Northern Rivers, tropical NSW

by Tracy Parker

(Reprinted with permission from Hillcrest Bed & Breakfast website.)

Tweed Valley, Northern NSW Australia Nestled right up against the NSW/Queensland border at Tweed Heads in the North and stretching down the coast and hinterland to just before Byron Bay in the South, the Tweed Shire is not only famous for its unsurpassed beauty, but for its geographical and cultural diversity and terrific climate – with a summer mean temperature range of 18 to 30 Celsius (64 to 86F), and winter being a marvellous experience with mean temperatures ranging from 7 to 22 C (45 to 72F), which means log fires at night and t-shirts and shorts during the day.

Clarrie Hall DamAs well as pristine beaches (with the added  advantage of no stinging jellyfish in summer like the Queensland beaches), the area boasts the world’s second largest extinct volcano.  With rivers and creeks meandering through lush green valleys and towering rainforests, the Tweed Shire is not only spectacularly beautiful, but home to 3 of Australia’s World Heritage listed National Parks, with another 2 just over the border in Queensland.

Tweed Heads shares a main high street with Coolangatta, the southernmost tip of the famous Queensland Gold Coast. Due to their close proximity, Tweed Heads and Coolangatta are often referred to as the Twin Towns and are considered a major regional centre, with Coolangatta Airport a hub for domestic carriers.

Located at the mouth of the Tweed River, Tweed/Coolangatta is probably most famous for it’s surf beaches. All manner of ocean and estuary activities are easily accessible from here. You can rent a small boat to go fishing in the Tweed estuary and Cobaki Lakes, take an offshore deep sea fishing charter, learn to scuba dive or relax with a fully catered river cruise.

The Tweed coast is a 35 km-long chain of pristine beaches with grassy headlands and quiet villages stretching from the mouth of the Tweed River at Fingal, to Wooyung in the south, with the main hub of the area being Murwillumbah - a 30 minute drive south from Tweed Heads.

At Fingal you can see the original Point Danger Lighthouse, Giant's Causeway and a long stretch of beach that’s rarely crowded - even in the middle of summer. Next stop is the quiet village of Chinderah, well known for water sports. Further south we arrive at Kingscliff, famous for its myriad beachfront cafés and restaurants; with South Kingscliff boasting a patrolled beach in summer, good boat ramps, offshore reefs, and an estuary providing sheltered swimming and fishing.

Cabarita Beach has one of the best surf beaches in the area, sheltered by Norries Headland. Cudgen has its lake, a sanctuary for flora and fauna as well as all forms of aquatic sports. Hastings Point has picnic and barbecue areas, a beach and Cudgera Creek. Pottsville is a long established holiday spot boasting the Bicentennial Leisure Gardens, several walking tracks, picnic areas and a multitude of wildlife. The southernmost beach is Wooyung, where believe it or not, you can enjoy a beach camel ride.

Slightly inland of the coastal strip, as you travel down the Pacific Highway from the Twin Towns, you can’t help but notice Mt Warning towering over the canefields that line the highway. Mt Warning, where the dawn sun first touches mainland Australia, is the last remnant of the extinct volcano’s central core. 

Named Wollumbin, meaning "Cloud Catcher" by the Bundjalung people who were the inhabitants of the area before European settlement, it stands like a huge reminder that you’re nearing the hub of the Tweed Shire - Murwillumbah.

View over the Tweed ValleyJust off the Highway, nestled in a small park by the Tweed River is the Murwillumbah Rainforest and Information Centre. It’s here you learn that Murwillumbah means "place of many possums", that the volcano is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and the second largest in the world, find a fascinating display of how the erupting volcano formed the area’s unique topography, as well as stock up on brochures and pamphlets on things to do and see during your stay.

A short drive across the bridge and you’re in the centre of Murwillumbah, a picturesque town that spreads along the western bank of the Tweed River and up into the hills of the McPherson Ranges. Surrounded, as it is, by the rim of the volcano and bordering the Tweed River, almost every street has magnificent mountain, river and valley views.

Murwillumbah is a place where the lifestyle is relaxed and informal, the people friendly and welcoming and a perfect place to stop for lunch. You can choose from one of the many al fresco cafés and restaurants in town, or maybe you’d prefer to dine at one of the several pubs and clubs. Whichever you choose, your meal is bound to include fresh, local produce as well as a friendly chat on the best places to visit during your stay.

Time to find somewhere to base yourself whilst enjoying the many features of the area. There are several motels in Murwillumbah itself, but why not immerse yourself in the area by choosing one of the bed and breakfasts just outside of town?

Hillcrest award winning accommodation Tweed Only 12 minutes from the centre of Murwillumbah you'll find the multi Tourism Award-winning Hillcrest Bed and Breakfast.

Perched atop a hill on 5 landscaped acres, surrounded by a 200 acre cattle farm, and with spectacular views from Mt. Warning in one direction and the stunning Queensland Border Ranges in the other; Hillcrest is an oasis of peace, privacy and jolly good food. 

You can relax by the solar heated 12 metre salt-water swimming pool, sip on a cool drink and be sight-seeing all at the same time! To take a closer look at Hillcrest go to

Don't forget to leave plenty of time to visit some of the 5 World Heritage Listed National Parks in the area.  To see the very best from the comfort of a specialised, air-conditioned vehicle visit the Never Never Safaris website.

Never Never Safaris run one day, small group 4WD Adventure Tours which incorporate all the very best the area has to offer; including a traditional "Aussie" barbeque lunch.

Numinbah Valley Adventure Trail Rides Horse riding more your thing? Then take a 20 minute drive to Numinbah Trail Rides to meet your horse for a 3 hour tour of 2,500 acres of private farm with views only accessible on horse-back.

Catering for a riders of all abilities, Numbinbah Adventure Trails also offer horse riding lessons, moonlit rides and horse camps.

If miniature horses are more to your liking, take a trip to Palmdale Stud and Miniature Animal Farm.

How about a 40 minute flight across the ranges and around the tip of Mt Warning in a replica Super Waco bi-plane? or Kayaking on the Clarrie Hall Dam?

Whatever your taste runs to, you're bound to find what you're looking for somewhere in the beautiful Tweed Shire.

Brindle Creek in Border Ranges National Park As well as pristine rainforests, impressive mountains and beautiful countryside, the Tweed area is a haven for local craftspeople and you’ll enjoy discovering the many galleries and craftshops which display their wares. Later on, you can enjoy a round of golf, laze on pristine beaches, dine at a myriad of international restaurants, enjoy one-day river and rainforest cruises, visit the art gallery in Murwillumbah which hosts the richest portrait prize in Australia (the Doug Moran prize), browse the various regular local markets or take a trip to the Gold Coast shopping malls to relieve yourself of some of that hard-earned cash!

Sunset over Murwillumbah Northern NSW Australia Whatever you choose to do, you’re bound to agree that the Tweed is the undiscovered jewel in the crown of the beautiful Northern Rivers area, and not to be missed on your trip "Downunder".

Getting There

Although the Tweed Valley is in NSW and Sydney is that state's capital city, the Tweed is more than ten hours drive North, so international travellers disembarking at Sydney would be better advised to take a connecting flight Coolangatta/Goldcoast airport which is literally 5 minutes over the border to Tweed Heads; or fly directly to Brisbane International airport (approx 1½ hour drive). 

Hire cars are readily available from both airports. Alternatively, coach and train connections go from both Brisbane and Sydney straight through to Murwillumbah, where hire cars and taxis are readily available.  MAPS

Tweed Shire Festivals

Mid December
to Mid January

Doug Moran Portrait Prize Exhibition


Jet Sprint Boat Races


Tweed Home and Lifestyle Expo


Kingscliff Food and Jazz Festival


Mooball Fish 'n Nana Festival


Wintersun Rock and Roll Nostalgia Festival


Tweed Valley Cultural & Country Harvest Festival


Tyalgum Diggers Rodeo


Tweed Valley Banana Festival and Harvest Week


Tyalgum Classical Music Festival


Coolangatta Food & Wine Festival


Rainforest Week


"Speed on Tweed" Classic Car Rally


Kingscliff Main Street Festival


Tumbulgum Classic Boats Festival


Tweed River Agricultural Show


Tumbulgum Water Ski Carnival


Northern Boat Harbour Dragon Boat Races


Caldera First Light Festival

Click on the links below to visit more specific information on the region

| Border Ranges | Coastal Region | Chillingham | Murwillumbah | Mt Warning |