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Clarence Way

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Great Lakes


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Macleay Valley

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Nambucca Heads

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Tweed Heads




Wine Trail

Tweed Heads


The Tweed region in northern NSW is networked with country roads and mountain byways that will take you into the heart of World Heritage-listed rainforests, via tiny rural villages and to unique attractions, eventually depositing you across the border via the back door, so to speak.


If you’ve already left the east coast highway at Grafton in favour of the Summerland Way to Casino and Lismore, you can stay off the beaten tourist track by driving through the rainforest-shrouded Border Ranges and into the back of the Tweed Valley.


Watch for the signs to Nimbin then skirt around Nightcap National Park to Lillian Rock which serves as the gateway to the world’s second oldest shield volcano.


The detour up into Border Ranges National Park provides some spectacular views across the volcanic crater to the central plug of Mt Warning. The well-maintained 64km Tweed Range Scenic Drive follows the upper rim of the caldera, with picnic spots, lookouts, waterfalls and easy bushwalks providing plenty of excuses to stop along the way.


Back on the main Tweed Valley Way, Midginbil Hill offers camping and cabin-style accommodation as well as the opportunity to explore the area on horseback or perhaps catch your own supper at the bass-stocked Clarrie Hall Dam.


With the babbling Tweed River keeping you company on the left, stock up the groceries with farm-fresh fruit and veggies tumbling from rustic roadside stalls dotted here and there along the road to Uki.


This gorgeous little hamlet has lots of local art and craft outlets housed in the old butter factory, where you can also stop for lunch by the river.


If you’re looking for somewhere really different to stay, try Castle on the Hill – a fair dinkum castle built by hand from mud-bricks and stones in the style of the 14th century Italian Renaissance. Artists Robert Todonai, Robert Pope and Irene Brown built and own the property, and conduct regular art works for those so inclined.


Alternatively, you can take the road to Mt Warning, not far out of Uki, is an absolute must as it brings you to the base of the Tweed’s most famous landmark and the first place to feel the sun’s rays each morning on Australia’s east coast. The 4km hike to the summit is not for the feint-hearted (allow at least four hours) but the rewards are well worth it: a journey through superb examples of World Heritage sub-tropical and temperate rainforest capped off with the most incredible 360 degree views. There’s also a much easier short walk through the rainforest at the base which puts you in the midst of the wilderness and wildlife without the effort.


Next stop, Murwillumbah, is a major business hub in the valley but you’d never know it from strolling along the historic village-like streets. There are some wonderful cafes and restaurants (the locals rave about the pub fare) and you mustn’t miss the Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, home to one of Australia’s most famous portrait collections.


Still keeping away from that highway, you can skirt around the other side of Mt Warning following the Oxley River to Tyalgum, another quaint rural village.


When it comes to odd facts, you’ll be proud to add this one to your collection: Tyalgum is famous for the acoustics in its local hall; so much so that Australia’s best classical musicians and a selection of international artists come to perform here each year at the Tyalgum Classical Music Festival (September).


Chillingham is another charmer with local produce and bush tucker for sale at the Banana Cabana and arts, crafts and antiques on display in the old butchery next door.


There’s some brilliant accommodation tucked away in this corner of the valley, including Hillcrest - a five-star rated B&B.


When you’re finally ready to drag yourself away from this little patch of paradise, it’s just a short drive through rolling green farmland and rainforest-shrouded mountains to Numinbah Valley and Nerang on the Gold Coast.

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