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. Fair Go Skate Fest

    Saturday 15 December 2018 , Ballina

    Fair Go Skatefest is back again! And this year we will be running everything ourselves! The Ballina Prawn Festival is not on this year but that’s not stopping them from their goal of running the best possible event they can! So they are…

    15 Dec
  2. Fiona Lowry Exhibition

    Sunday 16 December 2018 to Sunday 10 February 2019 , Port Macquarie

    The bush lies deep in the Australian psyche – and in the heart of many of its painters. In Fiona Lowry’s dreamy renderings, the scrub pulses and hums with surface tension. To ‘airbrush’ is to idealise, but as Lowry’s instrument of choice…

    16 Dec - 10 Feb
  3. Ashby Monthly Markets

    Sunday 16 December 2018 to Sunday 19 January 2020 , Yamba

    On the third Sunday of each month, relax and enjoy a peaceful drive off the highway into the small village of Ashby, and head along to the local markets held in the grounds of the local Community Centre. Ashby locals welcome you to enjoy…

    16 Dec - 19 Jan
  4. Harbourside Market

    Sunday 16 December 2018 to Sunday 07 February 2027 , Coffs Harbour

    An authentic outdoor market held every Sunday set alongside the Jetty Foreshore and historic jetty in Coffs Harbour. There is a huge range of unique art and craft, fresh local produce, tasty gourmet food and delicious beverages. Their…

    16 Dec - 07 Feb