Lucky for some! 13 irresistible North Coast NSW experiences
Glittering beaches. Famous national parks. Iconic attractions. Unique experiences. And that’s just the beginning.
There is so much to see and do in North Coast NSW that you could write a novel about it.
Instead, we’ve decided to focus on 13 essential – and variable – regional experiences to whet your appetite.
From the cheap to the challenging, do yourself a favour and get stuck into these North Coast NSW treasures.
Take the summit walk (2.2km return) and you’ll quickly discover why this Tomaree National Park vantage point is an Instagram favourite. A climb to the top reveals a gallery of picturesque, panoramic views that magnificently frame Port Stephens and its sensational coastline.
Australia’s collection of big things has two major stars in northern NSW: Coffs Harbour’s Big Banana and the Big Prawn in Ballina. And the Big Banana is more than a pretty face: This attraction is home to a fun park boasting an assortment of rides, attractions, and other entertainment.
Enjoy frame after frame of majestic scenery without having to do anything more than occasionally twist your neck. There are various and variable Tweed River cruises on offer that allow you to relax in style and often detail interesting snippets of local history. And many incorporate views of iconic Mt Warning (Wollumbin).
Nearby park: BIG4 Tweed Billabong Holiday Park.
Colourful, creative, interactive. Best described as an ever-growing ‘art gallery’ of graffiti-covered rocks, the V-Wall is a local landmark. And you can get in on the action and keep the tradition alive by painting a rock and leaving your own holiday message.
Nearby park: BIG4 Nambucca Beach Holiday Park.
Gem-rich national parks are dotted throughout North Coast NSW, and we’ve circled two for special mention. Dorrigo National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and is highlighted by the expansive Skywalk lookout and the epic Crystal Shower Falls. It’s an hour’s drive from Coffs Harbour.
Meanwhile, near Bulahdelah, Myall Lakes National Park features a massive coastal lake system well-suited to water leisure alongside brilliant beaches, NSW’s tallest tree, and a succession of jaw-dropping vistas best enjoyed from Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse at Seal Rocks.
Also known as Worimi Conservation Lands, this is Australia’s largest sand dune system, and it’s also home to NSW’s longest beach. Quad biking and sand boarding are among thrilling activities to enjoy here, while photographers could spend all day composing pretty pics. Definitely one of the best things to do in Port Stephens.
Gripping yarns from the past abound within these walls, or what’s left of them. While the gaol has been reduced to ruins, guided tours breathe life into its history and cover such themes as its role as an internment camp during World War I. As a bonus, the coastal vistas from here are spectacular.
Nearby park: NRMA South West Rocks Holiday Resort.
Just south of Coffs Harbour is one of the prettiest golf courses imaginable. Bonville Golf Resort is often likened to having a hit in a national park with lush fairways flanked by towering trees, while wildlife and bird species abound. Best of all, it’s easily accessible for the average golfer and a round won’t blow your entire holiday budget.
This wildlife hospital is committed to conserving koalas, so a visit here is rewarding. Guided tours are full of interest, and of course there are plenty of opportunities to spot these cuddly creatures. Entry is free but a donation is always appreciated.
Nearby park: BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Bonny Hills.
Brilliant beaches abound in North Coast NSW, and each warrants mention. We’re paying particular attention to Black Head Beach for its easily accessed ocean baths and are throwing in bonus points for the area’s beautiful backdrop of Norfolk pines.
Nearby park: BIG4 Happy Hallidays.
Among North Coast NSW’s rich appeal is its blend of vibrant cities and quiet villages for getaways both adventure-packed and relaxing. Harrington is certainly in the latter category. Located at the mouth of the Manning River and close to great beaches, this charm-filled village is irresistible for a laidback, battery-recharging break.
Nearby park: BIG4 Colonial Holiday Park.
The NSW coast allows for myriad aquatic fun, and at Forster-Tuncurry it's taken to the extreme. The twin-towns allow easy access to the famed Great Lakes area and are home to inviting strips of sand like One Mile Beach and Main Beach. Whale watching, boating, fishing, diving, swimming, and much more are all enjoyed with ease from these parts.
North Coast holidays aren’t complete without a list-ticking moment, and a visit to Cape Bryon puts you at mainland Australia’s most easterly point. Cape Byron Lighthouse is a landmark of this spot, which affords a series of astounding coastal views and a wonderful perspective of Tallow Beach and its long strip of golden sand.