Nambucca Heads

Nambucca Heads is a relaxed seaside town at the mouth of the meandering Nambucca River. Natural beauty abounds, from the uncrowded beaches to the sparkling estuary where dolphins play, and you can also explore the exceptional rainforest in the coastal national park.

Nambucca River, Nambucca Heads

Beaches and rivers

The name Nambucca is derived from the Aboriginal word meaning ‘entrance to waters’. Explore the tranquil waterway with Nambucca River Cruises where bottlenose dolphins frolic in the estuary. Golfers will be thrilled, too. The Island Golf Club is an 18-hole course on Stuart Island in the middle of the river.

For sweeping views of Nambucca beaches and beyond, the Captain Cook Lookout above pretty Shelly Beach is a great vantage point for whale watching when majestic humpback whales migrate along the coast between May and November.

In a beachside reserve at Shelly Beach are picnic tables and barbecue facilities. Beach fishing is popular, and there is a boat ramp at the southern end. Other popular beaches north of Shelly include Beilbys Beach and Main Beach, home of the Nambucca Heads Surf Life Saving Club.

South of the river mouth is Gaagal Wanggaan (South Beach) National Park, jointly managed with the Gumbaynggir Aboriginal people, the traditional owners. South Beach is a favourite for experienced surfers and beach fishers. There are rainforest walking trails, and Warrell Creek is ideal for kayaking.

Family enjoying a day at the entrance to the Nambucca River in Nambucca Heads.

Cafes and galleries

You’ll discover a delicious range of restaurants and cafes, including the riverside V-Wall Outdoor Gallery, part of the vibrant creative arts scene. On Bowra St, you’ll find Galleria, a cafe with a day spa as well as the Nambucca Heads street mosaic, which tells the tale of the Nambucca River. Pop into the nearby Stringer Art Gallery for local creations.

Getting there and where to stay

Nambucca Heads is halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and only 40min drive south of Coffs Harbour. Direct flights operate from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Coffs Harbour Airport or you can catch the train from Sydney. Plenty of waterfront accommodation is available, from caravanning and camping in holiday parks to luxury retreats.


Coffs Harbour Airport

Fly into Coffs Harbour Airport

Coffs Harbour Airport is 4km from Coffs Harbour’s town centre. Use the shuttle bus and taxi services at the front of the terminal, or riding-sharing Uber, to make the short trip into the city. Alternatively, rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and explore the region at your own pace.

QantasLink, Virgin and Rex operate direct flights between Sydney and Coffs Harbour. QantasLink and Link Airways operate direct flights between Brisbane and Coffs Harbour. QantasLink and Virgin operate direct flights between Melbourne and Coffs Harbour.

Things to Do and Places to Stay