The Best Towns to Visit in Australia's Northern Rivers

Byron Bay
Byron Bay | © Flickr / Bernard Spragg. NZ
Alice Duffield

The New South Wales Northern Rivers region is one that often gets overlooked by tourists and Australian travellers alike. If you’re from Brissie and you’ve done the 12 hour drive down to Sydney, you will have no doubt dropped in on more than one of these sweet towns, which are full of character and natural beauty (with some brilliant restaurants to boot!) We’ve rounded up the best picks for your next road trip so you can see lush countryside as well as crystal clear waters.

Byron Bay

Obviously a no-brainer and one of the most famous seaside towns in Australia, you can’t miss Byron. It is the busiest part of this region and there’s so much to do.Although it can be pretty touristy on the weekends, it’s worth the visit. Meander through the village, enjoy plenty of great foodie options and take a dip in the stunning blue waters.


While the whole of the Northern Rivers region can be said to be a little on the hippy dippy side, Nimbin really takes the cake. Buildings covered in colourful paintings, stoners clothed in tie-dye and more hemp products in one place than you ever thought possible. It’s like stepping into the ’70s (or what I imagine the ’70s to have been like!), a town where little has evolved over the years, and it’s well worth the visit.


Not like the aforementioned Nimbin by any stretch, Kingscliff has become a really popular beach town in the last few years. Known for its fantastic seafood restaurants and pristine white sands, Kingsliff is the perfect base for your summer holiday, as it’s close to the busy Gold Coast as well as Byron Bay, but away from crowds.


About a 20 minute drive north of Byron, Mullumbimby is a decent-sized town with lots to see and do. Set amongst some stunning green scenery and rolling hills, the Mullum region is perfect for those with alternative inclinations, as there are yoga studios and wellness spas galore.

Brunswick Heads

This is one of the most relaxed and sweet towns you’ll find along the east coast. Brunswick Heads is set on a stunning aqua river and there’s easy access to a beautiful beach, too. There are some fantastic food options and independent boutiques all over the town, perfect for a day spent slowly wandering from shop to shop. Better yet – hire a canoe and soak up the sun on the pristine waters.


This quaint little country town is about 20 minutes inland from Byron Bay and filled with gorgeous people, cafes, boutiques and country charm. If you’re visiting on the weekend, be sure to have brekky at Woods, followed by a stroll through the farmers’ markets.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article