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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.
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. 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 several years ago, and is now one of those locals who loves Kingy! It does seem very livable.
Things to do in Kingscliff
Cudgen Creek just overshadows the beach as the local’s favourite water playground.
The water is crystal clear and perfect for stand-up paddle boarding and swimming for the kids. There’s also a great new playground next to the creek for when, or if, the kids get sick of swimming.
Walk from Salt Beach to Kingscliff
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.
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.
Surf and play at Kingscliff Beach
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.
Places to Eat in Kingscliff
Kingscliff Bowling Club
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!
Kingscliff (Cudgen) Surf Club
More awesome views here from the balcony at the Surf Club. 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.
Kingscliff Beach Hotel
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. This hotel was, unfortunately, undergoing renovations when were visited last. It will be the place to visit once it’s finished.
For a funky vibe, retro decor and chic cocktails with views, head upstairs from the Hotel to Babalou. It adds a touch of class and trendy sophistication to the strip. Be sure to spend some time in the record room spinning some tunes.
House of Zebra
The House of Zebra is the store of retro, vintage funk. You have to stop by the house even if it’s only for a looksee. You’ll be greeted at the door by the very friendly owner who will give you the low down on what can be found in each room.
It’s a treasure chest of surprises: one room has stuff for the kids, one room for ladies fashion, another for the men, and then upstairs is an entire floor dedicated to the vintage.
To finish off your explorations, you have to enjoy a cup of coffee from the very ancient coffee 1930’s coffee machine. They’re very proud of it at the House of Zebra. I couldn’t quite figure out how it worked, but it was great to look at and lovely to drink.
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.
Drives 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.
- You can also drive 10 minutes north of Kingscliff to Fingal Head, which was popular with a few surfers when I stopped at the lighthouse for a look.
- 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.
Stay at the Mantra on Salt Beach
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.
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.
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.
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!
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, or 1 hour and 20 mins south of Brisbane.
Plan Your Trip to Kingscliff, NSW
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Do you have any tips for things to do in Kingscliff?