Cradled between the fertile river valleys of the NSW North Coast, the Northern Rivers is a lush region of World Heritage rainforest, delicious local produce and spectacular waterways. Explore its delights by skippering a houseboat on the Tweed, kayaking the Clarence, watching the sunrise from Fingal Beach or taking a scenic hinterland drive.
Byron Bay, Ballina and Tweed
With rich hinterland and spectacular coast, the Byron Bay region is famous for beaches and natural beauty, such as the magnificent Minyon Falls. Taste delicious local produce at The Farm, a wonderful paddock to plate experience. Stroll along the stunning coastal walk from Ballina to Lennox Head, where the rainforest meets the sea, and admire the surfers riding the world famous left hand break at The Point.
In the Tweed Valley, cruise or kayak among the beautiful estuaries, gorgeous beaches and World Heritage wilderness. Kids will love Tropical Fruit World. Stop at coastal Kingscliff or relax on Cabarita Beach, renowned for its surf events and beachside hotel. Visit Mount Warning in idyllic Wollumbin National Park, where the remnants of an ancient volcano rise dramatically from the forest.
Lismore and the Richmond Valley
On the banks of Wilsons River, Lismore is home to a thriving arts community. Visit the Lismore Regional Gallery or find laneway street art through The Back Alley Gallery. There’s also an emerging culinary scene – taste it at Bircher Bar, The Dirty Wilson or Ghetto Babe Street Eats. For cocktails and live music, visit the Dusty Attic.
Stop in at beautiful Casino and treat your tastebuds to mouth-watering Casino beef. Kyogle, a rainforest gateway, is on the banks of the beautiful Richmond River. Try surfing, kayaking and fishing on the uncrowded beaches and waterways of Evans Head. Discover breathtaking rainforest wilderness in World Heritage-listed Border Ranges National Park.
Visit the beautiful green valley that is home to Nimbin, where you can see the works of local artists, from paintings and fashion to ceramics and jewellery, at the Nimbin Artists Gallery. Visit the Candle Factory or taste fresh seasonal produce at the weekly Nimbin Farmers Market.
Soak up the laid back culture of Yamba, known for its top surf breaks, beautiful beaches and plentiful prawns. See the historic town of Grafton come alive with colour during the jacaranda season in October. Then go in search of outdoor adventures in the hinterland where you can try kayaking, fishing and camping along the Clarence River.
Getting there and where to stay
The Northern Rivers is easy to get to by road, rail or air. You can fly into airports in Grafton, Lismore and Byron Bay, and the North Coast train line runs from Sydney and Brisbane to Grafton, Casino and Kyogle. Or explore on a road trip – the Legendary Pacific Drive and Rainforest Way will take you through the heart of the region’s wonders.
Accommodation options in the region range from seaside resorts and rural retreats to waterside holiday parks and camping in national parks. You can also enjoy the region by hiring a houseboat and exploring the beautiful Tweed or Clarence Rivers.