the best spots on the east coast of australia
The sense of the excited anticipation which encompasses us as we’re adventuring never seems to lose it’s power. We have meandered and adventured through the East Coast of Australia. We drove just that little bit further down dirt roads, unsure of what was around the bend, in hope that we would find something magical. We jumped out of the car and ran over sand dunes, to see if there was a little bank to surf out the front. We discovered new waterholes and beautiful beach towns.
The headlands, bays, cliffs, waterholes, dirt roads and National Parks in this area are endless. We wanted to share with you a few of our highlights of the Northern part of the East Coast. We'll post our highlights of the South Coast soon - because this is another beautiful area we found so many beautiful spots we can't wait to share.
Here are our top holiday destinations in the Northern East Coast of Australia:
Of course we have to put Byron in here - everyone loves Byron. The town has so much to offer in the sense of laid back vibes, creativity, fashion, cafés, beautiful beaches and great surf spots. It is a town that every backpacker in Australia has or will pass through. Amongst the crazy tourist vibe, there is a strong local scene that really keeps the heart of the place alive, which is why it is still worth checking out and why everyone keeps moving there. We like heading just North to Belongil or South to Suffolk Park when we want to get away from the crowds.
Lennox Head has been a renowned surfing mecca for years, with its famous long right-hand rocky point-break, and in 2007 deemed a surfing reserve. The little surfy town of Lennox has more to offer than just a great point break though. With a long beach, a massive lake next to the beach and a few cafés to spend your days at, it’s an awesome town for the family.
Iluka is like Yamba’s forgotten brother. Although it is literally over the river from Yamba, it doesn’t get the same cult following. The only real difference is that unlike Yamba, which has hills and cliffs, Iluka is completely flat, apart from the odd headland. Iluka still boasts beautiful beaches and headlands with more of a slower paced, fisherman town vibe.
Yamba / Angrouie
A sleepy little surf town, that is on the up and coming. Speedily gaining momentum as a top destination for holiday makers and people wanting to buy up a piece of paradise. With more beaches than you could possibly surf and explore in a day and quality cafés to top it off. Situated at the mouth of the Clarence River, fisherman flock to it like sea gulls, surfers have been drawn to finding waves here for a good while and families keep coming back for the relaxed vibes.
Angourie located about 5 minutes south of Yamba is a world renowned right hand point break, that is home to a couple of Surfing pioneers.
Woolgoolga / Arrawarra
The bigger brother of the group of little coastal towns surrounding this area. Even though this town is a little more built up, it still holds onto its charm nicely. The massive long grassy headland opens up to a beautiful protected bay for swimming and surfing.
Arrawarra is one of our favourites and only a few minutes up the road from Woolgoolga, however, it feels like you are a hundred miles away from town. It has managed to separate itself from the hustle and bustle which the other headlands seem to have created. With their own set of beautiful beaches and headlands it is definately worth exploring.
Located in the middle of two river mouths. A nice mini town that is renowned to surfers for delivering good waves.
For a little inland town, it packs a lot into its pot of organic chai tea. It was once a bit of a hippy town, however now its bustling with cafés and multi million dollar properties. With the town sitting on the edge of the Bellinger River and the green farming hills rolling off into the distance, the place definitely deserves a stop off. Head out of town about 10 minutes and you reach the Promised Land. One of the most magical places we went to on our trip. It is like stepping in a scene from the movie, Hook. While you're there explore Never Never Creek and find your own waterhole, you won’t be disappointed.
A little surf town that has managed to hide away from development and tourism. Perhaps people have stayed away due to the fact there’s no service station or major grocery store in town. Whatever the reason, it isn’t because it’s not a beautiful spot. With a point break and a few headlands to explore, a sprawling waterway system and National Park just off the beach, this place is a well-kept secret.
Crescent Head is a well-worn surf pilgrimage spot mainly known for its long right hand point break. Depending on whom you talk to though, the local six hole golf course which sits on top of the headland and holds prime real-estate might be Crescent’s main draw card. Due to its famed surf break and golf course, the town has developed a little more than the surrounding beach towns. They boast an IGA, a couple of quality cafés, a bakery, a hardware store, and a local pool.
We like to head about 10 minutes south of Crescent Head, just out of town along Point Plomer Road. Once you head out of town you are once again out of the semi developed area and amongst the national parks and the beautiful uncrowded coastline.
Seal Rocks is a little an absolute gem located about 40 minutes south of the hustle of Forster Tuncurry. The further you get out of town the more beautiful the coastline and bays seem to get. Be sure to check out Boomerang Beach along the way which is a great surfing spot. You will pass a bunch of fishing bays and villages that have dodged the act of development which are postcard perfect. Follow the dirt road to the end out to Seal Rocks. There's nothing really out there except for a great campground set behind the dunes and plenty of open beach on either side of the headland.
Have a look at our in-depth northern nsw family travel guide.
We couldn't put all our favourite spots up on here, we have so many more. If you want to find out more epic spots to visit on the Northern NSW East Coast we've done up a guide with all the spots we love and you have to explore.
We have thoughtfully assembled over 120 pages of 500km of coastline, 40 locations, 53 campgrounds, 86 surf spots, 180 things to do, meal plans, quick & healthy recipes, packing checklists, kids play ideas, tips for camping with kids and more.
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