Must-Do Experiences on NSW's North Coast
The North Coast of New South Wales is an ideal short break, with a stunning coastline, lush hinterland and thrilling adventures for the entire family. Take a whale-watching cruise, sample local wines and fresh produce, learn to surf, or explore one of the pristine National Parks. With regional airports in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, it’s even easier to plan your next holiday on the stunning northern coastline of NSW. Here are some must-do experiences in the region, from outdoor adventures to food trails …
Port Macquarie is an animal lover’s paradise with many opportunities to get up close and personal with wildlife in the great outdoors. Explore the hinterland on a horseback ride with Bellrowan Valley Horse Riding or enjoy the freedom of an amble along a beach with Port Macquarie Beach Horse Riding. For a unique experience, climb onto an Australian camel and meander along the golden sands with Port Macquarie Camel Safaris.
Out on the water, Port Macquarie Cruise Adventures take visitors on dolphin-spotting cruises on the beautiful Hastings River. If you want to see whales in the wild, join a whale-watching cruise such as PortJet Whale Watching and marvel at these majestic mammals between May and November.
For a memorable moment and photo opportunity, book a personal encounter with an exotic or native animal at Billabong Zoo Koala and Wildlife Park. Feed a Snow Leopard, hold a snake if you’re brave enough or spend time with a cuddly Koala. Billabong Zoo also houses the world’s first Koala Hospital dedicated to the care and preservation of koalas.
Hit The Beach
Take a journey along the stunning coastline of the Port Macquarie region and seek out the best fishing, swimming and surfing spots. Lighthouse Beach is a top area to hit the waves with a good break at the northern end of the beach. The beach can also be accessed by 4WD and is an ideal place for beach fishing and long walks. For stunning ocean views and an outdoor adventure, the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk trails through subtropical rainforest and overlooks a number of pretty beaches. Pilot Beach, Flynns Beach and Town Beach are also lovely spots for a picnic, board ride or just a relaxing day on the sand.
Port Macquarie has a number of boutique wineries nestled near the sea where you can taste local wine or linger for a long and tasty lunch. At Long Point Vineyard and Art Gallery you can browse their art exhibition then enjoy a wine tasting, then head over to Little Fish Café Restaurant and Vineyard where you can indulge in a French Bistro-style lunch overlooking the vineyards. Wander through NSW’s largest hedge maze at Bago Vineyards or ride a horse through the vines at Douglas Vale Historic Homestead and Vineyard. Children will enjoy the baby animal petting farm at Roses Vineyard and Animal Farm while you enjoy a glass of wine with a view overlooking Innes Lake. Learn all the steps in the winemaking process from crushing to bottling and labelling at Cassegrain Wines.
Experience the natural beauty of the Coffs Coast and explore a National Park. For serious adventurers, the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk is a 60km walking trail, which can be tackled over several days and traverses golden beaches, rocky headlands and lush rainforests.
Dorrigo National Park, just an hour from Coffs Harbour, is a quiet sanctuary with myriad birdlife, lush rainforest walks, magical waterfalls to find and a spectacular elevated walk which offers views from the rainforest to the ocean.
If you want to feel like you’re walking above the clouds, head to the Forest Sky Pier at Sealy Lookout, which gives a panoramic view from the mountains to the coast. The suspended pier extends 21 metres from the lookout and is 15 metres above ground.
For a unique perspective looking back at the Coffs Coast and hinterland, Muttonbird Island has Aboriginal cultural significance and is also a top vantage point for whale watching.
On the Coffs Coast Food Trail
The Coffs Harbour region offers unique foodie experiences such as paddock-to-plate trails, farm-day tours and beer tastings.
At The Cheesemaking Workshop and Deli, try a fun and tasty hands-on workshop where you’ll learn the artisan craft of cheese making. Your little ones will love the Kids Farmer Day program at Synchronicity Farm—it gives children an experience of farm life and encourages them to understand the origin and story behind their food.
For craft beer and wine tasting, Bellingen Brewery specialises in matching fine ales with their famous wood-fired pizzas and the charming Two Tails Winery B&B has bed and breakfast accommodation, cellar door wine tasting and a restaurant showcasing the best local produce in Spanish Tapas style.
Coffs Coast Action
Home of one of Australia’s iconic big things—the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour has a sense of fun and adventure with exciting activities for all ages.
The Big Banana has a banana plantation tour, a water park and giant slide, plus laser tag and mini golf. You can go diving and snorkelling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park with Jetty Dive. The marine park is a haven for turtles, whales and 90 species of coral.
For a truly unique experience, visit Dolphin Marine Magic where you can swim with the dolphins and get up close and personal with dolphins and seals.
Unique to the Coffs Coast area is Sawtell Headland’s Ocean Pool, a perfect way to soak up the sun, sand and surf as well as taking in the incredible coastline views.
In November, watch the world's greatest drivers battling for supremacy in the toughest and most varied conditions at the Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
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