By Rosie Stevens
November 3, 2020 | 4 minute read
A lesser-known slice of quintessential Aussie heaven, the Barrington Coast spans some of NSW’s most beautiful rainforest and coast. Encompassing mountains, ocean and a whole lot in between, the region comprises 15 national parks, 63 state forests, nature reserves and conservation areas, plus a pristine triple lakes system and almost 200 kms of beautiful coastline. Basically, it’s got it all—making it the perfect destination for your next trip.
Here are some must-visit plot points on the beautiful Barrington Coast, starting South and heading North.
A tranquil seaside town, Hawks Nest is just North of Port Stephens and is the Gateway to the beautiful Myall Lakes and Barrington Coast region.
If beaches, lakes and walks are your thing, Hawks Nest is for you. It’s just 2 hours drive from Sydney—and brimming with spots to soak up the great outdoors. Bennett’s Beach and Jimmy’s Beach are ideal for swimming with kids as they’re sheltered from the ocean, while the waterways of the area are perfect for trying a water sport or two or some fishing.
The Yacaaba headland walking track boasts breathtaking views across to Port Stephens, or you can ferry over to Nelson Bay for a dolphin cruise or brush up on some Aboriginal history at the Mungo walking track.
Encompassing Blueys, Boomerang and Elizabeth Beaches plus the breathtaking Tiona, Coomba and Smiths Lake and Seal Rocks—Pacific Palms is absolutely bursting with beachside charm. The beautiful collection of beaches and lakes are surrounded by a palm-filled rainforest (hence the name!) The Booti Boot and Wallingat National Park are well worth a visit.
If you’re into walking and hiking, Pacific Palms is the getaway for you. The Booti Hill Lakeside walking track is a unique experience that runs along ocean and track, while the Sugar Creek trail and Cabbage Palm track also offer breathtaking views. Alongside the natural wonders of the area, there’s a strong arts culture, as one Sunday per month is dedicated to the Pacific Palms Arts Trail, where studios and galleries open their doors to visitors.
Forster Image credit - instagram.com/hubjack70
The perfect town to use as a base to explore the region, Forster is a great place to try your hand at some fishing or scuba diving, whale watching or dolphin spotting. Forster Main Beach is an iconic place to while away an afternoon, while nearby Seven Mile Beach is ideal for catching a wave or two with your surfboard.
The town boasts a bustling culture, with plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops, as well as a variety of accommodation options to suit every type of trip and traveller.
A gateway to the wild and rugged landscape of Barrington Tops, the picturesque village of Gloucester is the perfect place to stock up on supplies (or grab a cup of barista-made coffee!) before you head off into the stunning Barrington Tops National Park—part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia area and the largest subtropical rainforest in the world.
There are plenty of walks for every ability—each offering breathtaking views out over the rainforest. Our favourites are the Gloucester Tops 8 km loop, the Blue Gum Loop Trail - a 3.5 km riverside walk near Dungog, or if you’re feeling extra brave, the Careys Peak Walking Track - a 14 km high country track between Gloucester and Scone.
A historic town nestled at the centre of the Manning Valley, Taree offers plenty to do and see. The Manning Regional Art Gallery is a cultural hub that showcases the best of touring exhibitions and local artists, and there’s plenty in the town by way of cafes, pubs and restaurants. In fact, oysters are farmed in the river and the nearby Great Lakes, making them a must-try when you’re in the area.
While you’re in Taree, it’s worth checking out the nearby Ellenborough Falls—an iconic sight (and experience!) of the tallest single drop waterfall in New South Wales and amongst the tallest in the southern hemisphere.
If you want to truly escape the city and immerse yourself in tranquil Aussie nature by day and campgrounds by night, look no further than Crowdy Bay National Park.
The park is renowned for its wild coastline, soaring cliffs, beautiful beaches and forests as well as gorgeous rock pools and rock formations. There is ample opportunity throughout Crowdy Bay for fishing, surfing and other water activities, as well as being a brilliant birdwatching hotspot. Diamond Head is the park’s biggest drawcard; boasting jaw-dropping views, rugged beaches and plenty of wildlife.
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