Every year from early June to late November, the majestic humpback whales make their annual migration to their northern breeding grounds, travelling close to the Tweed Coast. Regular ‘stars’ include Migaloo, the world’s only documented all-white humpback, and the occasional pod of killer whales. There are two whale watching boats operating from the Tweed Coast, each offering very different experiences:
Aquatic Blue Charters – www.aquaticbluecharters.com.au
46-passenger purpose-built whale watching vessel
Tweed Snorkelling & Whale Watching – www.tweedoceanadventures.com.au
10-passenger inflatable zodiac offering a unique up-close-and-personal experience
Tweed River Crab Catching Cruises
Potting for mud crabs, pumping for yabbies, feeding wild pelicans, throwing out a fishing line – they’re all typical Tweed River experiences which you can try your hand at on a leisurely cruise along the Tweed River and through the Terranora wetlands. We have two operators who offer regular crab catching cruises:
Tweed Endeavour Cruises – www.goldcoastcruising.com
Catch-a-Crab Cruises – www.catchacrab.com.au
Enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Tweed River, via the rainforests of Stotts Island and through the Tweed’s sprawling canefields to the historic riverport of Tumbulgum. Stop along the way to feed the wild birds of prey and keep a close eye out for friendly river dolphins as you learn more about the region from Captain Bill’s commentary. After browsing through the art galleries, craft shops and historical country pub at Tumbulgum, you’ll enjoy a seafood feast onboard as you travel back to the Tweed.
Tweed Endeavour Cruises – www.goldcoastcruising.com
Snorkel with the Turtles
Located approximate 600m offshore from Fingal Head, the Cook Island Aquatic Reserve is one of the best-kept secrets along the east coast – home to a large permanent colony of green and loggerhead turtles, and the docile leopard sharks who visit during the summer months. The abundance of marine life also includes bull rays, spotted eagle rays, giant gropers, wobbiegongs and the occasional grey nurse shark, with rock caves and coral gardens adding to the area’s underwater charms. Operators include:
Tweed Snorkelling & Whale Watching – www.tweedoceanadventures.com.au
Kirra Dive – www.kirradive.com (charters by arrangement)
Deep Sea Fishing Charters
The cross-over of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters off the Tweed Coast adds up to a huge variety of big game fish. A number of operators offer deep sea fishing charters that head out from the Tweed Marina to the offshore reefs in search of billfish, cobia, mackerel, mahi mahi, tuna, pearl perch, snapper, mullaway and parrot fish. They cater for groups of up to 12 or more, as well as individuals. Operators supply all the necessary bait and tackle, and the required fishing permits.
Cushy Fishing Charters – www.cushyfishingcharters.com.au
Down Under Charters – www.goldcoastfishing.com
Reel Fishn – www.reelfishn.com.au
Seamaster Fishing Charters – www.seamasterfishingcharters.com
Kayaking along Cudgen Creek
Winding through the Tweed Coast wetlands, Cudgen Creek is an important habitat for a wide variety of bird and marine species. The best way to access this wilderness area is on a kayak tour where you might also catch a glimpse of the local river dolphins.
Casuarina Rec Club – www.casuarinarecclub.com.au
Learn to Surf
The Northern NSW coastline is the traditional birthplace of the Aussie surfing legend and Australia’s current world champions, Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore. … so where better to learn to surf like a pro? Local surf schools offer group lessons for beginners, private lessons for experienced surfers, school programs and coaching. The village of Casuarina is also home to Surfing Australia and features their full training facility, which hosts Australia’s first university degree in surfing, Southern Cross University’s Diploma of Sports Management (Surfing Studies) recently voted the ‘sexiest university course in the world’ by FHM Magazine.
Cabarita Beach Surf School / Salty Girls Surf School – www.cabaritabeachsurfschool.com
Casuarina Surf School – www.surfingaustralia.com
Marine Environment Museum
This state-of-the-art facility comprises a visual, inter-active laboratory showcasing 200 preserved marine species. The centre also offers guided field trips to a range of nearby habitats, including coastal relic forests, mangroves, tidal rockpools, wallum healthland, sand dunes, beaches and estuaries. Located in the North Star Holiday Resort at Hastings Point, the Marine Environment and Field Study Resource Centre represents more than 30 years work by its founders, marine biologist Ted Brambleby and Kerrie Trees.
Marine Environment & Field Study Resource Centre – www.adventureeducation.info
Tropical & Exotic Fruits
Tropical Fruit World and Research Park would have to be the world’s healthiest theme park – comprising the largest range of rare and tropical fruit in the world. More than 500 varieties are grown on the 65-hectare plantation, with some of the more quirky varieties including chocolate pudding fruit, lemon meringue pie fruit, chewing gum fruit, champagne fruit and ice-cream bean. It’s also a great place to introduce kids to tasty exotics such as jak fruit, babacos, papayas, longans and the giant avocadoes. You can also see and feed native Australian and farm animals here.
Tropical Fruit World – www.tropicalfruitworld.com.au
Native Australian Animals and Bird Feeding
Get up close and personal with one of the world’s largest collections of Australian fauna, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, emus and crocodiles. Here you can also learn more about the Mt Warning Wollumbin Caldera at the Australia’s Green Cauldron exhibit and see some of the world’s deadliest snakes in the daily Snakes Alive show. In the morning and late afternoon, feed thousands of colourful lorikeets that fly in.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – www.currumbin-sanctuary.org.au
All Creatures Great and Small
Crystal Creek Miniatures is home to an amazing collection of pint-sized animals, including horses, cows, donkeys and more. Even the family dogs are pocket-sized Chihuahuas. In addition to being a working animal stud, they have an entertaining hour-long tour on the valley tractor train and you can finish up by sampling local Down on the Farm beef at the Verandah Café.
Crystal Creek Miniatures & Palmdale Stud – www.minianimals.net
Cycle the Coast
One of the best ways to explore the Tweed Coast is on a bicycle – and the extended cycleway running almost right along the beaches from Kingscliff to Pottsville makes it easy and safe to do just that. Start with breakfast at one of the award-winning cafes lining Kingscliff’s Esplanade ‘eat street’; explore the multi-million dollar Salt and Casuarina developments, stopping for lunch or a snack at a beachfront watering hole; then enjoy the contrast of sleepy seaside villages like Hastings Point, Cabarita and Pottsville which still retain their old-fashioned family holiday charm.
Casuarina Beach Rec Club – www.casuarinabeachrecclub.com.au
Horses & Trail Riding
Saddle up for the adventure horse ride of a lifetime on a three-hour adventure trail ride the spectacular mountain, rainforest and river scenery on a 2500-acre working cattle property. Trail rides include billy tea and damper in a spectacular windblown cave.
Numinbah Valley Adventure Trails – www.numinbahtrails.com.au
Night Vision Wildlife Adventures
Imagine explore the rainforest at night, observing Australia’s native animals in their natural nocturnal habitat. Arguably one of the best uses for military technology found to date, Vision Walks uses night vision goggles to explore Nightcap National Park and the David Fleay Wildlife Park.
Vision Walks – www.visionwalks.com.au
Learn more about the art, culture and lifestyle of our local indigenous community at the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. In addition to a fine museum collection and small shop, the complex incorporates a mangrove boardwalk and walking track, taking you via an ancient ceremonial bora ring to the river bank. Open by appointment only.
Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre – www.bigvolcano.com.au
Tours & Day Trips
Rainforest Way (self drive)
The Tweed Valley boasts six National Parks which form part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. These include Mt Warning, Border Ranges, Lamington, Springbrook, Nightcap and Mooball. The Rainforest Way is a series of loops and trails connecting the Tweed National Parks with other rainforest areas in Northern NSW and south-east Queensland, all of which feature excellent bushwalking trails, waterfalls, bush swimming holes, spectacular lookouts and barbeque/picnic facilities.
Rainforest Way – www.rainforestway.com.au
Seafood Discovery Trail (self drive)
The Seafood Discovery Trail extends along 35kms of coastline from Currumbin to Cabarita, offering a self-guide itinerary to exploring the rich abundance delivered by the oceans and rivers of the Southern Gold Coast and Tweed regions. Along the way, you’ll discover an unforgettable culinary and activity-based experience, incorporating everything from fine dining restaurants and specialty cafes through to our favourite fish and chip takeaways and fresh seafood co-ops. You can even catch your own ocean harvest on a deep-sea fishing charter or haul in the crab-pots for a feast of local muddies.
Seafood Discovery Trail – www.seafooddiscoverytrail.com.au
Historic Pub Crawl (self drive)
The Tweed Valley is home to some of Australia’s oldest – and quirkiest – country pubs. Here you can drink in stunning views of Mt Warning from the old verandah of the Mt Warning Hotel, soak up the sun at the Bruns, prop up the bar once presided over by Australia’s oldest publican and toast the sun set over the river at the legendary Tumby Pub. Download our self-guided day tour, with maps and full driving directions from the Tweed Tourism website.
Historic Pubs of the Tweed – www.tweedtourism.com.au
Village Day Drive (self drive)
Take a break from the beaches and explore the rural villages and communities of the Tweed Valley. Taking the Murwillumbah turn-off from the Pacific Motorway, stop at Murwillumbah to pick up your maps at the World Heritage Rainforest Centre and to browse the shops and art galleries. You can then head out on a loop circuit to: Crystal Creek (Crystal Creek Miniatures and the Parrot Garden Café), Chillingham (Buck Buchanan’s bush tucker garden tour), Tyalgum (lunch or a coffee stop at Flutterbies), Mt Warning National Park (Lyrebird Track through the rainforest), Mavis’ Kitchen (if you missed lunch at Tyalgum), and back through Murwillumbah to Tumbulgum to finish with a cool drink and great river views at the Tumby Pub.
Tweed Art Trail (self drive)
Introduce your family to the Tweed’s artworks and artists on the Tweed Art Trail, which incorporates a rich tapestry of galleries, artist studios, artist co-ops, workshops and public art displays starting at Point Danger on the NSW/Queensland border and travelling to every corner of the valley.
Brochures available at Tweed Tourism’s Visitor Information Centres in Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads, as well as at the Tweed River Regional Gallery
Tweed Valley (escorted)
Award-winning eco tour operator, Australian Wild Escapes, offers full day tours of Australia’s Green Cauldron – named by Tourism Australia as a ‘National Landscape’ and a must-see destinations. These tours take visitors around in and around the remnants of the world’s second largest shield volcano, stopping at quaint river towns, valley villages, national parks and spectacular lookouts.
Australian Wild Escapes – www.australianwildescapes.com
Border Ranges National Park (escorted)
Environmental educator and activist, Lee Scarlett, shares one of the Tweed Valley’s most spectacular hidden secrets taking you off the beaten track to explore the Border Ranges National Park via 4WD, mountain bike and bushwalking tracks through ancient Antarctic beech forests to breathtaking lookouts and stunning land formations on the rim of the Mt Warning Wollumbin Caldera.
The Border Ranges Experience – www.borderrangescentre.com.au
Historic Tweed & Coolangatta Walking Tour (escorted)
Join local resident, Geoff Davis on a scenic & historical fully guided walking tour around the headlands, beaches and streets of the twin towns. Highlights include Greenmount Hill, Point Danger, Duranbah and the Tweed River, Rainbow Bay, Marine Rescue Headquarters at Point Danger with a full description of all the historical events right up to the present day. Geoff also shares the indigenous history of our local Aboriginal tribes and their lifestyles, as well as the beach and surfing culture which makes Tweed Heads the surfing capital of the world and the rock and roll capital of Australia.
Coolangatta Tweed Heads Walking Tour – www.tweedtourism.com.au