Travellers looking to recharge their batteries with a healthy dose of salt water, sandy beaches and fresh seafood need look no further than Evans Head in the Richmond Valley on the far North Coast of NSW. Surrounded by national parks and the Evans River – and located right on the Pacific Ocean – this is a little slice of paradise.
On the water
Water is a way of life in this sleepy town. The calm waters of the estuary that divides the town are ideal for kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding. Inexperienced surfers will love Evans Head Beach because it’s protected from southeast swells that generate big waves elsewhere. In the right conditions the breakwall creates a good wave.
Airforce Beach is a long stretch popular with 4WD enthusiasts, beach anglers and dog owners. Another popular waterway for paddling is Jerusalem Creek, in the Bundjalung National Park on the southern side of town. There’s a local fishing fleet, so you can buy fresh caught prawns, crabs and fish every day from the Evans Head Fishermen’s Co-op near the marina.
Evans Head is surrounded by national park – Broadwater to the north and Bandjalung to the south. There are walking trails, freshwater lagoons, sprawling wetlands and thousands of birds. Keep an eye out for koalas in the treetops on the Gummigurrah walking track, a 3.3km loop in the Bandjalung National Park.
There are spectacular coastal views from Razorback Lookout and Goanna Headland, which has a deep spiritual connection with the local Aboriginal people. You can spot humpback and other whales during their annual migration, and pods of dolphins frolic in the waves along the sandy beaches.
The area’s fine fishing is celebrated at the Evans Head Fishing Classic, a tournament held every Winter school holidays that attracts fishers of all ages and experiences. Check out the events calendar for more fun, including the youth festival Crankfest and aviation shows.
You’ll find fascinating military heritage here too. The heritage-listed aerodrome was one of the largest Royal Australian Air Force training bases in World War II. A collection of military aircraft is in the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Museum and you can explore the history further at Evans Head Living Museum.
Getting there and where to stay
Evans Head is eight hours’ drive north of Sydney and 2hr 30min south of Brisbane. You can catch a train to Casino and connect via coach, with the whole journey taking around 13 hours. Or fly into Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, 40min away. There are places to stay to suit all budgets, from national park campgrounds to beachside holiday parks, motels and a hotel.