North Coast

Discover the natural beauty, incredible wildlife and rich heritage of the North Coast of NSW, Australia. Relax on uncrowded beaches, go kayaking with dolphins and whales, explore the striking volcanic hinterland, walk in UNESCO World Heritage rainforest, and savour freshly caught seafood.

Newcastle is NSW’s second-largest city. Enjoy a vibrant cultural scene and Merewether Beach, one of several iconic National Surfing Reserves on the North Coast. The heritage is intriguing, too. Fort Scratchley is Australia’s only coastal fortification to fire upon a World War II enemy naval vessel.

Kitesurfing at Nobbys Beach, Newcastle, with Nobbys Lighthouse in the distance

You’ll find wonderful things to do and see all along the coast, such as the sea caves at Caves Beach or Port Stephens’ dolphins. In Greater Port Macquarie is the Koala Hospital and Timbertown, a heritage theme park. There are national parks to explore and pretty beachside reserves for family picnics.

Whale watching is popular between May and November. Vantage points are dotted along the beautifully rugged coastline, or get up close on a boat cruise. The commonest encounters are humpbacks, the stars of the annual migration because they leap out of the water and roll in the air.

The Coffs Coast is another adventure paradise and home of the Big Banana, one of Australia’s iconic ‘big things’. Go snorkelling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park with Jetty Dive Centre. Nearby is the World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park, where the Skywalk takes you above rainforest canopy.

Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve, Coffs Harbour

There are many more outdoor adventures, from bushwalking to kayaking on wild rivers in the Clarence Valley, diving with grey nurse sharks off South West Rocks, surfing world-famous point breaks and skydiving. In Byron Bay enjoy the thrill of kayaking near whales, dolphins and turtles.

Accommodation options suit various budgets, from camping and caravanning in beachside holiday parks and national parks to beach houses, hotels, luxury resorts and hinterland retreats. When planning your holiday, check out the eclectic events calendar for festivals, markets and shows.

Getting to the North Coast is easy by road, rail or air. The Legendary Pacific Drive is a magnificent touring route between Sydney and Tweed Heads, winding past national parks and state forests as well as towns, villages and stunning beaches. Below you’ll find an interactive map for the drive.

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO STAY

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Events

  1. The Donkey Browns

    Friday 19 October 2018 , Newcastle

    The Donkey Browns are the real deal. Their combined heritage in the Newcastle original music scene is unparalleled. The four members have come together to create an Indy Rock powerhouse that is chock full of hooks, passion and song writing …

    19 Oct
  2. Slim Dusty Festival

    Saturday 20 October 2018 to Sunday 21 October 2018 , Kempsey

    Fun and Friendly Country Music Festival for all ages in October with camping on site - choose powered and unpowered sites. Their great bus tour this year will be to Slim Dusty's childhood homestead and The Pub with No Beer with morning tea …

    20 Oct - 21 Oct
  3. Wingham Akoostik Music Festival

    Saturday 20 October 2018 to Sunday 21 October 2018 , Wingham

    The Wingham Akoostik Festival is three brilliant days of music showcasing local artists as well as some of Australia's best loved musicians. If you are looking for a relaxed spacious festival experience add this one to your calendar. Frida…

    20 Oct - 21 Oct
  4. Blue Knob Farmers Market

    Saturday 20 October 2018 to Saturday 16 February 2019 , Lismore

    Blue Knob Farmers Market is a weekly market focusing on sustainability, particularly encouraging the growing and buying of local goods. This friendly market features a fabulous range of fruit, veggies, seedlings, wood-fired breads and delic…

    20 Oct - 16 Feb