Idyllic beaches, cool cafes and a magnificent national park make Sawtell a perfect beachside escape on the beautiful Coffs Coast. Enjoy kayaking, fishing, surfing and bushwalking and visit Bongil Bongil National Park to meet resident koalas. Whale watching is also popular from the headlands.
Eat and drink
You’ll find many cafes, restaurants and boutique shops on the main street. Explore the town and grab an al fresco meal in the shade of one of the giant figs. Delicious fresh produce is a feature of one of the hottest events, the Sawtell Chilli Festival, a fun July day for the family with rides for the kids.
Beaches and waterways
Nearby Sawtell Beach curves from Bonville Headland in the south to Boambee Head in the north. At the southern end is the small Sawtell Island, a rocky reef that shelters Sailors Bay. There’s an ocean pool on Bonville Headland’s southern side where the Bonville Creek flows into the sea.
This pretty creek meanders through the Bongil Bongil National Park, a great destination for fishing, kayaking and bushwalking. Relax at the tranquil Bongil picnic area. C-Change Adventures offers kayaking tours here, and mountain bike trails weave through the towering eucalypts.
Look for dozing koalas on the Bluff loop walking track, an easy 2km route through rainforest. Another great track is the 6km Bundagaree Rainforest walk. The colourful birdlife in Bongil Bongil is remarkable, and there are breeding grounds for migratory birds such as the endangered little tern.
The Bundagaree trail leads to Bongil Beach, where surfers carve up waves. More adventure waits at the lovely Boambee Creek Reserve, where kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are popular. Hire SUPs and kayaks at the reserve. Boambee Beach begins here and sweeps to nearby Coffs Harbour.
Getting there and where to stay
Sawtell is an easy 15min drive south of Coffs Harbour and a five and a half hour drive north from Sydney. Flights operate from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Coffs Harbour Airport, or you can take the train from Sydney. Accommodation options include beach houses, holiday parks, riverside camping and the award-winning Bonville Golf Resort.