North Coast NSW Road Trip – Lennox Head to Gold Coast

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North Coast NSW is one of my favourite areas in Australia.

It’s lush, hilly, filled with ancient rainforests, magnificent views, stunning coastline and beaches, and alternative lifestyles. It’s where my soul comes to breathe and just be.

From the hinterland to the coast there are plenty of beautiful places to enjoy on this drive. It’s worth spending a day or two to explore the area, although we recommend anything over a week.

Here are a few of our favourite spots on the North Coast of NSW.

North Coast NSW

1. Lennox Head

Lennox Head, NSW, Australia
Lennox Head

If you’re a keen surfer, the long right-hand break at Lennox is pretty famous. (Rumour has it Jack Johnson and Ben Harper like to surf here!)

Drive up to the headland to the Port Morton Lookout for some stunning views back down the Lennox Coastline and Seven Mile Beach.

Take the stairs at the top and turn right. Follow the track through the farmland and along the cliff face – it’s a stunning and peaceful walk. You can walk all the way around to Skennars Head, we made it just to Boulders Beach.

cliffs next to the ocean
Cliff top walk to Boulders Beach
Boulders Beach, NSW, Australia
Boulders Beach

2. Broken Head

Broken Head, NSW, Australia
Broken Head

Broken Head is the perfect place to camp if you want a holiday focused on relaxing on the beach.

It’s only about 7kms from Byron Bay so you have easy access to a bit of vibrancy, but there isn’t much else to do at Broken Head but chill out at this pretty beach area.

3. Tallows Beach

waves on the beach
The mighty Tallows

I love watching the surf at Tallows Beach from the Byron Bay lighthouse. Tallows is a huge stretch of white sand and thunderous surf at the northern end of Seven Mile Beach.

We actually watched a surfer rescued by Jet Ski who was caught in a rip and taken way out around the lighthouse headland. It’s the surfing place for those who know what they are doing.

4. Byron Bay Lighthouse

Byron Bay Lighthouse
Byron Bay Lighthouse at sunset

Sunset is the time to visit the Byron lighthouse.

Here’s a tip – don’t park in the lighthouse car park. They close it right on sunset, so you miss the afterglow of colours. Park just below, or walk up from Wategos Beach.

The lighthouse is good at any time to visit, but sunset is especially beautiful.

We also highly recommend walking from Byron Bay to the lighthouse. It’s only a short 3.7 km loop, but the views are beautiful and it’s easy to do – we’ve done it twice with the kids. (Just bribe them with an ice-cream at the Lighthouse Cafe.)

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Views on the Byron Lighthouse walk

5. Byron Bay

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Byron Beach

I could easily never leave Byron.

It has this wonderful Asian feel to the energy and lifestyle – it’s eclectic, alternative, accepting and slow pace. (There’s also a bit of up-market if that’s your vibe?)

It’s on a crystal bed AND has been a sacred healing ground for over 20,000 years. It has always been a place for ceremony, dancing circles, birthing rituals and spiritual respite and dreaming. Can you see the effect this place has on people then?

We have several posts on Bryon Bay, so for now all we recommend you do is enjoy the beach lifestyle, try out some of the amazing cafes, do a little shopping, and soak up every magnificent sunset on the beach.

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Sunset at Byron Bay Beach

6. Belongil Beach

Belongil Beach, NSW, Australia

The next beach from Byron is Belongil, which we only discovered on the day we left. We got a hot tip from a local who said stop for breakfast at Belongil Bistro.

There’s not much here in this charming one street village – which is all the more reason to soak up the serenity.

7. The Byron Bay Hinterland

Hinterland, North Coast NSW

Take a detour into the sub-tropical hinterland in the Northern Rivers, where you’ll find rolling hills, pristine rainforest, secluded waterfalls and spectacular views.

It’s a stunning area to visit.

Our top tips are head to the Crystal Castle at Mullumbimby – you’ll get beautiful views, awesome food, and some crystal healing. Tell me you don’t walk out of here feeling calm and happy.

Also visit Bangalow for lunch, or when the Sunday market is on (fourth Sunday of every month).

8. Cabarita Beach

Cabarita Beach, NSW, Australia

Cabarita is a place I want to return to explore more. We only stopped in on a short morning drive.

The surf here was amazing and there is a lovely short walk to Norries Headland for spectacular views of Diamond Beach.

9. Salt Beach, Kingscliff

Salt Kingscliff sunrise
Sunrise at Salt

We love Salt and always stay at the Mantra when we go. We could easily spend a couple of weeks relaxing here. The sunrises are some of the best I’ve seen.

We definitely recommend walking from Salt around to Kingscliff through the bush track and around the creek. It only took us 40 minutes with the girls.

10. Kingscliff

Kingscliff, NSW, Australia

Cudgen Creek is the highlight of this lovely small town close to the border.

The water is crystal clear and perfect for stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming, especially for families. Watch this space for a more in-depth post on things to do in Kingscliff.

11. Fingal Head

Fingal Head, NSW, Australia

There’s a short walk through remnant coastal rainforest to the headland and lighthouse in Fingal. There are also great views to Fingal Beach and Dreamtime Beach.

And now you’re crossing over into Queensland.

We’ll have a lot more posts coming up sharing with you the drives and amazing things to see and do in Queensland!

The North Coast NSW region is spectacular and deserves a devotion of your time exploring!

What places do you recommend seeing on this North Coast NSW drive?

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