Jacaranda blooms in Grafton.
Ballina's magnificent Post Office.

Resort area of Tweed Heads.

Lighthouse at Cape Byron.

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NORTHERN RIVERS & TROPICAL NSW - Beaches and Mountains

North of Corinda Beach the Pacific Highway leaves the coast and travels through Grafton and Maclean to rejoin it near Ballina then roughly follow it into Tweed Heads at the southern end of the Gold Coast.
This area is known as Northern Rivers a reference to the mighty rivers which flow eastward to the sea from the Great Dividing Range and to the sub-tropical climate and verdant countryside featuring palms and banana plantations.
There are many major National Parks in the area offering walks, trail rides, waterfalls, dense rainforest and pretty little towns offering a variety of crafts and galleries to explore. To the east, roads lead to popular seaside resorts like Lennox Head, Evans Head, Brooms Head and Minnie Waters. There are also some significant tourist centres here including Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads, each offering their own atmosphere and facilities.
On the main highway you can see the 'Big Prawn' at Ballina, the magnificent Jacarandas of Grafton, and the Macadamia Farm near Ballina.
To the west, the Bruxner Hwy leads to the large towns of Lismore and Casino, and just north of there, Kyogle and Nimbin, noted for being the first recognised 'Hippy' community in Australia, and still a centre for arts, crafts and easy living.
At the end of the journey to the north is Tweed Heads and the famed Gold Coast of Queensland. The border crosses the highway just north of Tweed Heads where you enter Queensland.
National parks in the region include the Border National Park, Nightcap National Park, Broadwater National Park, Bundjalong National Park, and Yuragir National Park. See NSW Parks site for full details.

The Northern Rivers region enjoys a sub-tropical climate with warm to hot, humid summers and mild winters. Rainfall of 100mm is spread evenly throughout the year.

There are many motels, hotels and caravan parks to choose from catering for every budget. Use the Accommodation Search below to find your options.

Discover golden sandy beaches, rainforests, fascinating attractions and scenic national parks.

  • The Big Prawn: Ballina. One of many of Australia's 'Big Things'.
  • The Rainforest Way Driving trails into the spectacular World Heritage rainforests and unique hinterland of the Northern Rivers NSW and South East Queensland. Drives link 14 World Heritage-listed National Parks and showcase the region’s natural, cultural and historic attractions.
  • Cape Byron Lighthouse: Byron Bay - Australia's mosteasterly point.
  • Macadamia Castle: Knockrow - Open 8am to 5pm daily
    The Macadamia Castle has been a popular activity destination for over 35 years. An animal park, cafe, nut bar, fine food section and retail store provide a full days entertainment and education for all the family.
    Pacific Highway Knockrow NSW (between Byron Bay and Ballina) Ph: 02 6687 8432
  • Crystal Castle: Mullumbimby. Mystical statues set in extensive gardens includes walks, Tarot reading, crystals, cafe and souvenirs. Open 7 days 10am - 5pm.
  • Naval Museum next door to the Tourist Information Centre: Ballina
  • Kerry Saxby walkway begins from the Ballina Visitor Centre and follows the river to the ocean.

  • Jacaranda Festival: Grafton - Held annually from the last weekend in October to the first weekend in November.
  • BluesFest Byron Bay - April 5th to 9th.
    The Festival began in 1990 at the Arts Factory in Byron Bay and quickly became known as “Byron Bay Bluesfest” and 'The Byron Bay Festival' and is now known as 'Bluesfest' and pioneered the presentation of blues music in Australia.

    Select type, then click the button below for North Coast Accommodation

    Use the box below for a specific town search

    Information is available from the Visitor Centres in the district.


    The Northern Rivers & Tropical NSW region mainly lies along the Pacific Highway (1) between Grafton in the south and the Queensland Border near Tweed Heads in the north. It reaches inland to Lismore, Casino and Kyogle and several hinterland towns west of the highway.

    There are several roads joining it from the New England Highway in the west including the scenic Waterfall Way some 170km. between Armidale and Urunga.
    Daily bus and rail services operate along the highway and the main North-South railway with stops in major towns and cities.

    There are airports at Ballina, Grafton, Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast.
    The Gold Coast Airport is a major domestic airport with some 45 daily services by major airlines. QANTAS, Jetstar, Tiger and Virgin Australia all have flights from Capital cities across the country.
    The Byron-Ballina Airport at Ballina offers Bus Transfers to Byron Bay.
    The Clarence Valley Regional Airport is located 12 kilometres from Grafton and is owned and operated by the Clarence Valley Regional Council. Facilities include toilets, disabled access, phones, car parking and visitor information.

    The Sydney to Brisbane CountryLink XPT operates 3 times daily from Central Station Stopping at: Strathfield, Hornsby,Gosford, Wyong, Fassifern, Broadmeadow, Maitland, Dungog, Gloucester, Wingham, Taree, Kendall, Wauchope, Kempsey, Eungai, Macksville, Nambucca Heads, Urunga, Sawtell, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Casino, Lismore, Kyogle, Beenleigh and Brisbane (Roma Street Station). The full fare Sydney to Brisbane is around $95,00 (April 2012)
    See timetable and fares

    Greyhound Australia operate 3 coaches daily between Sydney and Brisbane (7.00am, 7.00pm and 11.00pm from Sydney) stopping at Chatswood, Gosford, Tuggerah, Doyalson, Belmont, Newcastle, Raymond Terrace, Beresfield, Karuah, Tea Gardens, Buladelah, Coolongolook, Nabiac, Forster, Taree, Kew, Port Macquarie, Crescent Head, Kempsey, Macksville, Nambucca Heads, Urunga, Boambee, Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Grafton, Maclean, Yamba, Woodburn, Ballina, Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Murwillumbah, Chinderah, Coolangatta, Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads, Surfers Paradise, Southport, Beenleigh, Garden City and Brisbane.
    An additional 7.00am Monday, Wednesday, Friday service stops at major towns.

    Australian Rail Services website is a great place to find Australian travel services, prices and timetables.

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