Tropical NSW


Tropical NSW includes the towns of Ballina, Byron Bay, Grafton, Minnie Water, Tweed Heads, Yamba.  The Far North Coast is a melting pot of cultures and the residents profound enthusiasm means that for visitors there’s unlimited choices of entertainment. From Tweed’s Banana Festival, Fishing Festivals in Brunswick Heads, Evans Head, Iluka, and Yamba, to Casino’s annual 12 day celebration of the cattle industry and much more. There’s markets to be found every weekend at varying locations where craftsmen and vendors of all ilks offer an amazing array of wares and services.


Situated at the mouth of the Richmond River with ideal year round temperatures, Ballina has golden beaches and picturesque farmlands.
Accommodation options range from camping to pampering. Whether you want a view over our golden sands or our fabulously lush hinterland, or maybe no view at all…it’s your choice!

The Naval Museum features restored Las Balsas Expedition rafts that sailed from South America in 1973. You may prefer to cruise the Richmond River, dine at Shellys Beach or join an organised tour of Thursday Plantation and learn about Tea Tree Oil.

Just north of Ballina is Lennox Head. Lennox is popular with surfers and windsurfers.

From August to December you may be fortunate enough to see migrating whales from Pat Morton Lookout.
Major Events
Ballina District Orchid Show – May
Far North Coast District Orchid Council Gala Orchid Show – May
9th Annual Great Duck Race – May
Ballina & District Coin & Stamp Fair – June
Native Orchid Club Showing – Aug
Scottish Highland Deb Ball – Sep
Annual Southern Cross Arts & Crafts Festival – Sep
Ballina Cup Raceday – Sep
Ballina District Orchid Club Inc Spring Show – Sep
Ballina Aquatic Carnival – Sep
Annual Thursday Plantation East Coast Sculpture Show
Ballina Bounty Festival – Nov
Official Media Christmas Light-up Launch – Nov
Thursday Plantation Homecoming Ball – Nov
Christmas Light-up Competition Prizegiving and Celebrations – Dec

Byron Bay
Sleepy little Byron Bay came alive when it was thrust into the limelight after acquiring famous residents – Crocodile Dundee Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski. Since then, real estate prices have skyrocketed and there’s been much development which will continue despite the Hogan’s departure.

Accommodation options range from camping to pampering. Whether you want a view over our golden sands or our fabulously lush hinterland, or maybe no view at all…it’s your choice!

Surfers from near and far gravitate to Wategos Beach. Its northerly aspect makes it one of the best beaches for surfboard riding on the east coast.

Bushwalking, horseriding, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, sky diving are available for the energetic. There’s a market on the first Sunday of each month.

At Easter the East Coast Blues Festival is the main attraction although each weekend the town is filled with revellers.

Cape Byron is Australia’s most easterly point and the country’s most powerful lighthouse is here. The views are magnificent especially during whale watching season.

Major Events

Community Markets – 1st Sunday each month
Byron Bay Sailing Regatta – Feb
Blues and Roots Festival – Easter
Byron Bay Triathlon – May
Ocean Swim Classic – May
July – Whale watch season commences
Byron Bay Writers Festival – early Aug
Taste of Byron Food Festival – Sept
Byron Bay Comedy Festival – Sept
Buzz – Byron Bay Film Festival – Oct
Byron’s Chamber & Lions Xmas Carols – Dec
Byron Bay New Year’s Eve Street Celebrations – Dec

The Lower Clarence is a year round holiday destination with many wonderful attractions. The magnificent river is one of the mightiest waterways in Australia and a great fishing spot.

The area houses many towns. Grafton with its wonderful old buildings is the main centre. Maclean is the scottish town and is the home base for the river based prawn trawling fleet. The coastal towns of Brooms Head, Angourie, Yamba and Iluka provide year round beach activities.


Grafton is situated 650 kilometres north of Sydney and 320 kilometres south of Brisbane. Excellent racetrack facilities ensures the city the title of Country Racing Capital of New South Wales. The July Racing Carnival is the highlight of the year round sport.

The Grafton district was discovered by the escaped convict Richard Craig in 1831. For a pardon and 100 pounds he brought a party of cedar getters on the cutter “Prince George” to log the red gold.

The city, proclaimed in 1885, is famous for its graceful historic buildings on the banks of the mighty Clarence River and avenues of Jacarandas. The annual Spring Jacaranda Festival is Australia’s longest running floral festival.

Other festivals include the Easter Jazz & Blues Festival, Eisteddfod and Artfest.

The Grafton Regional Art Gallery, located in a restored heritage home, houses the finest displays. The city’s early history is well documented at Schaeffer House Museum.

Industry is well represented – sawmills, timber treatment works, brickworks and an agricultural research station.

The dominant feature of the region is one of the great rivers of Australia, the Clarence which surges into the Pacific Ocean at nearby Iluka and Yamba.

The coastal villages of Minnie Water and Wooli are located on a peninsula with the Wooli River on one side, and the Solitary Islands Marine Reserve on the other. It’s surrounded on land by the Yuraygir National park and hidden amongst its natural surrounds.

The Wooli River, renowned for its purity and clarity, flows through Yuraygir. Wooli Oyster Supply has a full range of fresh seafood including the locally grown Sydney Rock Oyster.

Off the coast warm tropical currents from the north merge with the colder southern currents, forming the Solitary Islands Marine Reserve where an amazing diversity of marine life is studied by researchers, conservationists and divers.

Families head for the main beach while fishermen and surfers seek their perfect spot in the kilometres of secluded sand and headlands of the National Park.

Wooli has heaps of water sport – deep sea fishing, scuba diving, fishing, whale and dolphin watching, social and river cruises – however it’s most unusual sporting event is held on land each June Long Weekend – THE ANNUAL GOANNA PULLING CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Just a short drive from Wooli, and surrounded completely by Yuraygir National Park, Minnie Water has excellent walking tracks and camping, secluded beaches and abundant wildlife attract visitors year after year.


The village of Ulmarra is a fine example of a 19th century river port. The shops are brimming with antiques, collectables, old linen and lace, and bric-a-brac of a bygone age.

The colonial style and iron lace-work of the Commercial Hotel attracts considerable interest as it nestles on the banks of the Clarence River.

From the wharf you can imagine the steamers on their way south, laden with precious cargo. The vehicular ferry from Ulmarra to Southgate is another blast from the past – not many of these still operating!

A visit to Ulmarra will be long remembered as a highlight of your stay in the Clarence Valley.

679 kilometres north of Sydney, Yamba is renowned for it’s fishing and prawning. Ideally situated at the mouth of the Clarence River, for the water sports enthusiast it is a paradise.

On the other side of the river mouth is the smaller township of Iluka which can be reached by passenger ferry or by road via Woombah.

The area offers great fishing, surfing and diving. The best surfing beaches are Yamba, Turner’s, Convent, Pippi and Whiting. Local attractions include the Story House, Yamba Lighthouse, Yuragir National Park and Bunjalung National Park. A short drive from Yamba is the village of Angourie. Angourie lies at the northern end of Yuragir National park, which stretches 60 km south along the coast to Red Rock. Yuragir National park contains pristine beaches, bays and rocky headlands. Bushwalking, fishing and picnics are a must.

Angourie offers lots of accommodation in a tranquil seaside setting. There’s a mixture of old family beach houses and new holiday villas and homes. It’s the home of world famous surfer, Nat Young and some of Australia’s best board riding spots. In the middle of the village you’ll find the Beachwood Cafe where it’s Turkish owner serves wonderful and unique food: Turkish influenced, Mediterranean-Asian cuisine. The cafe makes its own desserts, bread, muesli and preserves. Local attractions include Spooky Beach, and the Blue pool: a natural freshwater pool alongside the ocean surf beach. Angourie is THE place if you truly want to unwind and relax. In fact it’s too good to tell anyone about!


695 Kilometres north of Sydney, the village of Iluka, positioned away from the busy Pacific Highway, is nestled at the mouth of the Clarence River on the Pacific Coastline. The Clarence River offers many attractions including boat hire facilities for fishing trips, and houseboat hire. At the edge of town you’ll find the Iluka World Heritage Rainforest which contains the largest remnant of littoral rainforest in NSW. The rainforest obtains its moisture from the nearby ocean, filtered by the sand, and it supports rich vegetation and abundant bird and animal life. It has an excellent walking track with notable features sign posted.

The local deep sea trawling fleet operates from Iluka wharf at dawn each day so there’s always lots of fresh seafood available. The wharf is an ideal fishing spot for families. Other spots can be found at the river, estuary, rock and beach. Iluka Beach, Shark Bay, Woody Head, Frazers Reef, Iluka Bluff and Back Beach are good places to walk, swim, boogie board or relaxing. The camping facilities at Woody Head are very good.

Bundjalung National Park, named after the aboriginal tribe which occupied this area, stretches north to Evans Head. Wildlife abounds, so keep an eye out for koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and emus.

The Iluka-Yamba Ferry operates several times a day giving visitors a glimpse at some of the 100 islands nestled in the mighty Clarence River.

Tweed Heads

At the top of NSW Tweed Heads and its twin town Coolangatta across the border in Queensland have been popular with holidaymakers for years.

Accommodation options range from camping to pampering, whether you want a view or not…it’s your choice!

The world’s first laser beam lighthouse is atop Point Danger – straddling the two states. The cliff-edge walk is a perfect vantage point to see dolphins at play.

Cruise the river, hire a houseboat, take a fishing or diving charter, view an aboriginal bora ring or spend the day at Melaleuca Station.

Major Events
Coolangatta Markets – 2nd Sunday each month
Tweed Heads Markets – 1st, 2nd, 4th Sunday each month
Police Citizens Youth Markets – Florence Street – 5th Sunday each month
Wintersun Festival – first 2 weeks of June
Tweed Valley Banana Festival and Harvest Week – start of spring
Rainforest Week – Oct
Tweed Games – Oct
TropiCarnival – Oct
Indy Grand Prix – Gold Coast – late Oct
Tweed River Agricultural Show – first weekend in Nov
Christmas on the Tweed – first 2 weeks of Dec


On the banks of the Tweed River, Murwillumbah is just 31 kilometres from the Gold Coast. Accommodation options range from hotels, motels and camping.

The region is known best for cattle raising, sugarcane, tropical fruits, tea and coffee. Hire a houseboat, visit at Sugar Mill, find out about tea or visit the Hare Krishna Community.

Take a day trip out to Mullumbimby. Visit on market day (3rd Saturday of each month), skydive at Tyagarah, or learn about crystals at the Crystal Castle.

Major Events

Murwillumbah Showground Markets – 4th Sunday every month
Knox Park Markets – 2nd Sunday every month
Uki Buttery Bazaar – 3rd Sunday every month
Tyalgum Diggers Family Day – late July
Tweed Valley Banana Festival and Harvest Week – late August- early September
Tyalgum Music Festival – Classical Music- first week of September
Agricultural Show – first weekend in November