North Coast

Discover the natural beauty, incredible wildlife and rich heritage of the North Coast of NSW, Australia. Relax on uncrowded beaches, go kayaking with dolphins and whales, explore the striking volcanic hinterland, walk in UNESCO World Heritage rainforest, and savour freshly caught seafood.

Newcastle is NSW’s second-largest city. Enjoy a vibrant cultural scene and Merewether Beach, one of several iconic National Surfing Reserves on the North Coast. The heritage is intriguing, too. Fort Scratchley is Australia’s only coastal fortification to fire upon a World War II enemy naval vessel.

Coastal aerial of Fort Scratchley Historic Site and Nobbys Beach in Newcastle

You’ll find wonderful things to do and see all along the coast, such as the sea caves at Caves Beach or Port Stephens’ dolphins. In Greater Port Macquarie is the Koala Hospital and Timbertown, a heritage theme park. There are national parks to explore and pretty beachside reserves for family picnics.

Whale watching is popular between May and November. Vantage points are dotted along the beautifully rugged coastline, or get up close on a boat cruise. The commonest encounters are humpbacks, the stars of the annual migration because they leap out of the water and roll in the air.

The Coffs Coast is another adventure paradise and home of the Big Banana, one of Australia’s iconic ‘big things’. Go snorkelling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park with Jetty Dive Centre. Nearby is the World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park, where the Skywalk takes you above rainforest canopy.

A humpback whale breaching near Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie

There are many more outdoor adventures, from bushwalking to kayaking on wild rivers in the Clarence Valley, diving with grey nurse sharks off South West Rocks, surfing world-famous point breaks and skydiving. In Byron Bay enjoy the thrill of kayaking near whales, dolphins and turtles.

Accommodation options suit various budgets, from camping and caravanning in beachside holiday parks and national parks to beach houses, hotels, luxury resorts and hinterland retreats. When planning your holiday, check out the eclectic events calendar for festivals, markets and shows.

Getting to the North Coast is easy by road, rail or air. The Legendary Pacific Drive is a magnificent touring route between Sydney and Tweed Heads, winding past national parks and state forests as well as towns, villages and stunning beaches. Below you’ll find an interactive map for the drive.

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO STAY

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Events

  1. Hermitage Green

    Friday 16 November 2018 , Newcastle

    Hailing from Limerick, Ireland, Hermitage Green have made a large impact in a short period of time. After having released their first full length album via Sony Ireland and watching it climb the charts with tracks like Quicksand, Not Your…

    16 Nov
  2. The Mullum Music Festival

    Saturday 17 November 2018 to Sunday 18 November 2018 , Mullumbimby

    In a musical landscape dominated by super-festivals, there's an alternative breed of smaller, more boutique style events making their own very distinctive mark on the industry. Mullum Music Festival is one such event and its popularity…

    17 Nov - 18 Nov
  3. Twilight Food Market - Port Macquarie

    Saturday 17 November 2018 to Saturday 20 April 2019 , Port Macquarie

    The Twilight Food Market is open every Saturday (weather permitting) during NSW daylight saving months from October to April. A family friendly food only market, diverse in multicultural cuisine and lots of choices for the kids. Dog…

    17 Nov - 20 Apr
  4. Artist In Residence Izabela Pluta

    Saturday 17 November 2018 to Sunday 18 November 2018 , Port Macquarie

    Izabela Pluta - Artist In Residence 12 - 18 November, 2018 Izabela Pluta is a Polish-born, Sydney-based artist working with photography as a way of interpreting and re-conceptualising the function that images have in the present…

    17 Nov - 18 Nov
  5. Behind the Lines: The year’s best political cartoons

    Saturday 17 November 2018 to Sunday 02 December 2018 , Coffs Harbour

    Roll up, roll up to Behind the Lines 2017 and marvel at the political cartooning spectacle: The Three-Ring Circus. Behind the Lines 2017 is a travelling exhibition, coming to the Bunker Cartoon Gallery from 26 October to 2 December, and…

    17 Nov - 02 Dec
  6. From Broadway to Ballroom

    Saturday 17 November 2018 , Port Macquarie

    From Broadway to Ballroom is a stunningly beautiful show – a spectacular fusion of ballroom dancing, song, and glamorous gowns. The show stars seasoned opera performers Liza Beamish and Lachlan Baker and 2015 World Dance Council Champions…

    17 Nov
  7. Makers and Finders Market Murwillumbah

    Saturday 17 November 2018 to Saturday 15 February 2020 , Murwillumbah

    Located in the family friendly Knox Park, take the time to relax time in the park, throw a blanket on the grass and and enjoy the live music while the children play at the newly renovated park and skate facilities and enjoy the creative…

    17 Nov - 15 Feb