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Northern Rivers - Alternative Australia

White sandy beaches, fertile valleys, an eroded volcano, the country's easternmost point and the largest banana on earth: the Northern Rivers region in the north of New South Wales is known for its natural beauty, its alternative atmosphere and its extraordinary sights.

Landscape in the north of New South Wales

Geography - Between Sydney and Brisbane

Northern Rivers is a tourist region in the north of New South Wales. It is about 600 kilometres north of Sydney and almost 100 kilometres south of Brisbane. The region borders on the Pacific Ocean and the Great Dividing Range in the east and west. Other parts of the region's geography are the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed rivers as well as the impressive peak of Mount Warning (1,156 m). There is mild, subtropical climate with warm summers and mild winters in Northern Rivers.

Mountainous landscape in New South Wales

Nature - A volcanic vent and the easternmost point on the Australian mainland

The bright green landscape in Northern Rivers is mostly known for its fertile valleys, idyllic bays, glistening lakes as well as long, white sandy beaches. You find numerous nature reserves and national parks in the region, which protect the wonderful untouched nature with its great river system, the fertile soils and the subtropical rainforests. One famous nature reserve, which is part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia, is the Wollumbin National Park with the Tweed Volcano (a shield volcano) and its central volcanic vent Mount Warning. The volcano, which has eroded, is one of the greatest on earth and the largest eroded volcano in the southern hemisphere. Another natural attraction is Cape Byron in the Cape Byron State Conservation Park and near the Arabwal National Park, which is the easternmost point on the Australian mainland.

Bathing beach in Northern Rivers

Culture - The Cape Byron Lighthouse and the largest banana on earth

Northern Rivers fascinates with its rural, friendly and alternative atmosphere. Charming small towns like Billina, Tweed Heads, Lismore and Grafton offer an impressive cultural scene with historical museums, small galleries, appealing art shops, souvenir shops, interesting exhibitions and various festivals. One of the region's main sights is the Cape Byron Lighthouse in the coastal town of Byron Bay at the country's easternmost point. The lighthouse, which is still active, was built in 1899 and is the lighthouse with the highest light intensity in Australia. A tourist attraction of a different kind is the Big Banana, the world's biggest banana, in the city of Coffs Harbour. Together with the adjacent amusement park, it was one of Australia's first "big things".

Lighthouse in New South Wales

Experience - Individual small town charm

The local cities and towns offer pubs, cosy cafes and stylish restaurants. The latter all serve fish and seafood as well as dishes which contain nuts or bananas. That is not very surprising because you do not only see white sandy beaches in the region but also nut tree and fruit plantations. You can buy their produce on the regional markets. Weekly markets like the Byron Bay Market or the Ballina Market offer art objects, clothes, antiquities, souvenirs and much more. In addition, you find beautiful boutiques and individual shops. The clubs, bars, theatres and cinemas in the bigger cities offer entertainment.

Tweed River

Activities - A popular surfing destination

Northern Rivers is a dream come true for all surfers. Byron Bay is the ideal location for going surfing and doing other water sports (e.g. swimming, sailing, canoeing, diving, fishing). The region's rivers and lakes also offer great conditions for leisure activities in the water. The hinterland and its impressive national parks are particularly popular with climbers, hikers and cyclists.

Surfers at Byron Bay


Although the region can be travelled at any time of the year, many holidaymakers prefer the summer months (December to March). Since Australia's east coast is relatively well developed, arriving is easy. You either arrive at the international airports in Sydney and Brisbane or at the national airports in Ballina and Lismore.

Surfers and lovers of nature will definitely enjoy holidays in the tourist region of Northern Rivers. Wonderful long, white sandy beaches and magnificent World Natural Heritage sites promise travellers both impressive natural adventures and interesting leisure and sporting activities.

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