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. Claire Johnson: Ode to a woman

    Saturday 16 February 2019 to Friday 22 February 2019 , Port Macquarie

    Claire Johnson is a ceramic artist and painter currently based on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Claire completed a Bachelor of Fine Art majoring in ceramics at UNSW Art and Design in November 2014. Her work is a homage to lovers, the idea…

    16 Feb - 22 Feb
  2. Mr. Stitches

    Friday 22 February 2019 , Port Macquarie

    All right all you local Stitches fiends, let’s get behind this one and make it a doozy! Top venue, top staff and a good vibe makes this a must do. Get amongst the ale and rock out with them as they take you through three sets of good old…

    22 Feb
  3. The Battle of the Boats

    Saturday 23 February 2019 to Sunday 24 February 2019 , Pacific Palms

    The Battle of the Boats is a surf boat carnival designed for surf boat rowers' needs, and over the years has become well respected within the boat rowing community. They have a reputation for staging a well run carnival with a family…

    23 Feb - 24 Feb
  4. Wauchope Farmers Market

    Saturday 23 February 2019 to Saturday 28 December 2019 , Wauchope

    The Wauchope Farmers' Market is held on the fourth Saturday of the month. The Wauchope Farmers' Market provides an opportunity for local farmers and food producers to sell a large variety of produce and hand crafted gourmet food…

    23 Feb - 28 Dec
  5. Lakefest

    Saturday 23 February 2019 to Sunday 03 March 2019 , Toronto

    Lakefest is a celebration of Lake Macquarie's aquatic lifestyle and rich maritime history. The Heaven Can Wait regatta involves sailing yachts, dinghies and skiffs racing around Lake Macquarie for up to 24 hours and raises money for…

    23 Feb - 03 Mar