Road Tripping the Far North Coast (NSW)

The far north coast of New South Wales has plenty to offer and with a 450km road trip from Byron Bay to New England National Park, you’ll be able to take it all in.


  • Photography
  • Bush walking
  • Surfing

Byron Bay to New England National Park

With the coming week blocked out for adventure and the car loaded with essential gear it was time to start the road trip down the far north coast. After a quick stop at the local café we headed south to Diggers Camp, completing the breezy 2.5-hour drive in no time. We checked into our quaint Airbnb, unloaded the car, kicked off our shoes and wandered down past the few sleepy surf shacks for a swim at the private beach.

Diggers Camp is surrounded by Yuraygir National Park making it the ideal far north coast destination for soaking up everything nature has to offer. During our short 2 night stay we cycled the fire trails and along the empty beach to the town of Minnie Waters for fresh fish and chips, watched dolphins and whales play just off the headland, kayaked along the stunning coastline and at night laid by our backyard fire watching the stars drift across the incredibly clear night’s sky. Diggers Camp is a place where time is irrelevant, shoes aren’t warranted and a swim and surf are essential parts of the daily routine.

Road Tripping the Far North Coast Seamus Faithful sawtell surf wave

Then suddenly it was time to keep driving south as we had another booking for 2 nights in the beachside town of Sawtell. Although Sawtell is still a relatively quiet coastal town it felt like a bustling metropolis compared to Diggers. We continued our pattern of daily swims and headland walks to watch the migrating whales and also added a kayak adventure up the picturesque Bonville Creek. Surrounded by national park, this creek is home to an amazing array of wildlife.

On our short paddle we went past schools of fish, sting rays, king fishers and sea eagles with their impressive nests in the Eucalypts above. Late in the afternoon of our last night in Sawtell we set up with some snacks and drinks on the Bonville Headland to watch the sun set behind the mountains of the Great Dividing Range — our next destination.

Road Tripping the Far North Coast Seamus Faithful new england winter waterfall

After a slow start to the day we loaded up the car and again headed south before turning inland and starting the drive up into the mountains towards our final destination. We stopped for lunch and to gather supplies in Bellingen but ended up spending a couple of hours admiring the towns alternate style. With the car full of local produce, we continued on our drive towards New England National Park but before long we stopped again at Dorrigo to do the canopy walk — a worthwhile quick detour.

Then, in the late evening we arrived to wild conditions in the World Heritage National Park. With sleet falling we were very thankful we opted for the Park’s ‘Chalet’ instead of camping. The rustic wood cabins have views looking out from cliff tops at a height close to 5000ft and provide all the necessary creature comforts.

We embarked on countless walks and bike rides during our 3-night stay in the ancient forests of New England NP. The loop track to Wrights Lookout and down to 5-day creek offer some of the most pristine forests NSW has to offer.

Road Tripping the Far North Coast Seamus Faithful new-england-winter boardwalk sunset

The highlight of our stay was waking up in the predawn light to watch the sunrise from Point Lookout on the mountain’s summit. As the light spilled in from the rising sun the endless number of forested mountains were illuminated and the mist began to burn off in the valleys below. We listened to the dawn chorus of the lyre birds and enjoyed the warmth of the sun’s rays — it made for an unforgettable morning.

However, all too soon it was time to head back to our Chalet, haphazardly cram everything back into the car and start the homeward journey back up the coastline of the far north coast of NSW. 

Essential Gear

  • Kayaks
  • Bikes
  • Camera gear
  • Surfboards
  • Hiking boots
  • Warm/wet weather clothes
  • Day pack

How To Get There



  • Kayaking
  • Beach combing
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Photography
  • Wildlife watching
  • Star gazing

Skill Level

The walks in New England NP can be strenuous but there are a wide variety to choose from for beginners to experienced hikers.

Distance Covered/Elevation Gain

450km and over a 1500m gain in elevation


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