19 May 2016
Planning a family holiday – heading up the coast to Forster, Emerald Beach or Harrington – even further to Ballina and Byron? The North Coast of New South Wales is filled with beautiful beaches, idyllic landscapes and a huge collection of attractions and towns – planning ahead will ensure you get to see it all – possibly some things you may not have considered!
The Forster region is renowned for its walking tracks and with such stunning beaches and scenery it is no wonder!
Dark Point Walking Track at Hawkes Nest – is a relatively short stroll that packs quite a punch with breathtaking coastal views leading to culturally significant Dark Point Aboriginal Place. Also known as Little Gibber, Dark Point walking track starts near Mungo Brush Road leading to the headland overlooking Broughton Island.
The O’Sullivans Gap Walking Track at Boolambayte is another shorter walk that takes in the lush forests surrounding the peaceful O'Sullivans picnic area - it's a great spot for a break on a road trip
The Mungo Rainforest Walk at Mungo Brush is an easy loop walk that takes you on a short trip through rare coastal rainforest, almost like the enchanted forest. The lush environment features ancient trees, plum pine, mock olive and brush bloodwood. And if you are a bird lover you can have great fun looking out for the colourful birds that live in the rainforest, including Golden Whistlers, Figbirds, and Rufous Fantails.
Harrington is the gateway to some of Australia's most beautiful coastal headlands beaches and national parks. Just past Harrington, you'll find Crowdy Head fishing village and Lighthouse. Built in 1878 and situated high on the Headland, the Crowdy Head Lighthouse offers the best views of the Three Brothers Mountains (North, Middle, South), as well as the Diamond Head. The panoramic views of the coastline and the hinterland are simply breathtaking.
Next stop up the coast is Emerald Beach Skywalk at Dorrigo Rainforest Centre offers a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding landscape. Perched right on the edge of the escarpment, Skywalk lookout is a 70m boardwalk that soars some 21m above the rainforest with views taking in Bellinger Valley to the coast with deep valleys and gorges, blanketed in a rich rainforest.
The beautiful Coffs Coast is a whale-watching paradise, and you'll find numerous opportunities to spot these awesome behemoths during May to July and September to November.
Onwards to Ballina – some of the Big Prawn! Built in 1989, the Big Prawn has undergone a makeover and was reopened in July 2013. The Big Prawn stands 9 metres high and weighs 35 tonne. The restoration cost to add a tail and give the prawn a much needed makeover cost $400,000 in 2013.
Pat Morton Lookout located on the top of Lennox Point, Lookout has extensive views especially to the North stretching up Seven Mile Beach. An ideal whale watching spot (during whale season) and perfect for spotting dolphins and the best vantage point for watching the surfers at its famous right hand break. You can also go hang gliding from here taking in the magnificent views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and coast. Stroll along walking tracks and view birds (migratory, shore and bush) as they fly, feed and roost. Watch for echidnas, lizards, frogs, wallabies, and humpback whales migrating between June and October, and see dolphins at play offshore. At sunset, experience the magnificent sight of the Trawlers making their way over the Ballina Bar or throw a line off North Wall and you will be in for a delicious seafood feast.
And finally to Byron.
Watch the sunrise at the lighthouse - be one of the first to see the sun come up over the Pacific Ocean from Australia’s most easterly point.
Take a kayak trip and paddle next to a school of dolphins. From May-October you may even be lucky enough to have a humpback whale pop up next to you! It's been over 40 years since they were hunted in this area and they now use the protection of the bay as a place to chill out with their young and scratch their bellies on the shallows.
Julian Rocks is situated within the Cape Byron Marine Park and is a great dive spot. It is home to over 1000 marine species including wobbegongs, rays, turtles, fish, nudibranchs and many more.
The hills beyond Byron Bay offer views, wilderness and a rich-farming history. Everything takes longer here, so slow down, bask in the beauty of the landscape and be surprised by its secrets The Byron Bay Hinterland is largely an explored gem for visitors to the Northern River's Region. From the sub-tropical rainforest walks and spectacular scenic views to the numerous local villages with pubs and cafes serving up the best of the region's cuisine, the hinterland is not to be missed.
On Top of the World - A 360-degree view taking in the Byron lighthouse, Mt Chincogan, Mt Warning and green pastures can be seen at Scarabelloti's Lookout on Coolamon Scenic Drive. Dusk is a special time where subtle light changes accompanied by raucous birdcalls roll over the hills.
From Sydney to Byron and everywhere in between! Stay at Discovery Parks all along the coast and experience some of the great sights of the region – with the ease, comfort and security of Discovery Parks.