North Coast Adventure
Most national parks in NSW are currently open. However, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak the National Parks and Wildlife Service has closed all campgrounds, and most visitor centres, cafes and high traffic areas. Please check the NPWS website before undertaking any travel.
The NSW North Coast is an adventurer’s dream. Follow hiking trails through UNESCO World Heritage national parks, summit mountains and stroll through prehistoric rainforest. Then sand-board beachside sand dunes, dive with sea turtles, raft down wild rapids, or surf the perfect wave. There’s never a dull moment on the coast.
Hiking and camping
The best way to explore this incredible region is on foot. Hiking and bushwalking trails wind through untouched rainforest and rugged wilderness. Go off the grid with multi-day walks that stop at remote campsites. The top walking trails on the NSW North Coast include:
- Wonga walk in Dorrigo National Park
- Protestors Falls track in Nightcap National Park
- Lyrebird track in Wollumbin National Park
- Iluka Rainforest track in the Iluka Nature Reserve
- Border loop walk in Border Rangers National Park
Surfing and watersports
You’ll get to surf some of the world's best surf beaches along the coast, including National Surfing Reserves in Newcastle, Crescent Head, Lennox Head and Angourie, south of Yamba. Though it’s not just experts who are catered for; you’ll find surf schools all along the coast, especially in Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour.
Swim with wild dolphins with Dolphin Swim Australia in Port Stephens. See turtles, rays and other marine life in Solitary Islands Marine Park with Jetty Dive, or further north with Sundive Byron Bay or Blue Bay Divers. Scuba divers can dive with grey nurse sharks in Fish Rock Cave off South West Rocks – it’s one of the best cave dives on the planet.
Join an indigenous guide on a stand-up paddleboarding tour of the Coffs Creek with Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours. In the Clarence Valley, climb into a canoe or kayak to tackle Australia’s longest whitewater trail. Zip around Lake Macquarie in a jet boat at hair-raising speeds with JetBuzz Watersports.
Take a four-wheel-drive or quad bike out onto Stockton Beach in the Worimi Conservation Lands, near Port Stephens. Here, you’ll take on the towering Stockton sand dunes, which rise to 40 metres. Sand Dune Adventures combines local Aboriginal cultural history with quad-bike riding on the dunes.
For a very different view of the coast, consider skydiving at Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay, near the World Heritage-listed Wollumbin National Park. You’ll get to see the North Coast’s tallest peak on the way down. If you’d prefer a slower journey, try hot-air ballooning in time to catch the sunrise over the sea.