Destinations / Oceania

12 Secret Spots for Your Northern Rivers NSW Holiday

New South Wales’ Northern Rivers region is blessed with natural attractions, foodie delights and classic postcard-perfect Australian beaches. However, this diverse region also has a number of hidden gems many visitors miss during their holiday. These unforgettable experiences range from national parks and secluded bays to local breweries and tucked-away townships.

Nestled between Sydney and Brisbane, the Northern Rivers is ideal for a quick Easter holiday break or an extended stay, offering cosy accommodation options to complement its enthralling activities. Just make sure you don’t miss exploring the region’s best-kept secrets on your next Northern Rivers holiday.

1. Seafood Straight from the Trawler at Tweed Marina

If you’re staying in or near Tweed Heads, wake up early to see the fishing trawlers return to Tweed Marina with their daily catch. Many of the trawlers let you purchase fish, prawns and bugs straight off the boat. If you don’t feel like cooking, grab a seafood lunch at Get Hooked Seafoods, which gets its seafood from those same trawlers.

2. Locally-Grown Food at the Channon Craft Market

Channon Craft Market
Credit: Destination NSW

Held in the heart of the Rainbow Region, the Channon Craft Market is one of Australia’s oldest art and craft markets. You’ll find over 220 local stallholders spread out under shady trees selling artisan jams and condiments, fresh fruit and vegetables, native plants, handmade clothing and artwork. The market also has street performers, food trucks, playgrounds and live music.

3. Ballina Historic Waterfront Trail

Discover Ballina’s rich Aboriginal and European history and its connection to the Richmond River with a stroll along the Ballina Historic Waterfront Trail. The trail is dotted with 19 informative plaques that provide insight into the region’s past and traditions. Keep an eye out for dolphins at the mouth of the Richmond River.

4. Toonumbar National Park in the Gondwana Rainforests

Mt Warning
Credit: Destination NSW

Part of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests, Toonumbar National Park is about one hour’s drive from the hinterland village of Kyogle. This diverse national park is popular among hikers and horse riders seeking memorable lookouts and tranquil picnic areas. Don’t miss the views from Sherwood lookout, which captures the undulating Mount Lindesay and McPherson Ranges.

5. Discover Local Heroes at Protesters Falls

About one hour’s drive from Lismore, Protesters Falls is nestled in Nightcap National Park and was the site of passionate anti-logging protests in the 1970s. You can learn about the successful demonstrations while appreciating the area’s natural beauty on a 1.4-kilometre return walk to the waterfall. Nature abounds within this region, from strangler figs and native tamarind to fruit doves and pademelons.

6. Small-Town Charm & History at Uki

Uki New South Wales
Credit: Destination NSW

There are few towns left that retain the familiarity, greenery and friendly warmth of Uki. Visitors to this small hinterland town immediately feel at home, whether purchasing fruit from unattended stalls with “honour boxes” or sharing a beer with locals in the storied Mt Warning Hotel. Antique and craft stores line the main street, while the towering Mt Warning attracts hikers.

7. Platypus Pool in Casino

Have you always wanted to see a platypus? These shy and elusive creatures are often spotted at Platypus Pool in Casino. Part of the tranquil Richmond River, Platypus Pool is best visited during early morning or late afternoon when the platypuses are most active.

8. Natural Attractions at Clarence Valley

Clarence Valley
Credit: Destination NSW

Encompassing numerous national parks and beaches, the Clarence Valley is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Fish, sail and kayak on the Clarence River, purchase fresh prawns from the seaside town of Yamba and surf world-famous breaks at Angourie Beach. You can also hike through World Heritage-listed rainforest and spot dolphins from Iluka Bluff lookout.

9. Chinderah Bay Antiques & Museum of the Sea

Holidaymakers in the town of Chinderah should explore Chinderah Bay Antiques & Museum of the Sea. In one section you’ll discover a wealth of old-world treasures and furnishings, while other exhibitions reveal decades-old whaling, maritime and nautical items. Highlights include old-school surfboards and barnacle-covered figureheads.

10. Award-Winning Beer at Stone & Wood Brewing Company

Stone & Wood Brewing
Credit: Destination NSW

Beer lovers should visit Stone & Wood Brewing Company, which specialises in seasonal malts, pacific ales and exclusive “backyard” lagers. There are two breweries, one in Byron Bay and one in Murwillumbah that opens on 4 March, 2018. Join a brewery tour to learn about the beer making process and enjoy a tasting paddle.

11.  Fresh Water Swimming at the Angourie Blue & Green Pools

About 10 minutes’ drive from Yamba is one of Australia’s lesser-known fresh water swimming spots: the Angourie Blue and Green pools. Both pools are extremely deep and backed by cliffs with ledges of varying heights. They’ve been used by locals and some visitors for swimming for almost a century.

12. Secluded Beach Retreat at Arakwal National Park

Arakwal National Park
Credit: Destination NSW

Right on the edge of Byron Bay is Arakwal National Park, which deviates from the town’s crowded beaches by delivering secluded beach oases. These long stretches of golden sand and deep-blue water are backed by native rainforest. Head to Tallow Beach for surfing, swimming, birdwatching, beach fishing and whale watching.

(Feature Image: Destination NSW)

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