and mountains. A photographers dream.
The Clarence, Richmond and Tweed rivers, all intersect the coastal plains, creating harbours for the local fishing boats and protected areas fro swimming and boating. You will find the place has remains a place of great peace and beauty, with development confined to major centres.

We have found the Sydney to Brisbane railway offers economic travel to many parts of the region, and airports service coffs Harbour, Ballina and Coolangatta and their surrounding areas.

Must see, must do on the Coast

The things you must see and do on the coast are many, we have seen a and done some very interesting things over the years. Share a wave with a dolphin at the Pass, Byron Bay. A must to do. Watch wales from atop the region's rocky headlands. Cruise one of the beautiful northern rivers. A trail ride along the beach at Lennox Head. Dive with grey nurse sharks around the Solitary Islands.

When to Visit the North Coast

Year round. The region enjoys a subtropical climate, with winter temperatures achieving a pleasant daily maximum of 20 degress. Byron Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour are extremely busy over the Christmas period. Byron Bay remains busy until Easter, when the popular blues festival is held Migrating whales are in the area around June to October.

Towns along the North Coast we have visited over the past ten years.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay defies conventional trends in regional development: it has banned fast food chains, imposed strict height limitsByron BayByron Bay on buildings, rejected unsuitable businesses, locked up prime parcels of real estate in permanent reserves and reduced its tourism marketing to barely discernible levels and still it booms.

We where told that before it became a surfers paradise the town was the site for a whaling station and abattoir.
When you visit these days hundreds of thousands of tourists, backpackers, surfers, families arrive each year to enjoy the town's stunning beaches, sign up for a large number of outdoor and cultural activities, indulge in a mind boggling array of alternative therapies, You will find cafe and shops pack the small network of streets and open well into the night. Between Christmas and Ester the traffic can be bumper to bumper, which makes walking the better option.

Accommodation in Byron Bay ranges from Backpacker hostels and a popular foreshore caravan park, that is great for families to a five star resort. Surfing instruction and seakayaking and diving tours are just some of the activities on offer. If you are a land lover, the bushwalking is excellent around Cape Byron and Broken Head Nature Reserve.

Brunswick Heads and Tweed HeadsTweed heads BeachTweed heads Beach

You might find you will prefer Brunswick Heads and Tweed Heads, pretty riverside towns to the bustle and buzz of Byron Bay. Brunswick River is the town's scenic centrepiece, with its little boar harbour, shore side pub and scattering of inner
city standard cafes and restaurants. We prefer to swim and surf at South Beach, conditions can be rough, so you have to make sure to swim only during patrol periods.

Tweed Heads has big malls, clubs, hotels, resorts and a large retiree population. Tweed Heads is popular with anglers, mainly due to the access it provides to beautiful Tweed River. Charter vessels can be arranged to take you out to rich offshore waters and divers to Cook Island, a fantastic site with myriad caves and swimming. We love the main beach, Duranbah, it is popular with surfers and sunbathers.

The Byron Bay coastline is beautiful and its climate make it perfect for a range of acquatic activities. On top of the rugged rise of Cape Byron is one of Australia's most picturesque and prominent lighthouses. Cape Byron Lighthouse.
We where told that around 500 000 visitors a year travel to see the lighthouse. It has a picture book appeal, with its gleaming white render and squat, it sits at the top of Cape Byron 118 m above sea level, and can be seen from many points along the coast. The lighthouse is said to be the brightest in Australia.

South West Rocks

You will find the pleasant resort town of South West Rocks, located on the Macleay River, it is a popular location for campers bushwalkers and anglers. South West Rocks offers some brilliant fishing, so if you are a keen fisherman this is the place for you. While the town itself is the base for some of the best light tackle gamefishing in New South Wales.
If you end up in South West Rocks the historic Trial Bay Gaol, is worth a visit. This imposing prison, which operated from 1886 until 1903, is open to the public and has lovely beaches and a scenic camping area nearby.

Nambucca Heads

Nambucca Heads was next on our journey. It is one of a string of holiday villages south of Coffs Harbour. Located at the wide mouth of the Nambucca River, it is a popular destination offering fishing, surfing and windsurfing. Oyster's are abundant in this area and oysters can be purchased year round from stalls in Nambucca and nearby towns. We just love Nambucca and my family have been visiting it for years now. You can actually paint a message on the breakwater wall. People have been doing this for many years. When you come back again you will always find your message again.

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is New South Wale's most popular coastal holiday destination. Accommodation options cover all ranges while the list of activities and attractions is extensive.
There are numerous patrolled beaches at Coffs close to town. We love the Park Beach, but Jetty Beach, located near the marinabig bananabig banana and well protected from the ocean swells by breakwater, is perfect for family swimming. You will even find dive operators running snorkeling and scuba tours to the Solitary Islands, while fishing charters make runs to fertile offshore grounds.
Sea kayaking tours are popular and worth your time. If you visit Coffs Harbour you will find sea mammals have a local presence. The Pet Porpoise Pool has displays and daily shows. I have even swam with the Dolphins at the Pool. You will find this at a reasonable price. If you prefer the wilderness you can board a whale tour that operates June through to October or a dolphin tour September through to April, my favourite of course. Or simply watch from many elevated headlands in the area. No trip to Coffs would be complete without a visit to the Big Banana, on the town's northern outskirts, a tribute to one of the region's major industries.

Ballina and Lennox Head

Ballina is a large, busy, friendly and affordable town. It is a major fishing centre,The accommodation choices are good and the range of activities great. Drop by the Big Prawn, an oversized nod to the region's economic mainstay, cruise the river on a paddlesteamer, or visit the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum. Along the coast there is patrolled swimming at Lighthouse and Shelly beaches, with child friendly rock pools.

Lennox Head has great surfing in common with Byron Bay, but there the similarity ends. Although bigger than Byron in terms of population, Lennox Head remains a classic small town holiday destination. Its shacks, caravan park and shops are dotted alongside Seven mile beach, you will find here the views and whale watching prospects are excellent.
For surfers, a run of breaks from along Seven Mile beach, however, some are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle. Off Lennox Head, a renowned right hander provides a challenge for more experienced surfers. Trail rides run along the beach, and swimming patrols operate seasonally. You can even take a camel ride along the main beach.

Grafton

You will find Grafton is dominated by national Parks, and has the largest stretch of undisturbed coastline in the state There are seven well serviced campgrounds that provide a base for canoeing, fishing and walking, swimming patrols operate at the beaches most season's.
Across from the National Park, are the prawning and fishing towns of Yamba and Iluka. A daily ferry service operates across the harbour, which is home to a deepsea fishing fleet. A picturesque lighthouse, mature Norfolk Island pines, superb estuary and coastal fishing, houseboat hire, river cruises, whale watching opportunities, fresh seafood and good cafes
and restaurants make these villages a popular holiday destination.

Attractions you must Vist:

Cape Byron

This prominent headland marks the most easterly point on the Australian mainland. There are superb 360 degree views and the chance to spot migrating humpback whales through June to October. A walking track leads through protected bushland to the cape from the carpark at the Pass.

Julian Rocks

Part of the Cape Byron Marine Reserve, these rocky outcrops, 3 km offshore, host an explosion of marine life a mix of tropical and temperate species including turtles, rays reef fish and sharks these are all fascinating to watch. You can stand and watch the marine
life for hours.

Main and Clarkes Beaches

Main Beach, patrolled for much of the year, is always busy with backpackers, buskers, children, students of yogabyron lighthousebyron lighthouse and tai chi, and bathers and bakers. Clarkes Beach is where surf schools operate, and groups of kayakers depart daily for dolphin tours.

The Pass

The Pass is a prime surfing break. Dolphins can often be seen riding the waves in a show of surfing fraternity.
A viewing platform offers good views of the action and of the surrounding coastline. Dive operators launch their vessels her for trips to Julian Rocks another great site to see.

Wategos Beach

Wategos Beach Wategos is a small half circle of sand nestled against the forested folds of Cape Byron. A network of exclusive streets climbs the hill behind the beach, which is patrolled in summer. Around the headland, and reached on foot, is little Wategos, mainland Australia's most easterly patch of sand and surf.

Lismore

Lismore is situated along side Wilson River and is a major town in the Far North Coast of New South Wales. Lismore is built around Rotary Park which is beautiful rainforest within the area.

There are also a couple of Koala sanctuaries near Lismore which you can visit, along with the Richmond River Historical Society Museum and the Regional Art Gallery. You can also go to the market at the Lismore Shopping Centre on the 1st and 3rd Sundays and at the Heritage Park on the 5th Sunday. A wide range of accommodation is available, and a number of Byron Bay tour operators will pick up in Lismore for day tours to the rainforests.

B&Bs and farmstays are scattered through out the picturesque villages and hamlets close to the city.

There are a great range of accommodation types to see at this site. I recommend a lot of the caravan parks for family's The family is well catered for and the children have something knew and interesting to do each day.