North Coast Attractions
To the north of Newcastle, behind a narrow coastal strip, the hills of the Great Dividing Range rise to the New England highlands. On the long northern coasts are a number of well-known bathing resorts and a string of smaller holiday settlements, with long and often empty beaches and at some points good surfing seas.The Pacific Highway runs for part of the way at some distance from the coast, with coastal roads serving the beaches and holiday resorts.
Port Macquarie, Australia
Port Macquarie (pop. 34,000), the largest town on the northern coast of New South Wales, lies at the mouth of the Hastings River. Founded in 1821 as a convict settlement, it has become since the 1970s a popular tourist and holiday center.The most notable of the town's historic buildings is St Thomas's Church, one of the oldest churches in Australia, built by convict labor in 1824-8. Opposite the courthouse (1869) is the Local History Museum, housed in a commercial building of the 1830s. Other features of interest are a lighthouse of 1879 and an observatory. There is also a Koala Hospital, where sick and injured animals are restored to health. Nearby is the Sea Acres Rain Forest, and there are good facilities for water sports and fishing.
The town of Wauchope features Timbertown, a recreation of a loggers' settlement of the 1880s.
Coffs Harbour, Australia
Coffs Harbour (pop. 22,000) was originally called Korff's Harbour after the founder of the first settlement. The town is the center for a large area specializing in forestry, growing bananas and vegetables, dairy farming and fishing. It is also a focal point for tourists on the very popular 'Holiday Coast'.Coffs Harbour is really two towns, one on the highway and the other near the artificial harbor and railway station.There are a number of old houses round the harbor. On Mutton Bird Island are large numbers of nesting-places. Along the coast there are beautiful beaches and excellent tourist facilities.
Port Stephens, Australia
Port Stephens is a large and beautiful bay, 25km long. Beaches of white sand, natural bush country and deep blue water give this large natural harbor enclosed by two volcanic headlands something of a tropical look. The main holiday resorts are Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay, Soldiers Point, Fingal Bay, Lemon Tree Passage, Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest.In spite of the many thousands of holidaymakers who come here in summer there are still quiet stretches of coast. The deep-water port, less than an hour's drive from Newcastle, is the base for a fleet of fishing boats. Game fishing, water sports of all kinds; boats of all sizes for hire.
Nambucca Heads, Australia
The beautifully situated little town of Nambucca Heads (pop. 6250) at the mouth of the Nambucca River is a popular holiday resort (boating, fishing, swimming).Breathtaking views from local viewpoints, particularly Yarrahapinni Lookout.
The seaside resort of Woolgoolga (pop. 3660) has a good surfing beach and excellent fishing.An unusual feature is a Sikh temple, a place of worship for the town's Indian population, who originally worked on Queensland's sugar-cane plantations and later moved south to grow bananas.10km north of Woolgoolga is Yuraygir National Park.
Above the little town of Bulahdelah (pop. 1100) rears Alum Mountain, on which alunite (alumstone), an important raw material for the papermaking and dyestuff industries, has been mined for more than 80 years.
Myall Lakes National Park
34,500ha (including 10,000ha of lakes).In Myall Lakes National Park is one of the largest expanses of freshwater and brackish lakes in New South Wales, with very varied scenery: dune-fringed beaches, heaths with spring flowers and a rich fauna (great numbers of waterfowl). Fine views of beautiful beaches and areas of rain forest.
Address: The Ruins Campground, Lakes Way, Pacific Palms, NSW 2428, Australia
Entrance fee in AUD: Adult $10.00, Vehicle plus all occupants $7.00, Child $5.00
Useful tips: Access 16km east of Bulahdelah, from the Pacific Highway via Tea Gardens to the south along the coast. Visitors must take their own drinking water. Admission cost is per vehicle per day. Adult and child fees are for camping only and apply per night.
Hat Head National Park
6400ha.This coastal area, declared a National Park in 1972, extends from Smoky Cape to Crescent Head, with sand dunes, dune lakes and marshland.There are coastal trails at Hat Head and Smoky Cape.
Sawtell (pop. 10,840) is a popular holiday resort on the North or Holiday Coast. Sawtell features water sports, beaches, many entertainments and good walking areas. Sawtell is safe for children.
Taree (pop. 15,700) is the manufacturing and commercial center of the Manning River district. Dairy farming and timber working in Manning valley.The town has a number of fine 19th C buildings (churches, courthouse, school).
Crowdy Bay National Park
8000 ha.The attractions of Crowdy Bay National Park, established in 1972, are its wide variety of scenery (forest, heath, marshland, sand dunes) and large numbers of birds and reptiles. The national park was previously grazing land. In the dispute between the protection of nature and the exploitation of natural resources (mineral sands) in this area the decision was in favor of the environment, with only restricted working of the mineral sand. In spring there is a brilliant show of flowers.
It is worth taking an excursion from Taree to the Bulga Plateau (50km northwest) with the Ellenborough Falls. Near the town are good surfing beaches and trout fishing in dammed streams.
Wauchope (pop. 4280) lies on the Oxley Highway in a timber working and dairy farming area.Wauchope's main tourist attraction is Timbertown (3 km west), a recreation of a typical timber town of the 1880s.
Arakoon is a popular leisure park on the north coast, with beautiful picnic areas. There is an attractive stretch of coast at South West Rocks.
Trial Bay Gaol (Jail)
Near Arakoon is Trial Bay Gaol, which was built in 1886 but was used only for a short time. During the First World War it became an internment camp for Germans; it is now a museum. Access from the Pacific Highway on the road to the South West Rocks, a little to the north of Kempsey.
Dorrigo (pop. 1130) is an important timber town.There is good trout fishing near the town.
Dorrigo National Park
7900ha.The National Park was established in 1972 to protect the dense wet forests on the Dorrigo plateau. It is a fascinating wilderness of subtropical rain forest and wet eucalyptus forests with orchids, ferns, mosses and many birds and nocturnal mammals. There is heavy rain in summer, when the waterfalls are at their most impressive.There are good walking trails, starting from the Glade picnic area in the northwest of the park and the Never Never picnic area in the center, through rain forest and to the Dangar Falls.There is a visitor center at the entrance to the park.
Kempsey (pop. 24,720) is, after Port Macquarie, the oldest town in the northern coastal region of New South Wales. It lies between the Dividing Range and the coast.
North Coast Pictures View All