Spend a few days exploring the northwest corner of NSW, home to tropical fruit plantations, boutique distilleries, hatted restaurants and luxury resorts. Catch a mud crab, kayak with dolphins or let the experts take you on a tour of the very best.
Journey: Northern Exposure
Duration: 4-5 days
Dinner at one-hat Paper Daisy
Kayaking with dolphins
Taste Ink Gin at Husk Distillers
Catch a mud crab in the Tweed River
Luxury accommodation at Raes on Wategos
Day 1: Newrybar, Bangalow & Byron Bay
Starting your trail from Ballina airport, the natural beauty of Newrybar and Bangalow is just as impressive as the culinary offering.
Begin your journey at Macadamia Castle in Knockrow, about 15min north of Ballina. Take a stroll around the animal park, enjoy a macadamia-laden meal at the cafe and stock up on snacks at the nut bar and retail store, before moving on towards the picturesque town of Newrybar in the rolling hinterlands.
This one-street town is particularly popular with foodies thanks to Harvest, the renowned restaurant, bakery and deli. The restaurant showcases the diversity of the region, sourcing ingredients from local suppliers. After an unforgettable lunch, it’s off to Bangalow, another pretty town just waiting to be explored. Stop by Cape Byron Distillery, birthplace of the lauded Brookie’s Gin, for a Rainforest Tour and Tasting,
Head up at your own pace or join the magical Toast the Sun experience, a three-course ‘floating’ breakfast with the sunrise as your backdrop. Another dreamy way to start your day is going kayaking with the dolphins with Cape Byron Kayaks or Go Sea Kayak. Spend the day on a Byron Bay and Hinterland food tour, hosted by Table Under a Tree, where you’ll connect with small, artisan producers. A delectable lunch is included.
Or head to the Tweed, visit the Tweed Regional Gallery, enjoy lunch amid World-heritage rainforest at Mavis’s Kitchen and spend the afternoon in picture-perfect Uki. Make your way up to Pottsville for dinner; Pipit Restaurant is a celebration of fresh, local fare, while the luxury chalets at ecOasis will put you back among the lush Tweed hinterland, the perfect spot for a good night’s sleep.
World-heritage listed Wollumbin National Park is a place of both cultural significance and natural wonders.
Get your dairy fix at Tweed Valley Whey Farmhouse Cheeses where you’ll find handmade camembert, brie, feta, haloumi and more. Save some room for lunch at Farm & Co., the Cudgen cafe delivering delicious and wholesome food in a verdant setting. Watersports Guru will keep you busy in the afternoon with a range of activities to choose from, including whale watching, paddle boarding and even snorkeling with turtles.
Then, check in at Halcyon House, one of Australia’s most stylish boutique hotels, set beachside on the stunning Cabarita Beach. No need to head out for dinner. On-site restaurant Paper Daisy has one hat from the Good Food Guide and is one of the stars of the regional NSW dining scene.
Back in the hands of the experts at Mount Warning Tours this morning; it’s time for the full-day Tweed Valley Food and Farm Tour.
Alternatively, take a look at what Tasting Plate Tours has to offer. Get into the spirit with The Distiller tour, which includes a visit to Husk Distillers renowned for its purple Ink Gin, or be Tempted in the Tweed – a delicious tour of some of the region’s iconic restaurants.
Dinner at Fins in Kingscliff is hard to beat, thanks to an exceptional fresh seafood menu and sustainably sourced ingredients. Wind down at Peppers Salt Resort & Spa, a coastal haven that you won’t want to leave.
On Wednesdays, Tweed Eco Cruises runs its Pot to Plate Adventure, a part-history, part-cultural, part-food tour led by Bundjalung Nation descendant Luther Cora.
Head into the heart of mud crab territory, then onto the local oyster leases, and enjoy a decadent seafood lunch (regardless of whether you manage to catch anything yourself). Tasty morsels of a different kind await atTropical Fruit World. The 80-hectare property features vibrant fruit markets and a cafe, or jump aboard the award-winning farm tour and explore the plantation.
Put a spin on this itinerary by instead starting the day at Tropical Fruit World and then finishing up with a hands-on Catch a Crab Tour, which includes pelican feeding, yabbie pumping and trapping for live crabs. Add lunch and enjoy the fruits of your fun-filled labour.