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Many of us host interstate or overseas family or friends over the summer holiday break. Particularly, if you live somewhere that is attractive that offers a lot of things to see and do. Let’s face it – we become free accommodation for our freeloading friends or family!
The best way to approach the “silly season” is to plan an itinerary for our freeloading guests and learn how to entertain guests during the holidays in your own city or town. This solves the problem of getting much-loved guests out of your house and from under your feet!
I’m possibly the most well researched person for what is on offer around my town, and also within an hours drive of my area here in Far North New South Wales. Not only do we boast the amazing Tweed Coast and Tweed Valley, but we’re also close to the glamorous and fast-paced Gold Coast. It’s a mere 15 minute drive away to the Queensland border.
I could produce a list of things to do and see in my area that would keep visitors entertained for weeks. So with this in mind do your research. Make Google your friend and find out what’s on offer. Or alternatively, ask your friends for advice about the best things to do and best places to see in your town or city.
Things like parks and gardens; beaches, lakes or rivers; cinemas, theatres, art galleries and museums; amusement parks; sporting events or music festivals; shopping malls and local markets; historical points of interest; hikes or walks; water sports; and sightseeing tours. These are all great places to start.
The best way to become a tourist in your own city or town, is to get out and about on the weekends discovering what there is on offer in your area. When I moved to the Tweed Coast I actually visited the local Visitor Information Centre and collected a heap of brochures and maps of drives, hikes and attractions available in my region. Then I purposely set off each weekend of a Sunday drive exploring these recommendations. It was loads of fun.
You may be surprised that there are many hidden gems in your city or town. I discovered national parks, rainforests, scenic lookouts, green lush valleys, hiking trails, arts and crafts galleries, farm gate produce, country cottage cafes and restaurants, grand old pubs, historical landmarks, river cruises, uncrowded beaches and quirky villages. All of these within a 50 kilometres radius of my home town.
From these weekly expeditions, I was able to create a list of must see places in my area. I knew exactly where I could take any future visitors to keep them entertained. It was a piece of cake!
Most cities or towns have regular occurring events, that may differ from weekly, monthly or yearly. These are generally easily accessed by contacting the Visitor Information Centre or the What’s On Page for your city/town. In my small town there are regular beachside markets (every fortnight), monthly food truck night markets during summer, free live music at both the Surf Club and Bowls Club, some great live gigs at the local Pub, an annual surfing contest and a triathlon that runs twice a year.
If I were to venture 15 minutes drive to the city of Tweed Heads, the choices there would be even wider. Here there are many clubs and pubs offering live music, heaps of markets, sporting events and the very popular annual Cooly Rocks Festival in June each year.
I’m fortunate that there are plenty of options to go hiking or cycling in my town and surrounding area. There is a fantastic walking/cycling path that follows the beachfront from Kingscliff to Pottsville that is flat, suiting all levels of fitness. Otherwise there are multiple places offering great hikes in the Tweed Valley where you can also stop for a picnic with a view.
Popular hiking trails are the summit walk to Mt Warning (Wollumbin), Border Ranges, Nightcap National Park, Mebbin National Park, Cape Byron, and there is a scenic coastal walk from Ballina to Byron Bay. I picked up a handy brochure from my local Visitor Information Centre that details 30 great walks in my region.
If you’re a beach bum and like to spend your days sunbaking, strolling on the sand, surfing or swimming, there are multiple beaches and estuarine creeks along the Tweed Coast. You can even find practically deserted beaches where you are completely alone.
Water sports are extremely popular in my town. There are places where you can hire surfboards to hit the waves, or there is a watercraft rental van set up on the creek. Here you can hire a standup paddle board or a kayak to paddle along the pristine creek. In most cases, lessons are included.
Otherwise try your hand at beach fishing or hire a small tinnie and try the Tweed River where you might catch a much sought after Mangrove Jack. Toss a crab pot into the mangrove-inhabited parts of the river and catch yourself a “Muddy” (Mud Crab).
On the nearby Tweed River there are a range of boat cruises that take you out for a few hours of cruising on the scenic river. I can highly recommend the sunset cruise for river reflections and magical views of the sun setting over Mt Wollumbin. There is also a company that will take you out on a deep sea fishing charter or a snorkelling adventure to Cook Island, located just off the coastline.
My region is a big food bowl, with acres upon acres of farming land and market gardens. Plus there is plenty of fresh seafood available straight from the ocean or river. You can purchase fresh seafood off the trawler or from vending trucks beside the Tweed River.
Over the past few years tasting tours have become popular in the Tweed region. I only have to venture a few kilometres inland to find roadside stalls selling farm fresh produce. Places like The Farm in Byron Bay and Farm & Co in Cudgen have cropped up, where you can get an authentic farm experience. There are also a couple of farm to plate restaurant experiences, where the menu consists of home grown produce cooked to perfection.
For the beer lovers, there are a couple of breweries where you can taste some boutique beers, a gin and rum distillery, and for the teetotallers – a tea plantation. All of these are within half an hour drive from where I live.
So, as you can see there are plenty of things to do and see in my town and surrounding area. You just need to do your research and get our there and explore your backyard. It is the best remedy for holiday boredom and for guests that overstay their welcome.
For more reading about the Tweed Coast read my post Must Do Things To Do On The Tweed.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy 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, photography, 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.