The Tweed Coast
The Tweed is the northern most part of the NSW Coastline, sitting just below Queensland's Gold Coast. It's a place of sleepy beauty, with a valley that spreads out lushly under an ancient volcano. Being the caldera of Mt Warning, the largest extinct shield volcano in the southern hemisphere, the Tweed is the most bio-diverse region in Australia. From spectacular rainforest to untouched coast, the Tweed is less than an hour and a half's drive from the bustling hub of cosmopolitan Brisbane... yet feels a million miles away.
Mt Warning dominates the skyline here, jutting out of the hinterland at 1110 metres above sea level. Captain James Cook gave the mountain its name in 1770, as a 'warning' to passing ships of the treacherous reefs lying just offshore. The site is sacred to the aboriginal Bundjalung people and is known as "Wollumbin", which means 'cloud catcher'. This historic name makes perfect sense as you gaze at the mount on any given day, with its summit often covered by a hazy fluff of cloud.
The inspiring and beautiful surrounds have enticed many creative people to live here, and the historical villages of the hinterland are charming, with arts trails, quirky cafes and peaceful eco retreats dotted around. The Tweed Way drive is a must do to ensure you capture all that is wonderful and unique about this area. It meanders past beachy villages and beautiful coastline, lovely resorts and there are many fantastic restaurants that provide perfect pit stops along the way.
In recent times the largely untouched coastline has been developed, with some fantastic modern beach resorts springing up in the area. Kingscliff, Casuarina and Cabarita Beach all have some great accommodation options. Kingscliff is a classic aussie beach town, laid back with a beachfront caravan park and bowls club. Its main street is dotted with cafes, restaurants and interesting stores. At its southern end is the luxurious Salt Village, home to some gorgeous resorts, a huge day spa retreat and a small beachside strip of classy restaurants and boutiques.
The surfing is undoubtedly a huge draw card here, with Casuarina Beach being the chosen home for Australia's High Performance Surfing Institute, training ground for the surf champs of the future. The area also has some top diving and snorkelling spots, notably at the Cook Island Aquatic Reserve.
Cycling is a popular past time for visitors here, with a huge landscaped cycle way stretching for 10 kilometres along the coast, from Pottsville, all the way north to Fingal Head. The route takes in surf and river views, lighthouses, nature reserves and has showers scattered along the way in parts (should you jump off your bike for an ocean swim enroute). Around Casuarina there are even some funky sculptures dotted alongside the path. Bike hire is available at many of the coastal villages along the route.
The opportunities for chilling out in the Tweed are endless. You can make like the millionaires and hire an architecturally designed beach house and relax by the pool to the sounds of the waves beyond. Your most energetic activity might be a visit to a local spa for a massage or a wander to the resort strip at Salt Beach for dinner. But if you want to you can get out there and go fishing, surfing, whale watching kayaking, or stand up paddle boarding.
House boat hire is one accommodation choice here, so you could spend your holiday cruising the tranquility of the Tweed River, winding your way inland.
Just north of the Tweed lies the Gold Coast, and just south is Byron Bay. So you can go and get amongst the action if you really want to. However, most come to the Tweed to just get away from it all.