The 10 Best Places to Stay Across Australia's Northern Rivers

Local art © Petra Bensted / Flickr
Local art © Petra Bensted / Flickr
Photo of Alice Duffield
16 August 2018

Let’s get one thing straight, there’s no bad place to stay when you’re visiting the Northern Rivers. The region is dotted with countless little towns full of Australian character, and it’s easy to find that perfect spot, whether you prefer to chill by the coast or want to lose yourself among the rain forest canopy. But if we absolutely had to pick our 10 favourite places to stay, the list would look a little something like this.

Byron Bay

This is perhaps the most famous place to stay in the Northern Rivers and for good reason. The beaches surrounding Byron Bay are some of the best in Australia. While it can get busy in this small town, almost everyone has a chilled vibe that’s perfect for a weekend getaway.

Byron Bay | © Flickr / Andy Hay


Depending on what scene you most identify with, you’ll either remember this hinterland region for being the hometown of homegirl Iggy Azalea, having one of the highest ratios of yoga studio to residents in Australia or being the home of Crystal Castle, the country’s most spectacular crystal-themed attraction.


Nestled between the rolling green hills at the base of the McPherson Range, you’ll find this quaint little town of art deco-style buildings. It’s perfect anytime you want a relaxed coffee while browsing an antique store. To really see the town come to life, visit the farmers’ markets at the showgrounds on Wednesday morning.


This little counter-culture gem has a reputation for being the cannabis capital of Australia, but you’re probably more interested in experiencing its environmental experiments in permaculture and sustainability, right?

Nimbin | © Flickr / new 1lluminati


With 11vbreathtaking beaches within reach, this coastal town is certainly a must-stay spot for surfers, swimmers and sunbathers. Like much of the Northern Rivers, there’s an eclectic range of accommodation on offer, from tumble-down surf shacks to resorts oozing Versace-level decadence.

Brunswick Heads

There are two reasons to stay at this unpretentious fishing village. In the morning, find yourself a table at Bruns Bakery, and do not leave until you’ve sampled all their amazing treats. And, in the evening, if the odds and bookings are in your favour, perch on one of Fleet’s 12 stools and enjoy their unrivalled, locally sourced degustation experience.

Brunswick Heads | © Flickr / Graham Cook


This is another under-appreciated picturesque hinterland gem. Many people stop in for a coffee on their way to the coast and get swept up in the charm of the 19-century streetscape. It’s easy to spend the whole day here traipsing from one verandah to the next, enjoying coffee, antiques and more.

Bangalow | © Flickr / Simon Jardine

Tweed Heads

Right on the edge of the Queensland/New South Wales border, this is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to enjoy the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast one day, and the more earthy, relaxed charm of the Northern Rivers the next.


Lismore is one of the largest, most established towns in the Northern Rivers. With the region’s most established university close by, the town has developed a thriving arts scene, so there’s always something happening in these heritage buildings.

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