The Tweed

Burringbah

Burringbar is a quiet stop-off point with a general store and roadside fruit stalls. From here you can visit the glow worms and microbat colony in the disused railway tunnel approximately 1.5kms walk along the old train tracks. This area is also home to the award-winning Tweed Valley Whey Farmhouse Cheeses, which you can buy in the general store or at farmers’ markets throughout the Tweed and Byron shires.

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Cabarita Beach

Almost completely encircled by a nature reserve, lake and beautiful beaches, Cabarita is a little pocket of paradise midway along the Tweed Coast.

In recent years, luxury low rise beachfront apartment complexes have upped the ante for holidaymakers who enjoy their creature comforts but the village vibe of quality cafes, surf shops and casual take-aways has remained blissfully untouched.

The beaches here are a surfing hot spot thanks to a series of bays and Norries Headland. The short coastal walk from the main patrolled beach at Cabarita around to Norries Headland is a real favourite with locals.

The view from Norries Headland

The scenery changes every couple of minutes as you head through a tunnel of remnant coastal rainforest, down along the popular surfing pointbreaks framing Diamond Beach and up onto the headland where you get uninterrupted views to the north and south.

It’s interesting to learn that Norries Headland was originally an island with waves sweeping between the rocks and the mainland in bad weather. The rock wall that now protects the spit and forms the cove was installed by the sand miners who mined the Tweed Coast’s beaches for rutile and other minerals in the 1950s and 60s.

Throughout the year, Cabarita Beach plays host to numerous surfing carnivals as well as the annual Greenback Tailor Fishing Competition.

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Chillingham

One of the most popular stops on any scenic drive through the Tweed Valley, Chillingham is home to the Tweed’s very own ‘bush tucker man’,  Buck Buchanan.

Tending the orchards behind his rustic roadside stall, Buck grows a fascinating variety of local and exotic citrus fruits and he happily takes visitors on a tour of his Bush Tucker Garden.  A real true-blue Aussie character, Buck strides barefoot along the rows plucking native fingerlimes, Buddha’s hands fruit, bergamots, Japanese yuzu, Davidson plums, kaffir limes, warrigal greens and more for you to touch, taste and smell. He supplies some of Australia’s leading restaurants and has even created his own line of shampoos, moisturizers and lotions from his harvest.

Just over the road, you can buy hand-made soaps at a cottage-based Soap Factory and a little further along, potter John Gillson has lovingly restored the village’s old butcher shop into a showcase for his stunning ceramics.

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Kingscliff

Unlike so many traditional seaside communities, Kingscliff has blossomed into a vibrant beach holiday destination without losing its wonderful local identity.

Along the esplanade eat street, you can take a virtual culinary world tour as you choose from award-winning cafés and restaurants offering a taste of Japan, Thailand, Spain, Italy, Nepal, Tibet, Mexico and India. Australia’s favourite flavours are also well represented with great seafood, nutritious health food, lunch-time salads and exotic breakfasts all prepared from locally grown produce.

Dotted between the sidewalk cafés and restaurants are unique boutiques, gift shops, galleries, homeware stores and a great bookshop that make this one of the Tweed’s favourite shopping destinations.

If you’re looking for entertainment the local pub, surf lifesaving club and sports clubs offer plenty of options while the local cinema features a regular program of mainstream and art-house movies.

Kingscliff is also the place to go when you want to get active. Hire a bike and explore the cycleway that runs north to Fingal Head and south to Pottsville through a string of coastal villages. Paddle a kayak or canoe through the Cudgen Creek wetlands past osprey nests and wading birds. If you’re really feeling pumped you can paddle all the way to Cudgen Lake at Cabarita Beach. Learn the new craze of stand-up paddleboarding in the calm creek waters or learn to surf the ocean waves – home break to world-surfing champion Steph Gilmore.

From Kingscliff you can arrange snorkelling and scuba trips to Cook Island – a protected nature reserve and underwater playground only 600m from the shore. Cook Island plays home to a permanent population of green and loggerhead turtles. From June – November book yourself on a whale watching tour and get up close and personal with visiting humpbacks as they migrate along the east coast.

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Murwillumbah

As the commercial hub of the Tweed Valley community, Murwillumbah is a vintage country town. Art deco shopfronts and historic Federation-style buildings house a selection of cafés, restaurants, boutiques, homeware stores and gift shops, while a modern shopping centre includes a supermarket and national chain stores.

The best way to explore Murwillumbah is on foot. Paved walkways stretch along either side of the Tweed River or you can pick up a brochure for the self-guided historical walk at the Visitor Information Centre. Pop in and say “hello” to the team of friendly staff and helpful volunteers, they can offer you a wealth of history and information on the Tweed region. A model of the Wollumbin Mt Warning caldera will give you a bird’s eye view of this unique geographical landform. The team of volunteers are always happy to share their local knowledge of where to go and what to see.

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Tumbulgum

Looking across to Wollumbin Mt Warning from the junction of the Tweed and Rous Rivers, Tumbulgum was one of the first villages established in northern NSW in around 1840.

For many years, it was the Tweed Valley’s main hub of activity, with shops and services springing up to cater to the timber trade and cedar cutters. At one stage it vied with nearby Murwillumbah for commercial supremacy – until Murwillumbah scored the railway in 1897 and a bridge in 1901, guaranteeing its status as the Tweed Valley’s economic centre.

In Tumbulgum today it is the tourists who generate the buzz, coming to enjoy the picturesque setting and admire the historic buildings which now house a range of art galleries, gift shops and cafés.

One of the most popular reminders of the past is undoubtedly the old Tumbulgum Tavern. Established in 1887, it was the region’s first unlicensed pub (otherwise known as a ‘grog shanty’) and over 120 years later, it is still going strong. The food here is excellent – as are the sunsets that illuminate the river and Wollumbin Mt Warning.

A couple of kilometres out of town on the north side of the river, an historic pioneer cemetery hidden in the rainforest makes for a fascinating ‘added extra’ on a daytrip to Tumbulgum.

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Tweed Heads/Coolongatta

They’re known as the ‘Twin Towns’ – Tweed Heads and Coolangatta – sitting side-by-side on the QLD/NSW state border, just a few minutes’ drive from the Gold Coast Airport.

As the southern end of Queensland’s famous Gold Coast, the Twin Towns offer all the attractions of Australia’s No. 1 holiday destination, with the added extras of more affordable accommodation, less crowded beaches and a more laid-back, relaxed vibe.

Your choice of beaches extends from Kirra to Duranbah, including the Gold Coast’s only north-facing beaches – Coolangatta and Greenmount – which offer ideal conditions for young families. This is also the birthplace of Australia’s surfing culture, with world-renowned breaks like the Snapper Superbank and Duranbah which host the annual Quiksilver Pro Surfing Championships and are home to many Australian and international world champions.

In June each year, the entertainment heats up even further with Cooly Rocks On – a ten-day rock ‘n’ roll festival that takes over the streets of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta with outdoor music stages, classic car parades, dancing and much, much more. The festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over Australia, many of whom use it as the perfect excuse to dust off the bobby socks, poodle skirts and Elvis outfits.

For daytime activities, head to the Tweed River where you can join a charter for some offshore deep-sea fishing, try your hand at catching mudcrabs and yabbies on a crab-catching cruise, hire a barbeque pontoon to explore the waterways or throw a line in from the river banks.

A network of oceanfront and foreshore parks incorporate walkways, cycle paths, children’s play areas, paddleboat and kayak hire, boat access ramps and relaxing garden areas, with the popular Make It. Bake It. Grow It. markets held on the second Sunday of the month at Queen Elizabeth Park in Coolangatta.

Following the river west along Kennedy Drive takes you to a string of great seafood outlets where you can buy oysters grown in the Tweed River, locally caught mudcrabs, prawns delivered by our local trawlers and a range of line-caught fish. At Birds Bay, you can get up close and personal with our seafood delicacies at the Birds Bay Oyster Farm or on a Catch-a-Crab Cruise through the beautiful Terranora Inlet. The network of foreshore parks provides an idyllic setting for riverside picnics.

Tweed Endeavour Cruises also operate crab catching cruises, picking up from Pioneer Park on Kennedy Drive. This shady riverside spot is now home to four historic buildings housing Tweed Heads branch of the Tweed River Regional Museum where displays of small boats, ship models and shipwreck artefacts are well worth a visit.

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Tylagum

Set against a dramatic backdrop formed by the towering western wall of the Wollumbin Mt Warning Caldera, the historic village of Tyalgum oozes country charm.

What was once a remote timber town is now one of the Valley’s most popular day-trip destinations, thanks to the quaint old buildings that have been lovingly restored and transformed into cottage cafes, art galleries and gift stores.

The main street stroll starts at Tyalgum Hotel – one of our notable historic pubs – where locals gather for top quality fare and overnight visitors can stay in the recently refurbished rooms.

Across the road, the old Norco Butter Factory built in 1913 is now Bartrim’s Garage. Diagonally opposite, the House of Canelli boutique was originally a billiard room. The Tyalgum General Store and village post office celebrated 100 years of trading in 2008. Flutterbies Cottage Café was the town bakery back in 1926 and is now a flourishing hot-spot to enjoy a country meal and awards wining cupcakes. The Little Shop Next Door opened as a butcher shop in 1931. But the town’s most famous historic building is undoubtedly the Tyalgum Hall, built in 1908 as the grandly-named Tyalgum Literary and Mechanics Institute. In the early 1990s, two classical violinists noted the hall’s incredible acoustics and invited some of their colleagues here to perform. That initial gather of musicians turned into the annual Tyalgum Festival of Classical Music which celebrated its 22th anniversary in 2013.

Over the years, this three-day series of concerts held over the first weekend in September has attracted some of Australia’s – and indeed the world’s – finest musicians and is now rated as one of the premier classical music events in the country.

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Uki

Uki village is a hub of arts, culture, organics and alternative lifestyle nestled at the base of Wollumbin Mt Warning.

The name (pronounced ‘yook-eye’) is believed to be derived from the Aboriginal name for a small water fern but some say that it evolved from the early days of timber-getting when the finest cedars were marked ‘U.K.1’ for export to the United Kingdom.

The shops here are housed in historical buildings, many of which date back to the town’s early days as a thriving dairy and timber centre. The old Norco Butter Factory now accommodates a range of galleries and art studios where you can watch local artisans at work, as well as funky bric-a-brac stores, a bookstore and an antique shop.

You can fill the grocery basket with organic goodies at the Bio-Organics farm a little way out of town. Or, if you’d rather let someone else do all the hard work in the kitchen, you can relax in a beautiful old Queenslander on a 25ha property at Mavis’s Kitchen where the ingredients are harvested fresh every morning from their bio-dynamic kitchen garden.

If you have visited the village of Uki before you’d surely be familiar with the historic Mt Warning Hotel. However, in early 2013 the local community was shocked when their historic watering hole was completely destroyed by a fire.

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Wollumbin Mt Warning

Wollumbin Mt Warning stands at an impressive height of 1157m above sea level and is a remnant central vent of an ancient volcano. It can be seen from a range of vantage points in and around the Caldera that makes up the Tweed Valley.

The World Heritage Park is recognised as part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia. Rich in flora and fauna, it is a must see for any visit to the Tweed. Take a short walk along the Lyrebird Track,  where you get a chance to experience the sounds and smells of the rainforest and explore under the canopy of the trees. Listen out for the calls of Whipbirds, Noisy Pitta and, of course, Lyrebirds.

For the more adventurous there is always the option of climbing to the summit. Make it to the top by sunrise and you will be the first people in Australia to see the sun! The walk takes you through stunning scenery and offers magnificent views of the Tweed Caldera and beyond. Allow at least 2 hours to reach the summit and another 2 hours for the return journey. Be prepared for all weather conditions. The climb is a steep 8.8km return trip with a challenging final rock scramble. In winter it is not advisable to start the walk after noon because the area becomes extremely dark and dangerous in winter after this time.

Whether you are walking to the summit, or exploring this spectacular landscape from below, extend your day with a picnic lunch at Korrumbyn picnic area or beside Breakfast Creek.

 

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