There were so many areas severely affected by the recent droughts and bushfires, with wildlife perishing and people losing their homes. So now is the perfect time to embark on a regional getaway and support the disaster-affected areas and communities.
Here are ten places beautiful local destinations for you to consider courtesy of Destination NSW. Let us know below if you’d like to share areas that people should visit to help our friends in the bush.
#1 Best for surfers: The Pass, Byron Bay
Arguably the best spot in Byron Bay is The Pass. This renowned stretch of water, set between Wategos and Clarkes Beaches, is one of the most popular surf destinations in all of Australia. It is ideal for longboarding and when the swell is up, and possible to catch a half-kilometre-long ride. If you’re new to surfing, get a lesson with Lets Go Surfing Byron Bay.
#2 Best for coastal walks: Cabarita Beach
The stunning 11-kilometre coastal walk up to Cabarita Beach is a scenic stretch of the Tweed Coast. Start at Kingscliff Beach then stroll south for around 2.5 hours, enjoying the sound of waves crashing and wild birds calling as you go. Once you arrive at Norries Head, at the northern end of Cabarita Beach, relax on golden-white sand fringed by tropical greenery. And, don’t forget Lennox Beach further south which also has magnificent beach walks.
#3 Best for a tropical experience: Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie
The white sandy shores of Shelly Beach in Port Macquarie are surrounded by rainforest, making this the perfect place to see NSW’s tropical side. Splash in the natural tidal lagoon keeping an eye out for the bush turkeys and goannas that are regularly spotted here. Shady spots, picnic tables and barbecue facilities allow you to set up for the day. A tour with Unkya LALC Cultural Eco Tours is a fantastic way to explore the surrounding bush and to learn about the unique Gumbaynggirr culture.
#4 Best for incredible scenery: Red Rocks Beach
A headland made up of 300 million-year-old jasper — a form of red quartz — is what gave Red Rocks Beach near Coffs Harbour its name. Enjoy the rock pools and marvel at the brightly-coloured rock formations.
#5 Best for a fun atmosphere: Main Beach, Byron Bay
With 10 beaches in Byron Bay to choose from it’s hard to pick a favourite but for atmosphere, head to Main Beach. Byron’s busiest strip of sand ticks plenty of boxes: it’s set conveniently by the town centre, has friendly waves suited to swimming and you can make use of facilities like playgrounds and picnic tables. Meet local dolphins on a kayak tour, which run seven days a week.
#6 Best for families: One Mile Beach, Forster
One Mile Beach, set halfway between Newcastle and Port Macquarie, has long been a popular holiday destination for families. The calm, lifeguard-patrolled waters make it a great place to take the kids for a splash, and little ones will love the playground in the park that borders the beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a walk up to Bennett’s Head, at the northern end of the shore, where a lookout offers 360-degree views of the area. You can also make use of the park’s barbeque and picnic facilities.
#7 Best for getting off the beaten track: Seal Rocks
Just 150 people call Seal Rocks home. This tiny fishing town, set 90 minutes north of Newcastle, is found by turning down a dirt road off Lakes Way. Make the effort and you’ll be rewarded by a dive spot, near-empty stretches of sand and waves big enough to surf. True to its name, during summer you can also see Australian Fur Seals lying on the rocks offshore.
#8 Best for beginner surfers: Crescent Head
Crescent Head is known as the home of annual longboarding competition the Malibu Classic, but you don’t have to be a pro to hit the water here. This mid-North Coast beach, one of Australia’s 21 declared National Surfing Reserves, has breaks that draw surfers at all skill levels. The calm waters in the bay here are great for beginners and if you want a hand catching your first wave, there’s plenty of surf schools in the region.
#9 Best for dogs: Seven Mile Beach, Lennox Head
Four-legged friends are welcome to run free at Seven Mile Beach in Lennox Head, which has retained its sleepy atmosphere despite being close to the tourist magnet of Byron Bay. The dog-friendly section of the beach runs north from Lake Ainsworth and is clearly signposted, so you’ll know when your pooch needs to go back on the leash.
#10 Best for a BBQ: Wategos Beach, Byron Bay
If you’re looking to make a day of it, Wategos Beach in Byron Bay is a great place to settle in. BBQ facilities and picnic tables make it suited to a relaxed lunch, while the headland protects the waters and creates calmer swimming conditions. Get lucky and you could even spot one of the bottlenose dolphins that like to frolic in the waves here.