The Northern Rivers is a region in northern New South Wales, Australia. With some of the world’s best beaches and lively alternative-Australian culture, there are so many things to experience in the Northern Rivers — which is why we’ll be covering some of the region’s top highlights.
From Mount Warning to Minyon Falls, the region holds some of the best natural experiences there are. As a bonus, we’ve included fun facts for each highlight most people don’t know.
After reading this article, you’ll be jumping to hop on the next flight (car ride, boat, scooter or whatever form of transport you require) to the Northern Rivers!
Photo by Jade Stephens on Unsplash.
5 Top Things to Do in Northern Rivers
1. Visit Byron Bay.
Byron Bay is a famous beach town located in northern New South Wales, Australia. It tends to be known best for its relaxed culture, good waves, hippies, oh and did we forget to mention Chris Hemsworth?
Byron is home to everything beautiful. You can hike (or drive) up to the Cape Byron lighthouse for incredible views of Byron and the sea, where you can also spot whales, dolphins, turtles and other animals from high up! Walk down the nearby path to the beach and stop by the Most Easterly Point of the Australian Mainland (also a great place to spot marine life).
Besides walking through the Byron Bay township Byron Bay, some other great experiences in Byron Include; the Stone & Wood Brewery, Wategos Beach and Mullumbimby.
Fun fact: Byron Bay was named by James Cook after Commodore John Byron in 1770, founded as a timber port almost a century later.
2. Admire the small town of Mullumbimby.
Mullumbimby is a small town only 15 minutes away from Byron Bay. Close to nature, filled with small alternative shops and restaurants, and home to hippies, Mullumbimby is a must-see location!
A must-see in Mullumbimby is the Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens. Stop here to see an impressive collection of crystals (including the world’s two tallest geodes (5.5 metres) and a 120 million year-old crystal cave), sprawled out across beautiful gardens.
From the weekly Mullumbimby Farmers Market to the annual Mullum Music Festival, this is a lively small town with great community spirit (make sure to wear something funky to the Mullum Music festival)!
Fun Fact: Iggy Azalea is from Mullumbimby.
3. Climb Mount Warning.
Mount Warning is one of Australia’s most famous mountains, climbed by thousands each year. Named by James Cook to warn other boats of the nearby reefs, Mt. Warning is easy to spot with its claw-like hook at its peak.
Just under 9km, the walk up Mt. Warning up takes 5 hours on average because of its steep and demanding pathway, which coils its way up the mountain. When you’re close to the peak, you’ll be faced with a 100 metre rock climb to the top, which is done with the help of embedded chains to cling to.
However, don’t let Mount Warning scare you. It’s for all fitness levels, but take your time and stop at the resting locations to break up the trek. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be happy you did — the platform offers stunning views of the nearby hinterland and valleys, with information plaques telling you history and which mountains are in your line of vision.
Fun Fact: Mount Warning is the remnant of the ancient Tweed Volcano, which is one of the world’s largest extinct volcanoes. It is estimated to have erupted over 23 million years ago.
4. Swim at Minyon Falls.
Minyon Falls is a 30-minute drive from Mullumbimby, and offers visitors a tropical walk through the rainforest. The trail leads to an impressive 100+ metre plunge waterfall, AKA Minyon Falls, which drapes over a large cliff which was once part of the Tweed Volcano. The Minyon loop takes about 3 – 4 hours, covering 8 kilometres of rainforest. You can swim in the natural pool surrounding the waterfall, or just enjoy the view.
I’m not going to lie, the water is pretty chilly. However, once you get in it does get warmer and it’s so refreshing when you swim to the waterfall and is great on a hot summer’s day. If you’re not feeling that adventurous (or just don’t like freezing water), you can also appreciate the view from the Minyon Falls Lookout, which you can drive to before or after the hike.
Fun fact: Okay, this one’s actually not very fun, but it is interesting. Minyon Falls has claimed a few lives, leading to it being called a ‘deathtrap’, and local Aboriginal tribes claim that this spot is cursed and has bad spirits. Home & Away star Ben Unwin was found dead at Minyon Falls last year, which has sparked interest with the falls again.
5. Have a cracker of a beach day at Cabarita.
After living in Australia for 8 years, I thought I’d seen all the best beaches, but boy was I wrong. You haven’t had a perfect beach day until you’ve been to Cabarita Beach.
The beach town is lined with surf vans and of course, surfers. Anytime you hear the name Cabarita, you’ll hear how it has the most perfect waves for avid surfers and beginners. Head there for your chance to surf and soak up the rays at this glorious beach and town.
Fun fact: Cabarita was named Australia’s best beach for 2020 by Tourism Australia’s beach expert, Brad Farmer.
Looking for somewhere to stay in the Northern Rivers? Find your accommodation on localsearch.com.au!