The Far North Coast is the most biologically diverse region in NSW, with stunning beaches, World Heritage areas, unique villages and dynamic rural hinterlands. The region’s natural wealth is also the base of resource industries, growing exports and tourism, which contribute significantly to the State economy.
The Far North Coast heads north to the New South Wales and Queensland border from Grafton. Following the Clarence River, the road from Grafton passes by several small fishing towns at the mouth of the river, including the pretty fishing town of Yamba. The next river is the Richmond River, with the popular sailing and fishing town of Ballina.
Between Ballina and Byron Bay you can either continue along the Pacific Highway, or drive turn off along the scenic coastal route. You will pass several small coastal area, including the coastal town of Lennox Head.
Byron Bay, is a rather unique and colourful town, with pretty beaches and great surf. Continuing along the coast you will come across the fishing town of Brunswick Heads, it is a pleasant place to stop en route. It also has a market behind the Ampol service station on the 1st Saturday of the month.
If you are looking for an alternative drive to the Pacific Highway then turn off towards Wooyung, a small coastal town. You can travel along a scenic coastal road all the way to Tweed Heads and the Queensland border. This small section is also known as the Tweed Coast and has several coastal resorts which aren’t currently over developed. Cabarita Beach is worth visiting if you enjoy surfing as there is a good surf beach as well as some decent accommodation. You can also catch a bus right upto Tweed Heads from here.
The last coastal town you will reach in New South Wales is Tweed Heads. It also marks the southern part of the Gold Coast as the road through Tweed Heads leads directly into Coolangatta (it’s ‘Twin Town’) in Queensland.
There are also some beautiful places to visit further inland. The area from Lismore upto the Queensland border is known as Rainbow Country, with its colourful and alternative feel to the various towns. This area is made up of spectacular rainforest, beautiful hills and old volcanic mountains. Markets are also popular with various towns holding then during the weekend.
Nimbin is further north of Lismore, just south of Nightcap National Park. If you head north east of Lismore you will reach Bangalow. Bangalow is wonderful place to visit with its small country village feel, and its numerous craft and antique stores. The market in Bangalow is at the Showground on every 4th Sunday. Mullumbimby also has a market at the museum every 3rd Saturday. Although it is more well known for its ‘Mullumbimby Madness’ caused by a certain mind enhancing drug.
From here you can join the Pacific Highway where you will pass through Murwillumbah, the main town in the Tweed Valley and also a good area for banana and sugar growing. There is also an art gallery, museum and rainforest centre, as well as numerous communes in the area. Just south from here is the beautiful Mt. Warning and the Mt. Warning National Park.