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. Mothernest Great Lakes Pro

    Thursday 07 February 2019 to Sunday 24 February 2019 , Pacific Palms

    Over 170 professional surfers will call Great Lakes home early next year when the Mothernest Great Lakes Pro lands in Boomerang Beach. The elite five-day QS 1000 rated event will form the second of three stops on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf…

    07 Feb - 24 Feb
  2. Australian Ladies Classic - Bonville

    Thursday 21 February 2019 to Sunday 24 February 2019 , Sawtell

    Come and watch some of the best players in the world, at one of the most beautiful courses in the world! The field will include some of the best professionals and amateurs from Australia, Europe, Asia and the USA. Come and walk alongside…

    21 Feb - 24 Feb
  3. Sgt. Matthew Locke MG Charity Event

    Friday 22 February 2019 to Sunday 24 February 2019 , Bellingen

    Celebrating Sgt Matthew Locke MG and those veterans past and present sees the Army Thunder Rugby League team play Bellingen Magpies in an annual match up. This event has built up over the past nine years and encompasses a 18 hole, three…

    22 Feb - 24 Feb
  4. Wheelchair Tournament

    Saturday 23 February 2019 to Sunday 24 February 2019 , Grafton

    Have you ever watched a live game of tennis? How about a competition with players in a wheelchair? The mobility and agility they display, whilst competing with a fervour is unparalleled. The strength they exhibit and the pride they hold…

    23 Feb - 24 Feb
  5. Boat Bits Bonanza

    Sunday 24 February 2019 , Lake Macquarie Area

    February 24 10am to 3pm at Rathmines Park. As part of Lakefest on Lake Macquarie (February 16 to March 2) come along and buy or sell marine themed items at the Boat Bits Bonanza. Take part in the Car Boot Sale style event, just a AUD10…

    24 Feb
  6. MidCoast Brickfest: Lego Fan Event

    Sunday 24 February 2019 , Forster

    Once again Rainbow Bricks is excited to be returning to the MidCoast with Brickfest. There will be lots new exhibits as their Lego creators have been busy building since last year's event. Talk to the creators about their displays and…

    24 Feb