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 view of Nobbys Lighthouse at Nobbys Head, 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. Craft Spot

    Sunday 21 April 2019 to Saturday 02 November 2019 , Port Macquarie

    Are you inspired by craft and design? Is quirky craft your thing? Have you ever wondered how artists create their work? This workshop is for you! Craft Spots are hands on creative workshops inspired by the current Gallery exhibitions…

    21 Apr - 02 Nov
  2. Grafton Agricultural Show

    Event dates to be confirmed: April 2019 , Grafton

    The Grafton Agricultural Show will be held over a two day period. Features of the show include sideshows, extremely exhilarating rides, food stalls, exhibitions, farm displays, equestrian events, trotting, and the Grafton Show Girl…

  3. Laurieton Riverwalk Market

    Sunday 21 April 2019 to Sunday 15 December 2019 , Laurieton

    Enjoy a bite to eat by the riverside, or get your kitchen in order with a range of fresh produce and gourmet foods to take home. With an extensive range of toys, clothes, fashion, plants, candles, perfumes, fishing gear, furniture and so…

    21 Apr - 15 Dec
  4. Lismore Organic Market

    Tuesday 23 April 2019 to Tuesday 28 January 2020 , Lismore

    The Lismore Organic Market is a weekly market committed to providing local organic produce, reducing the carbon footprint. Stallholders have travelled an average of 20 kilometres rather than at least 1000 kilometres you would expect from…

    23 Apr - 28 Jan