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 view of Nobbys Lighthouse at Nobbys Head, 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. Lake Macquarie City Farmers Market

    Saturday 27 January 2018 to Saturday 23 March 2019 , Lake Macquarie Area

    Experience the passion at the Lake Macquarie City Farmers Market. On the second and fourth Saturday of every month you'll find the Speers Point Park promenade flanked by a vast range of farm fresh produce, gourmet foods and gifts. From…

    27 Jan - 23 Mar
  2. The Swinging Sixties Show

    Saturday 23 March 2019 , Port Stephens Area

    Over 30 years, The Swinging Sixties have built a very strong reputation for their ability to engage their audience like no other group of its kind. This show takes this audience participation to yet another level. This highly entertaining…

    23 Mar
  3. Eat Street Grafton

    Saturday 23 March 2019 , Grafton

    Another tasty event is headed your way Grafton! Join them for a night of outdoor dining, street food and live entertainment in Turf Street. There will be a variety of food trucks and food stalls to tempt your taste buds. Eat Street is…

    23 Mar
  4. Newcastle Annual Doll Fair

    Saturday 23 March 2019 , Newcastle

    The Newcastle and Hunter Valley Doll Lovers' 37th annual fair will have stalls from all around NSW and Australia, selling antique and modern dolls, teddy bears and accessories. Bring old dolls and bears to be valued. Refreshments available…

    23 Mar
  5. Jackie Deane: Drift

    Sunday 24 March 2019 to Monday 22 April 2019 , Port Macquarie

    Drift, is an exhibition from local artist Jackie Deane, with a lifelong connection to water, Drift will take you on a journey through the mountains and rivers to their local salt air seascapes. Jackie has been an artist and art tutor for…

    24 Mar - 22 Apr