From the Queensland/New South Wales border there are many great coastal spots between Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour. Hitch up your caravan, pack your tent or self-drive a campervan and head off to Northern New South Wales must see places. There is plenty to see so take your time crawling down the coast.
Here’s a selection of Pacific Coast gems that we have stayed at on our travels down the Northern New South Wales coastline.
Just across the Queensland/New South Wales border is the coastal area known as the Tweed Coast. There are several beachside villages along this stretch of coastline that tend to get very busy over the summer holidays. Kingscliff, Casuarina Beach, Cabarita Beach, Hastings Point, Pottsville and Wooyung all have one thing in common, and that is gorgeous pristine beaches.
Most of them also have estuarine creeks that provide safe conditions for children and are perfect for families. Kingscliff has Cudgen Creek; Cabarita has the Cudgen Lakes; Hastings Point has Cudgera Creek and Pottsville has Mooball Creek. The creeks are sandy bottomed and are all tidal so are very shallow at low tide. They are all perfect for kayaking and canoeing.
All of the villages have a range of accommodation options from resorts, holiday units, cabins to caravan parks. The standout caravan parks are the Kingscliff Beach Caravan Park (currently being renovated) located right on the beachfront; Pottsville Beach Caravan Park located on Mooball Creek; and Hastings Point Caravan Park overlooking the beach and Cudgera Creek.
Only 50 kms from the New South Wales border is the village of Brunswick Heads that has an idyllic location on the Brunswick River, Simpsons Creek and a long stretch of beach. The village itself has a laid-back hippy vibe with plenty of chic boutiques, cool cafes, a few good restaurants and a retro pub with a fantastic beer garden under the shade of Poinciana trees.
For such a small town, believe it or not it has three great caravan parks, two located on the river and the other fronting onto Simpsons Creek. Ferry Reserve, Massey Greene and Terrace Reserve Caravan Parks are great places to camp and they all offer cabin accommodation as well.
At the breakwall at the mouth of the Brunswick River is the best spot to surf.
One of the most popular holiday destinations on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, because of its abundance of excellent surfing beaches and laid-back chilled atmosphere. Byron Bay is the most easterly point of the Eastern Coast of Australia. It boasts good shopping, restaurants, cafes and has a couple of great Aussie-style pubs, one located on the beachfront.
There are two fantastic caravan parks in Byron that are located on the beachfront. My favourite is Clarkes Beach Caravan Park located about one kilometre out of town on the Cape Byron Lighthouse Road. Otherwise if you like being situated right in town try the First Sun Holiday Park located on The Wreck Beach.
Offering the best of both worlds with a great surf beach and a dunal coastal lake, Lennox Head is a popular camping spot for families and surfers alike. Nestled between Byron Bay and Ballina, Lennox Head is a vibrant seaside village with a famous right-hand point break, Lennox Point.
On the northern side of town is Lake Ainsworth, a tea-tree stained lake with fresh water that is allegedly good for the skin and hair. It’s an exhilarating experience to swim between the salty ocean and the fresh water lake. The lake is also suitable for stand-up paddle boards, kayaking and canoeing.
We’ve spent many Easters camping at Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park located on the lake and across the road from the beach.
Lennox Head is one big protected National Surfing Reserve and offers a very good point break at Lennox Point. Otherwise “Magic Miles” between Lennox Head and Ballina offers a mixture of beach breaks and reefs good for surfing.
The bustling holiday town of Ballina is located on the Richmond River and is also blessed with gorgeous beaches. The town has a large shopping centre and lots of water attractions for holiday makers. If you’re more into a larger town with heaps of facilities then Ballina would be the perfect holiday destination for you.
Ballina Waterfront Village and Tourist Park is located on the banks of Emigrant Creek and Richmond River with a boat ramp for boat access into the river; Ballina Headlands Holiday Park located near the beach between Ballina and Lennox Head; or Discovery Ballina Holiday Park located on the river and close to the breakwall and Lighthouse Beach. For more rustic style camping try Flat Rock Tent Park alongside Angel Beach.
Evans Head is described as an old-fashioned beach town surrounded by national parks located on the Evans River. It’s a peaceful coastal fishing village with 6 km of surfing beaches and pretty coastal scenery. The town does have a few shops, small supermarket, cafes, restaurants and a Bowls Club.
Evans Head has a small local fishing fleet and a Fishermen’s Co-Op where you can buy fresh seafood located just over the river. Explore the NSW national parks along the coast to the north and south of Evans Head. Bundjalung National Park to the south and Broadwater National Park to the north.
Without a doubt the Evans Head Caravan Park bordered by Evans River and only 100 metres to the beach is the perfect place to camp.
Airforce Beach, Chinaman’s Beach and Main Beach all have open beach breaks good for surfing in the right conditions.
These two iconic towns that are situated opposite one another, separated by the Clarence River, are like chalk and cheese. Illuka is a sleepy little fishing village full of fisherman’s huts, whilst Yamba is a thriving little beachside holiday town.
In Yamba you can enjoy surfing and swimming at beautiful beaches, delicious food in charming cafes, kayaking on the Clarence River and bushwalking in Yuraygir National Park.
On the other hand Iluka is a charming relaxed village with only a few amenities, located on the banks of the Clarence River that is extremely popular with fisherman.
Iluka has three riverfront caravan parks or a fabulous beachfront camping ground at Woody Head that is located within the Bundjalung National Park.
Yamba also boasts three caravan parks – Calypso Holiday Park is on the riverfront, right in the heart of town; Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort on the river: or the Big4 Saltwater Holiday Park located a little out of town on the river.
The beach hideaway of Brooms Head is located 48kms from Yamba, nestled in the heathland of Yuragir National Park and is a popular surfing place. Go up to the lookout and take in the panorama of Cakora Point and the pristine beaches. As far as the township goes there is a general store that sells takeaway food and a Bowls Club. Nearby you can launch a canoe on Lake Cakora and watch for wading birdlife.
Brooms Head Caravan Park is the perfect location on absolute beachfront.
Main Beach or Back Beach.
Around 78kms down the Pacific Highway from Yamba are the towns of Wooli and Minnie Water, located east of the city of Grafton. Once again there is a contrast between the two towns. Wooli is located on the Wooli River with a few shops, pub, bowling club and is a fisherman’s paradise, whereas Minnie Water is a beachside town with only one general store, purely a place for a beach holiday and maybe some fishing.
The beaches along this stretch of coastline in the Yuraygir National Park are untouched and pristine and there is a great walking trail that takes you through the national park. The Solitary Islands Marine Park is located out in the ocean off the shores and is abundant with marine life and fish.
Wooli – Big4 Solitary Islands Resort located on the banks of the Wooli River is a perfect place to camp.
Minnie Water – Nature based camping (4WD required) at Illaroo Campground and Rocky Point Campgrounds are both perfectly perched amongst coastal vegetation with gorgeous beach views just north of Minni Water
Just north of Coffs Harbour there are two fantastic beachside towns that are perfect for camping. Red Rock and Corindi Beach are only 6 kms apart and both have good caravan parks. Red Rock is located beside the banks of the Corindi River and as the name denotes is named after the red rocks that make up the headland at Red Rock. Corindi Beach idyllic location on the long stretch of beaches of the Coffs Coast is a peaceful place for a beach escape.
Arrawarra is the closest surfing spot just south of Corindi Beach with a good surf break off the headland.
With possibly the most scenic headland and beautiful stretch of beach on the Coffs Coast, Woolgoolga is renowned for its swimming, surfing, fishing, diving and snorkelling. Woolgoolga Beach and Headland is also a great spot for whale watching between May and October.
Woolgoolga Beach Holiday Park with absolute beach frontage on Woolgoolga Beach and located in the centre of town.
Woolgoolga Beach is a safe southern corner and popular beach for beginner surfers.
Travel another 26 kms and you will reach the city of Coffs Harbour, another very popular holiday destination on the North Coast of NSW. However I think I prefer the smaller coastal spots dotted along the coastline for more of a laid-back relaxed holiday. Where would be your choice for a holiday along the Northern New South Wales coastline?
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
merry christmas 2017