|Where is the Far North Coast region?|
|The Far North Coast of New South Wales stretches from Red Rock (just north of Coffs Harbour) up to the Queensland border in Tweed Heads, covering over 280 km of coastline, and inland approximately 75 km. The region has a sub-tropical climate, with a summer mean temperature range of 18 to 30 Celsius, in winter 7 to 22 degrees.|
|How do I get there?|
|The Pacific Highway passes through the length of this region, staying fairly close to the coast along much of the route. You can easily reach any of the region's towns by driving north from Sydney or south from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. |
|What are the main towns?|
|On the coast the major towns are Yamba, Ballina, Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads and Tweed Heads. |
Lying slightly inland are Grafton, Casino, Lismore and Murwillumbah.
These towns have most of the accommodation available in the region, though please be warned, the coastal towns are extremely popular, and in peak times such as school holidays and long weekends it may be necessary to book some time in advance of your travel dates. For a full list of accommodation in the Far North Coast region, click here.
|What's there to do?|
|With a warm climate and a stretch of coast like this, it should come as no surprise that outdoors is the place to be. The beach culture is strong, with expanses of sand varying between the very busy, such as around Byron Bay, and the more isolated stretches, such as Ten Mile Beach south of Evans Head. Amongst surfers the breaks around Angourie, situated just south of Yamba, are legendary. The beaches here can be for the family, for the surfer or for the people who prefer clothing to be optional.|
For the fishing enthusiast there is a choice of ocean, beach, rock or estuary - and plenty of choice, given the length of the coastline and the number of river systems. Boat hire, charter services, fishing tackle and hopefully fish are readily available throughout the region. Other water activities on offer are waterskiing, canoeing, whitewater rafting and scuba diving. Cook Island, situated about a 1 km off the coast from Tweed Heads, is one of Australia's finest dives, with an abundance of fish and coral life. In the months of June and July, and September and October, whales pass by this section of the coast, and there is a host of tour operators offering whalewatching cruises or kayak tours, particularly in Byron Bay, Tweed Heads and Yamba. More common, though no less enjoyable, are dolphins, which can be seen year-round.
Along both the coast and inland are an abundance of national parks, state parks and forests, so bushwalking, birdwatching and photography opportunites are ample. Mount Warning, located in the national park of the same name south-east of Murwillumbah, is the largest extinct shield volcano in the Southern Hemisphere. Try either the strenuous 4.4 km walk to the summit and its view to the coast, or take the easier 200 metre Lyrebird Track, winding through rainforest to a viewing platform. For a more urban piece of nature, visit Grafton in the month of October, when the Jacaranda Festival takes place. The combination of the town's jacaranda-lined streets in full flower and the elegant old buildings is a sight to see. Visit Byron Bay and be sure to have a look at Cape Byron, Australia's most easterly point. Take the track up to the lighthouse, and be rewarded with outstanding views of the coast. Of the many scenic drives in the region, perhaps the best would be the Coolamon Scenic Drive, which you can access 4 km north of Bangalow. A narrow, windy road, it takes you through the hinterland, its villages, walking tracks and picnic spots. Towns such as Kyogle and Murwillumbah are excellent bases for exploring the various national parks of the region, with the World Heritage Rainforest Centre in Murwillumbah being an excellent source of information.