destination NSW

North Coast


North Coast beaches

Whether you love body-surfing or serious wave riding, swimming in safe, shallow waters or long beach walks, the beaches of the North Coast are just about perfect. This is the most accessible coastline in Australia, with national parks, nature reserves and headland lookouts.

Must Do

About the North Coast

Visit the scenic North Coast of NSW where you'll discover a hinterland of lush river valleys and a coastline of sparkling beaches that are accessible from the Legendary Pacific Coast touring route.

North Coast holiday choices are many and varied: tackle the vast sand dunes of Stockton Beach north of Newcastle by 4WD, or scuba dive at the Solitary Islands Marine Park off the coast of Coffs Harbour.

Discover unique nature experiences in the North Coast's many national parks and reserves. Hike through the ancient forests in the World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park. The Yuraygir Coastal Walk is a multi-day walk that stretches from Angourie to Red Rocks within Yuraygir National Park. For coastal views at a more leisurely pace, Tomaree National Park at Fingal Bay offers a number of walks of varied length, including the short Wreck Beach Walk.

Whale watching is also popular at many locations along the North Coast. Humpback whales and southern right whales migrate along the NSW coastline throughout June and in the first week of July, and return southwards from around September to November. Observe the migration from several headlands and lookouts, or join whale-watching tours that set off from Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and Port Stephens.

Shelly Beach, Ballina

Ballina Area

The towns of Ballina and Lennox Head are home to spectacular beaches, including Lennox Head Beach and Lighthouse Beach, with water conditions suitable for both families and surfers. Lennox Head is an excellent location for sighting humpback whales as they pass close to shore during the migration season, with Pat Morton Lookout offering extensive views of the Pacific Ocean. 

Cape Byron headland and lighthouse.

Byron Bay Area

Located along a coastline of sparkling beaches, Byron Bay is a great location to enjoy a wide range of water activities, including surfing, kayaking, sailing and swimming. Main Beach is ideal for families, while The Pass is popular amongst surfers. Hike through rainforest and across clifftops with stunning ocean and hinterland views on the Cape Byron Walking Track.

Woody Head Beach

Clarence Coast

Located on the banks of the Clarence River, the town of Grafton is renowned for its beautiful jacaranda trees that line the town's roads and fill its parks with colour. The World Heritage-listed Iluka Nature Reserve is filled with wildlife and gives visitors the chance to explore ancient rainforests. Superb fishing locations can be found in the towns of YambaIlukaWooli and Maclean.

The iconic Big Banana in Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Area

Relax in Coffs Harbour's friendly atmosphere and experience great dining in the town's restaurants, including those on the famed Jetty Strip. Nature lovers can visit an ancient rainforest walking along the scenic Dorrigo Skywalk within Dorrigo National Park. Bellingen is the region's creative hub that hosts several cultural festivals and events throughout the year. 

Bennetts Beach, Hawks Nest

Forster & Taree Area

Lined with golden beaches, Forster and Taree are prime locations to indulge in fresh seafood, boutique wines and high quality cafés. Home to One Mile Beach and beautiful nature reserves, the region offers great opportunities for water sports, bushwalking and horseriding. Visit the town of Bulahdelah to see Grandis, the tallest tree in NSW.

Kempsey Area

Kempsey Area

Kempsey is surrounded by many national parks including Carrai National ParkGoolawah National Park and Hat Head National Park. Enjoy scenic bushwalks along the Big Hill Rainforest Walking Track and Connors Walking Track which weave through lush forest and lead to views of the pristine coastline.

Sailing at Belmont Bay, Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie Area

Lake Macquarie is Austraila's largest coastal saltwater lake. Explore the villages around the lake, including the vibrant cultural precincts of Warners Bay and Swansea. Get active with a wide range of bushwalking, 4WDing, horseriding, cycling, diving and surfing opportunities in the region's lakes, beaches and mountains.

Nightcap National Park

Lismore Area

Lismore showcases its fresh local produce and original homecrafts at regular markets across the region. Local growers and artisans stock the stalls at the Lismore Produce Markets, The Channon Craft Market, the Nimbin Markets and more. Visit the area's lush national parks and nature reserves including Nightcap National Park and Evans Head Beach.

Merewether Beach

Newcastle Area

Discover Newcastle's thriving arts scene in the city's galleries and museums. A strong food and wine culture is also visible in the city's many trendy restaurants and cafés. Adventure across Stockton's sweeping sand dunes by 4WD. Take some time out to enjoy a spectacular 5 km coastal walk along the Bathers Way taking in the area's beautiful beaches.

Camden Haven River

Port Macquarie Area

Explore Port Macquarie and the surrounding charming seaside villages offering great year-round family activities. Relax at regional day spas, or unwind on a river cruise across pristine lakes and estuaries. Taste local produce at a range of food and wine events including Tastings on Hastings, Oysters in the Vines and the Slice of Haven Food and Wine Festival.

Tomaree National Park

Port Stephens Area

See colourful marine life up close such as migrating whales and local bottlenose dolphins while exploring golden beaches and coastal walks. The pristine waters of Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay are a haven for swimming, surfing, snorkelling and kayaking. Enjoy fresh seafood and local wines at waterside cafés and restaurants.

Tweed Valley

The Tweed Area

Immerse yourself in the Tweed's pristine stretch of coastline by surfing, swimming, or simply relaxing on the region's many beaches. Explore the area's World Heritage-listed national parks, including Wollumbin National Park, and discover stunning nature hikes and coastal walks. Visit the scenic towns of Kingscliff, Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah.

Local areas

  • Byron Bay Area Lush hinterland, sparkling beaches, popular beach culture, great shopping and lively events calendar.
  • Clarence Coast Grafton is on the banks of Clarence River with endless outdoor adventures and great surfing beaches.
  • Coffs Harbour Area Adventure sports, world-class golf courses, art galleries, cafes and plenty of exciting events.
  • Forster & Taree Area With superb beaches, the Manning River and Great Lakes, this region is dominated by water sports.
  • Kempsey Area This historic river town is close to national parks and majestic beaches such as Crescent Head.
  • Lake Macquarie Area Linking the lake, beaches and mountains are more than 90 villages, with great surfing and heritage towns
  • Lismore Area Famous for its World Heritage-listed rainforests and national parks, alternative lifestyle and festivals
  • Newcastle Area A vibrant cosmopolitan city perched between a working harbour and beautiful beaches.
  • Port Macquarie Area The Hastings River flows into the Port Macquarie sea, national parks'region,surf beaches,coastline.
  • Port Stephens Area Golden beaches, a beautiful bay and plenty to do; surfing,kayaking, bushwalking, and dolphin-watch cruises.
  • The Tweed Area Enjoy a beautiful coastline and sub tropical climate, stunning resorts and great dining in style.

Explore North Coast