Located 10km south of Coffs Harbour, Sawtell is a vibrant little town with more than its fair share of cool cafes, galleries and boutique shopping. Flanked by idyllic beaches and wilderness where koalas nestle in the branches, it makes for a perfect seaside escape with a touch of class.
Bordered by two headlands – both perfect vantage points to spot migrating whales - Sawtell Beach is a picturesque patrolled beach, sheltered by an offshore island and rocky reef which creates a popular surf break. Learn to surf with Solitary Islands Surf School; or take a dip in the rockpool at the base of Bonville Headland. At the front of the Surf Club is a new café, The Kiosk, the perfect place to soak up the sun over a morning coffee.
South of the town is the Bongil Bongil National Park, featuring wild beaches and tranquil waterways where you can paddle a kayak with C-Change Adventures. Relax with a picnic at the Bongil Picnic Area, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife such as koalas and swamp wallabies; or take the Bundagaree Rainforest Walk or Bluff Loop Walking Track, which both wind through rainforest behind the sand dunes. The colourful birdlife in Bongil Bongil is remarkable, and there are breeding grounds for migratory birds such as the endangered little tern.
One of the most popular spots for kids to play at is Boambee Creek Reserve, where you can kayak, paddleboard, swim and paddle in the shallow waters. There’s also a great playground in the reserve, and it’s dog-friendly.
Wine & dine
Shaded by iconic Moreton Bay figs, First Street in Sawtell is a sophisticated strip lined with alfresco cafes, restaurants and boutiques. Local favourites include the all-day breakfast at Treeo; the Hilltop Store, helmed by former chefs from Aria in Sydney; Lime for delicious Mexican and cocktails; and Sea Salt Fish and Chips, serving local wild-caught fish.
Sawtell is an easy 15min drive south of Coffs Harbour and a 5.5-hour drive north from Sydney. Qantas has direct flights to Coffs Harbour from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; while Rex flies daily from Sydney to Coffs Harbour Monday to Friday with select scheduled flights over the weekend. Link Airways operates direct flights between Coffs Harbour and Brisbane six days a week [*NB – flight days may vary].