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. Open Mic Nights at the Bean

    Wednesday 03 April 2019 to Wednesday 24 April 2019 , Grafton

    Come and check out local musicians, Wednesday nights at the Naked Bean. Enjoy wood fired pizza, a chilled out atmosphere and great live music. Bookings welcome but aren't necessary. Wednesday nights from 7pm.…

    03 Apr - 24 Apr
  2. Yamba Ukes Jam Session

    Wednesday 10 April 2019 to Wednesday 24 April 2019 , Yamba

    Yamba Ukes have a fortnightly Jam Session at Latitude 20 Cafe. They play the ukulele, laugh, learn and sign their hearts out. Playing music in a group is wonderful therapy for everyone. All levels of experience are welcome from beginners…

    10 Apr - 24 Apr
  3. Behind the Scenes Glasshouse Tour

    Wednesday 17 April 2019 to Wednesday 24 April 2019 , Port Macquarie

    Behind the Scenes Glasshouse Tour Take a tour of the Glasshouse, explore the stage, dressing rooms and back of house areas and find out more about the magic of theatre. Delivered at a relaxed pace by specially trained guides, tours take…

    17 Apr - 24 Apr
  4. NRF Harvest Food Festival

    Thursday 25 April 2019 to Sunday 05 May 2019 , Byron Bay

    Northern Rivers Food (NRF) is an independent, not-for-profit food industry association in the Northern Rivers region, with members from gate to plate. Their NRF Harvest Food Festival has been developed by food producers in the region who…

    25 Apr - 05 May
  5. The Journey - 8x8 Exhibition

    Thursday 25 April 2019 to Friday 26 April 2019 , Maclean

    Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts Association’s Annual 8 x 8 Small Works Exhibition. With the theme ‘The Journey’, artists and creators have been invited to create works in any medium within the confines of the supplied canvas.…

    25 Apr - 26 Apr
  6. Bonny Hills Artists Easter Exhibition

    Thursday 25 April 2019 to Sunday 28 April 2019 , North Haven

    Twelve Bonny Hills artists have grouped together to run an annual Easter exhibition at Wauchope Bonny Hills Surf Lifesavings Club. All of these artists have met through their art and are members of the Hastings Valley Fine Arts Society…

    25 Apr - 28 Apr
  7. Harvest Festival 2019

    Thursday 25 April 2019 to Sunday 05 May 2019 ,

    2019 Harvest Festival Wednesday 24 April to Sunday 5 May. The Northern Rivers Food Harvest Festival is all about connecting people with real food on real farms. The Festival provides locals and visitors with opportunities to visit local…

    25 Apr - 05 May