Pack your bags and make your way to the north coast of New South Wales, Australia. Whether you’re a visitor to our shores or an Aussie local of some sorts, this is one road trip you’d want to add to your Australia bucketlist. We certainly did. Tick.
A couple of weeks ago, we decided to take a much needed R&R by taking a short road trip from Sydney, up to the north coast of New South Wales (NSW). We booked accommodations in Urunga to visit the Coffs Coast (read post here) and East Ballina across the road from Shelly Beach.
There is absolutely no way anyone can see or experience everything the Coffs Coast, mid-north coast and northern tablelands has to offer in a week, so this is just a taste of more road trips to come.
In just 72 hours, the north coast has captured our hearts forever.
1. A surfer’s dream – perfect waves, pristine beaches, white sands
A visit to the Byron Bay, Lennox Head and Ballina region is not complete if you don’t visit at least one of their breathtaking beaches. As a Sydneysider, I must say that I much prefer the beaches in this region as it is more spectacular, cleaner and more relaxing. Either that or our impeccable timing meant we just missed the school holiday season. No. Crowds.
Belongil Beach and Seven Mile Beach are our faves.
2. Gigantic jellyfishes
3. Warm hospitality
The people are so chilled and content, that it’s so easy to become one of the locals. In other words, it is hard to leave this place and return to the chaos that is city life. In the three days we spent here, we met a number of former travellers from various parts of the world. ‘Former’ because their once quick pitstop became a permanent one. Also, people in these parts are not afraid to make eye contact, give you travel advice, point you in the right direction or sit with you to share their story.
4. Hearty grub
We became quite hooked on the breakfast menu served at Dip Cafe at Byron Bay. Now, I’ve devoured many eggs benedicts in my life but I must say, I think I have found The One.
But if you’re craving for something fancy to satisfy your culture food cravings, head over to St Elmo Dining Room and Bar – a fancified tapas bar that boasts a wide range of wines, and possibly the best Choricito con Panceta de Cerdo (Baby chorizo with slow cooked pork belly, served with sherry vinegar caramel with pickled watermelon and almonds) I have tasted.
5. Markets, markets everywhere
6. The Big Prawn
Seriously, where else can you find an Aussie icon in front of a hardware store?
Firstly, they look like this.
I have a love/hate relationship with these eccentric creatures. ‘Love’ because they feast on anything they can catch and swallow (including insects, spiders and even other small lizards), meaning you won’t need to worry about creepy crawlies. ‘Hate’ because for something so tiny, they sure do make a heck of a lot of noise – a clicking, chuck chuck chuck noise that will ensure many sleepless nights. Geckos are said to make these noises because they are either marking their territory or it could be a mating call to draw attention of the females. (Tip: invest in good ear plugs).
8. Lighthouses that boast picturesque sunrises and sunsets
9. Reach the most easterly point of mainland Australia
10. Wake up and sleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the banks
11. All year ’round tan
Not the healthiest way to sport some colour, so make sure you Slip Slop Slap.
12. A whale of a time
Lennox Head is an excellent vantage point to watch the migratory humpback whales pass close to shore during May to October.
13. Get in touch with nature
The likes of Lennox Head Beach is a protected National Surfing Reserve. It is a great place to sit back and watch experienced surfers enjoy the beach’s swell, or jump in to experience it for yourself.
There’s also Arakwal National Park which is known for its unspoilt nature trail, coastal views and tranquil beaches, thanks to the 2001 historic agreement between the NSW State Government and the Byron Bay Arakwal Aboriginal community. An important part of Aboriginal heritage, Arakwal National Park is also a haven for migratory birds and animals.
Have you been to the NSW north coast? What was the most memorable for you?