11 Exciting Things To Do In Kingscliff, NSW

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Kingscliff is a sleepy beach side town on the northern NSW coast, only a fifteen-minute drive from the Queensland border. Although it’s small in size, there are plenty of things to do in Kingscliff.

There is only one main street in the town, and it is alive with busy cafes, and restaurants. It’s a destination that is favoured by many year after year and loved by locals.

Aerial over Cudgen Creek break walls, Kingscliff in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.
Aerial over Cudgen Creek break walls, Credit: Ryan Fowler; Destination Tweed

It’s tucked away off the Pacific Highway so make sure you make that right hand turn for a visit.

If you like a holiday destination where you can keep your car in park, Kingy is the place. Everything you need is in walking distance, and there is plenty on offer.

We tend to visit a lot as my friend Woody relocated to Kingscliff, NSW several years ago, and is now one of those locals who loves Kingy! It does seem very livable.

If you’re planning a visit but not sure what to do in Kingscliff, here are the top attractions!

Where is Kingscliff?


Kingscliff is located on the sunny New South Wales coast in the Northern Rivers region. The nearest town is Tweed Heads, which is just 13km away.

Kingscliff is 112km South of Brisbane and takes 1.5 hours to get to by car. It’s also 60km North of Byron Bay, and takes 50 minutes to reach by car.

It makes the perfect stopping point for anyone on an East Coast Road trip in Aus and needs somewhere to rest between Brisbane and Byron Bay.

Getting there: From Sydney you can fly one hour to Coolangatta Airport and then it’s just a 20-minute drive south. If you’re driving from Sydney it’s approx. 9 hours up the north coast.

Top Things to do in Kingscliff

Whether you’re looking to explore the beaches, walk through amazing nature sites or check out cultural landmarks, don’t miss these exciting Kingscliff attractions!

1. Play at Cudgen Creek

cudgen creek winding through kingscliff

Cudgen Creek just overshadows the beach as the local’s favourite water playground. It’s probably the best local attraction in Kingscliff because it’s so beautiful and peaceful.

waves rolling into cudgen creek

The water is crystal clear and perfect for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and swimming for the kids.

There’s also a great playground next to the creek for when, or if, the kids get sick of swimming.

2. Walk from Salt Beach to Kingscliff

people walking on paved trail

It will only take you about 40 minutes to walk from Salt Beach to Kingscliff. You can take the beach way or the path that runs parallel to the beach. The path was a little easier with Savannah on our shoulders.

It gets pretty as soon as you hit the boardwalk around Cudgen creek and this walk also makes for a great bike ride.

woman carrying a kid on her shoulders while walking on a bridge

Local knowledge says the bridge is the place for some good photos on a clear evening with a magical sunset. You can see out to Mt Warning in the distance.

3. Surf and Play at Kingscliff Beach

Kingscliff Beach with rocks at one end

Across the road from the cafe strip is Kingscliff Beach. This local beach will satisfy the surfers or those families just wanting to build sandcastles and play on the sand.

There’s a reef break on the southern edge of Kingscliff, which means the water is gentle and great for kids to go swimming.

There’s also a picnic area and facilities such as toilets and changing rooms. What trip to the seaside would be complete without a day at the beach?

4. Have Dinner at Kingscliff Bowling Club

people smiling to camera eating lunch at bowling club

When it comes to dining in Kingscliff, you’ll find cheap and good tucker here at the Bowling Club. Drinks will be cheap too and the best news, you’re right on the water with great views.

You must say hi to Fols (Woody’s husband!) for us while you’re there. He’s our good mate from home who’s the general manager!

plate of salmon and fries
Try the salmon!

5. Have a Beer at Kingscliff (Cudgen) Surf Club

More awesome views here from the balcony at the Surf Club.

It’s the place to come when the band is playing or for Sunday sessions. The food here is good as well with specials for lunch and dinner. And they have those kids activity packs to keep them amused at the table.

View from Kingscliff Surf Club, NSW
View from Surf Club

6. Enjoy Evening Entertainment at Saltbar Beach Bar and Bistro

Saltbar is located at Salt Beach and just near the Mantra is this family friendly bistro and quite popular with travellers and locals especially when the specials are on and weekend live music.

There’s also a kids indoor play area which is great or a playground across the street.

7. Take A Scenic Drive from Kingscliff

If you want to jump in your car and get out of Kingscliff on a day trip or just for a few hours, there are several awesome towns within easy reach.

We loved discovering Cabarita Beach, thanks to the tip from our friend, Woody.

It’s just a 10-minute drive south and if you’re into surfing this is where you want to be.

rocky headlands of Cabarita Beach, NSW, Australia
  • You can also drive 10 minutes north of Kingscliff to Fingal Head Lighthouse, which was popular with a few surfers when I stopped at the lighthouse for a look.
  • Drive through the Tweed Hinterland and explore towns such as Tumbulgum and Condong on the Tweed River. Make sure to stop off at the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre to see regional artwork.
  • That famous beach town of Byron Bay is just a 40-minute drive south. Byron has 5 amazing beaches to check out, the markets, and cool places to eat at. Our favourite thing to do in Byron is the coastal lighthouse walk.
  • Bangalow is just inland from Byron or a direct 40-minute drive from Kingscliff and another lovely little town to visit. The markets there are said to be one of the best in NSW.
  • Coolangatta is just a 15-minute drive north and then you have access to all that the Gold Coast has to offer. Don’t want to stay on the Goldy? Kingscliff could be a good option to base yourself away from the madness.
  • We haven’t been to Pottsville but it is supposed to be a lovely town and is only a 20-minute drive south on the way to Byron.
  • Murwillumbah is a 20-minute drive inland and whilst there you might want to climb Mount Warning, the highest peak in NSW.

8. Snorkel With Turtles at Cook Island

loggerhead turtle swimming in clear water

If you want to get out and explore the islands and ocean, then you’ll want to head over to Watersports Guru, who are the only company offering boat tours out of Kingscliff.

The most popular tour is to Cook Island, which features a scenic river cruise, followed by a stop at Cook Island where you can snorkel with turtles.

Located just off Fingal Headland, the tiny Cook Island is home to Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead Turtles, who have made this island their home.

If you visit between June and November, you may even see some humpback whales on their seasonal migration too!

9. Head To Tropical Fruit World, Duranbah

In season produce at Tropical Fruit World, Duranbah.
Credit: Destination NSW

Tropical Fruit World is a 200-acre commercial fruit plantation located in the Cudgen Nature Reserve. If you’re planning to visit the plantation, you can either enjoy the onsite cafe and shop, or you can book a guided tour of the plantation.

You can only see the plantation on a tour, which not only takes you around the fields, but you’ll also learn about how they grow tropical fruit, from planting to harvesting.

On a guided tour, you get to take a plantation safari, go on a wildlife-spotting cruise, and take a walk around the fauna park.

If you’re traveling with kids, they will love the tasting show and Aussie bush tucker experience.

After a day of exploring the plantation, kick back and enjoy the views of the Tweed Valley from the onsite cafe.

10. Take a Day Trip to Tweed Heads

People enjoying a Catch A Crab tour along the Tweed River, West Tweed Heads.
Crabbing along the Tweed River Credit: Destination NSW

Just a 15 minute drive up the Tweed Coast and you’ve reached the neighboring town of Tweed Heads.

Tweed Heads and Kingscliff are very similar in that they both attract beach goers and sit on the banks of the river. But Tweeds Head has some more cultural attractions that Kingscliff doesn’t.

One of the highlights of visiting Tweed Heads is to take a visit to the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre, where you can learn about the traditional owners of the region on bush walks through the nearby wetlands and rainforest.

You can learn how rum is made at the Husk Distillers, take a cruise along the Tweed River, go crab fishing, or simply laze on the beach.

11. Enjoy Springbrook National Park

Twin Falls in Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia
Twin Falls

Just a short drive away from Kingscliff is the beautiful rainforest in The Springbrook National Park. The national park covers a quarter of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest, which stretches inland from the Gold Coast down towards the New South Wales border.

This ancient rainforest is full of amazing nature walks and hikes, passing its lush waterfalls, springs and dense foliage. Some walks take you to spectacular view points of the Tweed Hinterland.

One of our favorite family-friendly walks in Springbrook is the Twin Falls Circuit walk.

Where to Stay in Kingscliff

If you’re not sure where to stay in Kingscliff, you’ll be pleased to know Kingscliff has many resorts and hotels, many of which have sea views. If you’re stuck for choice, here are some of our top suggestions.

Kingscliff Beach Hotel

front facade of Kingscliff Hotel NSW

Affectionately known as “The Kingy”, the Kingscliff Beach Hotel overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Kingscliff Beach.

This historic venue is a favourite destination for locals and visitors and has a fantastic restaurant. It’s also a top venue for live music in the beer garden.

Mantra on Salt Beach

family rooms at salt

The Mantra on Salt is a destination in itself.

The most beautiful sunrises can be seen here and right from your own balcony. This is the second time we have stayed here and we’ll definitely be back.

Sunrise at Kingscliff, NSW, Australia

I do think the Mantra on Salt is somewhere to come for at least a week, The resort itself and the destination makes it more of a relaxing break. And it’s within easy reach of all that Kingscliff and Northern NSW has to offer.

Salt village is almost like a resort village, built for holiday makers, although a wider local community is growing around it because its such a great place. It’s close to the main part of town but far enough away to give you a little remote feel.

The Mantra is right opposite Salt Beach, which can be a bit of a wild beach, but pretty nonetheless.

lifeguard surf board on beach

The property has a lagoon-style pool, tennis courts and a day spa. The Mantra on Salt offers 317 hotel and fully self-contained one and two bedroom rooms and suites each with a private balcony.

table on deck of room at Salt on mantra
swimming pool at mantra on salt

The buffet breakfast is really good at Mantra’s Surge Restaurant, especially after a few too many drinks the night before – a lot of grease to soak up the wine.

One of the other reasons why I will return to Kingscliff!

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Kingscliff, NSW

So there you have it, that’s all the best attractions in Kingscliff NSW for any visitor to enjoy, and as you can see, there’s so much to see and do.

Whether you’re visiting as a family or on a couple’s road trip, you’ll find there’s something for everyone in Kingscliff.

We hope this guide helped you plan your trip and helped you map out your itinerary.

Other North Coast NSW posts you may like:

Do you have any tips for things to do in Kingscliff? Let us know in the comments!

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