The region of Lismore and the Richmond Valley on the far North Coast of NSW offers something for every kind of traveller – from nature lovers to culture vultures and foodies. The area has everything from rainforest walking tracks to empty beaches, though its artistic offerings are just as celebrated.
Towns and villages
Lismore is at the heart of the region; here you’ll find a vibrant arts and music scene, populated by a colourful collection of locals. The alternative village of Nimbin is known for its hippie lifestyle, vivid murals and unique festivals. Tucked away in the lush hinterland, Kyogle is the gateway to magnificent national parks and rainforest.
The Richmond Valley sits to the south, covering beaches, rivers and national parks. Casino, an art deco town on the banks of the Richmond River, is known as the beef capital of NSW. On the coast, Evans Head has ocean beaches, a calm estuary, national parks and delicious fresh seafood. You can also visit the small towns of Woodburn, Coraki and Rappville.
With a dozen national parks dotted throughout the region, this is the place to escape into nature. It’s home to a section of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, some of the oldest rainforest on earth dating back millions of years. Listen for lyrebirds in Wollumbin National Park or explore Mebbin National Park on horseback.
In the Nightcap National Park, Protesters Falls is named after anti-logging rallies in 1979 that saved the forest from development. People power is big around here; it’s part of what makes this area special. On the coast, Bandjalung National Park is a dreamy mix of beaches, rivers and freshwater lagoons.
Festivals and events
In pretty riverside towns you can find some of NSW’s most eclectic and exciting festivals, markets and galleries. Check out the events calendar when planning your holiday for festivals such as the Lismore Lantern Parade Festival, the Nimbin Poetry World Cup and the Evans Head Fishing Classic as well as agricultural shows, markets and horse races.
Getting there and where to stay
Getting to Lismore and the Richmond Valley is easy. It’s an eight-hour drive north from Sydney and around three hours south from Brisbane. Trains run from Sydney and Brisbane to Casino with coach transfers to other towns in the region. You can also fly into Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport, 40min away.
The Lismore region has accommodation to suit various budgets, from no-frills motels to graciously restored heritage B&Bs and stylish bush retreats nestled deep in forest. Families will love the beachside holiday parks and there are plenty of secluded campgrounds set amongst the rainforest.