7 outdoor adventures in the Tweed
Immerse and reground yourself outdoors in the splendour of the Tweed: a region of profound natural beauty on Bundjalung Country. These surprising, one-of-a-kind experiences will truly make you feel alive.
Mingle with whales, dolphins & turtles
Gazing eye-to-eye with a gentle humpback whale as it slowly migrates from Antarctica between May and October is among the most unforgettable wildlife encounters you can have. With Cooly Eco Adventures, you’ll get the chance to do just this. Jet out to sea from the stunning Tweed Coast with an intimate, environmentally conscious crew who will help you spot – or even snorkel with – whales and dolphins. More giants of the sea await at Cook Island Aquatic Reserve, just 600m off Fingal Head and home to a significant population of green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles. Book in a guided snorkel to meet these gentle locals – Cooly Eco Adventures seeks to encourage a more symbiotic relationship with nature, meaning you’ll leave filled with an even deeper sense of respect for the majesty of our oceans.
Kayak breathtaking rainforest waterways
Soak up the wild magnificence of Bundjalung Country by kayak. Meander up the glorious Rous River and feel rejuvenated as you paddle past hoop pine, mangrove ferns and subtropical rainforest along serene Wobul Creek. Lined with sheltered, mangrove-fringed bays, the 8km-return self-guided Rous River Canoe Trail is among the most significant estuarine habitat areas in the Tweed. If you prefer a local to guide you to the most picturesque nooks and crannies, join the kayak tour on Cudgen Creek with Watersports Guru. You’ll glide past the habitats of kingfishers, osprey and cormorants and spend 90 peaceful minutes exploring this pristine wetland.
Dive into one of the Tweed’s most surprising beaches
Paddle out for a revitalising morning surf as the sun rises over the ocean at Duranbah Beach: a world-class break at the northernmost tip of the state. Though this tiny beach (lovingly known by the locals as “Dee-bah”) stretches less than 200 metres across, the swell here is the most consistent in the Tweed thanks to an off-shore sandbar that works with the break wall to produce dreamy sets of rolling A-frame waves. Even if the ocean isn’t calling your name, the overlooking cliffs are dotted with picnic tables – nestle among the twisted pandanus and savour a morning coffee as you marvel at the surfers and bodyboarders below.
Wander the Tweed River on a cruise
Rich in biodiversity, the mighty Tweed River snakes to the ocean from the volcanic slopes of Wollumbin Mount Warning. Get to know its beauteous waters on an eco-certified river cruise. Trap live seasonal crabs, honouring the provenance of river-to-plate dining with local tour companies Catch a Crab or Tweed Eco Cruises, or putter past riverside villages and rainforested Stott’s Island – perhaps while munching on an epicurean onboard feast with Tweed Escapes.
Fish & feast in a dreamy picnic spot
Coast through the calm of Clarrie Hall Dam in a kayak in the serene wake of your private fishing guide with Tweed Valley Fish and Feast Experience: the creation of Go Fish and Blue Ginger Picnics. Quietly observe colourful king parrots, kingfishers and kookaburras as you fish for bass in these picturesque waters. Once you reach the arresting scenery of Crams Farm Reserve, you’ll pop out for gourmet platters of local and organic produce, lounging on a luxe scattering of cushions and rugs.
Go for a dip in a secret waterhole
Evoke a sense of natural wonder as you cool off at Unicorn Falls. Here, a gentle waterfall trickles into a waterhole deep in pristine Mount Jerusalem National Park, which forms part of the outer rim of a 21-million-year-old extinct volcano. This lush wonderland is home to tall eucalypts, temperate rainforest and unique native critters, including the endangered Albert’s lyrebird – so listen out for its clever mimicking cries! Though this oasis is just a short bushwalk from the carpark, it can be a bit tricky to locate – which is why it’s such a well-kept local secret. Make sure you do your research before embarking on your journey here, as service can be variable in the rainforest.