Old Bar

Old Bar is a sleepy coastal town with a laidback surfer vibe. With a long sandy beach, surrounded by national park and peppered with coastal trails, it is the perfect destination for a classic beach holiday. 




The name Old Bar comes from the shifting sands where the river meets the sea, characterised by beautiful white sand. Old Bar Beach is a popular reef break for surfers, and a fantastic place for kiteboarding. Nearby, the village of  Wallabi Point is also known for its surfing beach. 

Only 10min drive from Old Bar is Saltwater National Park. Surrounded by rainforest, Saltwater Beach is a great surfing or swimming spot. If you want to learn to surf, Saltwater Surf School offers a range of private and group lessons as well as gear hire. 

Headland walking track in Saltwater National Park, Old Bar

Headland walking track, Saltwater National Park - Credit: John Spencer/DCCEEW

National Parks 

The Headland Walking Track in Saltwater National Park leads through rainforest to the headland, where there is a viewing platform to spot migrating humpback whales from May to November.  

Unpack a lunch by the water at Saltwater Picnic Area, a place of major significance to the local Biripi people. The nature reserve has a picnic area with barbecues and tables, while the lagoon provides safe swimming for families. 

From Old Bar, it’s also 30min drive north to Crowdy Bay National Park, where you’ll find more gorgeous beaches to enjoy. 

Saltwater picnic area at Saltwater National Park, Old Bar

Saltwater picnic area, Saltwater National Park - Credit: John Spencer/DCCEEW

Festival time 

The Old Bar Beach Festival  is an annual celebration held every October long weekend. The festival celebrates the iconic VW kombi van, along with live music, market and food stalls, kid's activities, and live music. The Kombi Parade and Classic Car Display are some of the festival highlights.  

Pink surfer Kombi at the Old Bar Beach Festival, Old Bar

Old Bar Beach Festival, Old Bar - Credit: Thomas Davey/Destination Barrington Coast

Food & drink  

Flow Bar at Boogie Woogie Beach House is an iconic spot in Old Bar, serving breakfast lunch and dinner, with live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Sai Thai Table and Tea combines traditional Thai flavours and local produce, with dishes including Massaman Beef and Tom Yum Goong. Blowfish serves Mexican street food with a modern Australian twist, by the beach and Old Bar Village Café has all your brunch and lunch classics along with fresh salads, sandwiches, and burgers.  

Where to stay 

Stay in one of the music themed rooms at Boogie Woogie Beach House or beachside luxury suites and apartments at FinnsClub Old Bar Motel is perfectly positioned in the heart of Old Bar, with full access to the club facilities for guests and Lanis on the Beach is a lovely holiday park with direct beach access, offering cabins, camping and motorhome sites. You’ll also find campgrounds at nearby holiday havens including Hallidays Point, Diamond Head, Black Head and Wallabi Point. 

Executive Room with king bed and balcony at Club Old Bar Motel, Old Bar

Club Old Bar Motel, Old Bar - Credit: James Cause/Old Bar Beach Bowling Club Ltd

Getting there  

Just under four hours’ drive north of Sydney and two hours from Newcastle Airport which services all the major Australian cities, Old Bar is the perfect beach getaway. Coach services run from Sydney and Newcastle, or you can catch the train from Sydney via Newcastle. You can make this a memorable stop on a North Coast road trip

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