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.

Coastal aerial of Fort Scratchley Historic Site and Nobbys Beach in Newcastle

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.

A humpback whale breaching near Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie

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. Ballina Brick Event

    Saturday 19 January 2019 to Sunday 20 January 2019 , Ballina

    The biggest and best Lego Fan Expo is coming to Ballina for the very first time in January 2019 for the inaugural Ballina Brick Event. The Ballina Brick Event is set to showcase amazing dioramas, custom Lego creations from many talented…

    19 Jan - 20 Jan
  2. Newcastle Travel Expo

    Event dates to be confirmed: January 2019 , Newcastle

    Newcastle's largest holiday and cruise expo is The Day to book your next holiday! At the Newcastle Travel Expo you’ll receive exclusive savings on flights, tours, cruises and packages plus you can speak to the experts from the world’s…

  3. Vacation Care

    Monday 21 January 2019 to Friday 25 January 2019 , Newcastle

    YWCA Hunter Region will be conducting school holiday vacation care for children aged five to twelve years. The program for the January school holidays includes excursions to the movies, beach and reptile park, as well as lots of fun,…

    21 Jan - 25 Jan
  4. Music Theatre Holiday Workshops

    Monday 21 January 2019 to Thursday 24 January 2019 , Port Macquarie

    Coastal Dance Performing Arts Studio and Theatre Oz Port Macquarie presents 2019 Music Theatre Holiday Workshops. Spend your holidays with them learning fun and exciting routines and songs leading up to a showstopping performance at the…

    21 Jan - 24 Jan