February can be an ideal time to get away to the coast, still hot enough to enjoy a beach swim but you won’t have to compete with the school holiday travellers.
The Northern Rivers region of New South Wales might be just the place for you to escape the city heat and totally relax. Experience the pristine stretches of coastline and large areas of protected wetlands. The coastal towns of Casuarina, Kingscliff and Cabarita are only a short drive from the Gold Coast but well away from the hustle and bustle.
You can body and board surf, lie in the shade of a beach umbrella, enjoy a quiet stroll on the beautiful beaches or in one of these charming and largely unspoilt towns. But there are other things on offer you may want to experience, including:
Cudgen Nature Reserve
Cudgen Lake is a wetland treasure surrounded by floodplain forest and rainforests. Look out over the calm waters and you’ll see majestic Round Mountain in the south and striking views to the west of Wollumbin Mount Warning in the World Heritage-listed Wollumbin National Park.
You can canoe or kayak from the boat ramp and head off to explore the nearby creeks or enjoy a day of windsurfing on the lake. The lake and surrounding wetlands is also a fantastic spot for birdwatching. Look out for waterbirds like the Australasian grebe or the white-faced heron.
There are several markets in the area. The Kingscliff Markets take place every second and fourth Saturday of the month in Jack Bayliss Park. Featuring a backdrop of Kingscliff beach, these markets have a well-selected group of stallholders, including artists, designers and jewellers, as well as food vendors.
Tropical Fruit World
Located in Duranbah, this is a commercial enterprise but well worth a visit to enjoy this tropical fruit plantation, which boasts over 500 varieties of fruit. There are 9 specific specialist gardens where you can experience tropical fruit varieties from 9 different regions. There’s a Chinese Garden with lychees, longans and mulberries and an Aztec Garden with canistel and chocolate fruit.
Snorkelling at Cook Island
Cook Island is a 15-minute boat ride from Kingscliff. The Island is famous for its large population of green turtles. The green turtle is classified as endangered. It’s one of the largest sea turtles in the world and the only herbivore among the different species. It’s a special experience to see these animals but an experience you will need to book well in advance.