In our series “Beyond Sydney” we highlight beautiful places in NSW that we feel deserve more attention. Today Maureen from So Many Places So Little Time tells us why she thinks we should visit Kingscliff, a gem on the NSW North Coast.
“One of our travel-related jobs which takes us to many places in Australia and New Zealand is working as relief managers in resorts, hotels, and motels to give the resident managers a break. About three years ago we were offered relief managing positions at on “Over 50s” complex in a place called Kingscliff. “Where?” we asked.”
- Where is Kingscliff?
- What’s at Kingscliff?
- Things to do when you visit Kingscliff
- Where to eat in Kingscliff
- Days out from Kingscliff
- Where to stay
Where is Kingscliff?
Kingscliff is located 817 km north of Sydney, on the coast, in the Northern Rivers Region of the Tweed. It is very close to the Queensland border, with the Gold Coast airport at Coolangatta only a 20-minute drive away. We have been working there now for two or three week periods over the last three years and have been busy exploring the area and enjoying everything it has to offer.
Many of the regular holidaymakers who come to visit Kingscliff are from Brisbane, and they quite like to keep Kingscliff a secret. They can drive for about an hour from Brisbane to the coast at Kingscliff and enjoy a great beach holiday without having to share the beach and cafes with the hoards of visitors, traffic and skyscrapers up the road on the Gold Coast.
Heading north from Sydney to Brisbane? Check out our guide to this stunning Pacific Coast route
What’s at Kingscliff?
Kingscliff is a small, coastal, laid back village with most of the facilities you need within walking distance. If you want a complete break from driving, you can park your car when you arrive, and forget about it until you leave.
The main road runs parallel to the beach, and there are upmarket boutique clothes, surf and sports shops and a great range of cafes and restaurants.
It is a refreshing change from the usual name-brand stores that you see in every town and city, and makes for an interesting and relaxing shopping experience! There’s also a small shopping centre behind the main street with a Woolworths Supermarket and a selection of service stores if you need any basics.
Things to do when you visit Kingscliff
Head to the Kingscliff Markets.
Kingscliff has several great markets that are worth a visit if the timing is right.
Kingscliff Night Market
The Kingy Night Market is held on the first Friday of every month from 4 pm to 9 pm at Lions Park on Marine Parade, next to the Cudgen Surf Life Saving Club. With live music and food trucks, it’s a great place to have a casual meal and enjoy people-watching at the market.
Kingscliff Lions Beachfront Market
The Kingscliff Beachside market is held every second and fourth Saturday of the month. You will find the market at Jack Bayliss Park on Marine Parade, past the bowling club. Just wander around at your leisure and check out the wide range of fashion, jewellery, craft, artwork, produce and food stalls on display.
Watch a film in a unique theatre
Right in the village, tucked away in an arcade on the main street across from the surf club is Cinemax Kingscliff, a small art house theatre. It shows a wide variety of types of films and has special theme nights.
You have your own very comfortable lounge type chairs and a small table with a lamp where your coffee, glass of wine, or food is brought to you! It’s a great holiday way to watch a movie!
Explore the Kingscliff Beaches.
Kingscliff is all about the beaches. There are miles of magnificent surf beaches in every direction. The beach at Kingscliff is patrolled, and at the southern end of town is the Cudgen Creek area that’s great for fishing or paddle boarding and non-surf swimming particularly for families with small children. You may have to share the creek with the local pelicans though.
Take a walk around Kingscliff
It’s just a 10 minutes easy drive north from Kingscliff to the signed small car park area at Fingal Head. A five-minute walk from the car park will take you to the small lighthouse with its stunning views of the coastline and the ocean.
There are plenty of shortish walks through the bush to the surrounding beaches and also to see the local version of the Giant Causeway in Ireland with the basalt rocks.
Kingscliff to Salt Beach
Another very popular walk is from Kingscliff to Salt Beach. It takes about 40 minutes one way, either along the beach or by the path, and features some scenic spots along the way. The locals say that the sunset views from the bridge are pretty stunning.
Once at Salt Beach, you can wander up to the very upmarket Salt Village with its two Peppers resorts and classy restaurants for a coffee or snack and then catch the bus back to Kingscliff if you don’t want to do the return walk.
Where to eat in Kingscliff
Apart from the cafes and restaurants on the main street which offer Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Italian, Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan and Australian cuisines, there is the surf club and bowls club, both right on the beachfront which offer tasty pub-style meals and trivia nights.
The Sunday morning Champagne breakfast buffet at the Bowls Club is a very popular event. The historic Kingscliff Hotel has been recently renovated and is always a hive of activity over the weekends with live music at night and in the afternoons.
Thanks, Maureen for sharing one of your favourite places on the NSW East Coast. You can find more of Maureen’s tips on her Facebook page.
We also want to share some of our own tips to help you make the most of your time here. We have put together some of our favourite day trips from the region and also given you a few of our favourite hotels to consider.
Days out from Kingscliff
If you must get in your car, there are some exciting day trips from Kingscliff.
Gold Coast Theme Parks
Fifteen minutes drive away from Kingscliff is Coolangatta and the start of the Gold Coast, home of some of Australia’s best theme parks. You can visit Dreamworld, Seaworld or Movieworld from your comfortable base away from the crowds. If you are here on an extended stay you can buy a 7-day pass to cover all the parks.
Tropical Fruit World
Nearer by Tropical Fruit World only 8 km away in Duranbah. With its 500 varieties of local and exotic fruit from all over the world. Be sure to try some black sapote, the chocolate pudding fruit, it’s delicious.
Madura Tea Estate
Check out the first subtropical tea plantation in Australia at Madura Tea Estates where you can take a plantation tour between October through to May.
Tourist hotspot Byron Bay is only 45 minutes drive away and makes a great day trip. There is so much to do in Byron from feasting on local produce in the regions many cafes and restaurants to plenty of adrenalin pumping activities.
A favourite thing to do that will require a bit of an early start is heading to Mount Warning for sunrise. This is the first place in Australia to see the sunrise, and while it requires a 3.30 am start for the hike, it’s worth the effort.
You can also check out the best day trips from the Gold Coast.
Where to stay
There is something for everyone here no matter your budget.
Kingscliff on a budget – Kingscliff Beach Holiday Park
There are apartments and motels near the beach and township but, our choice of somewhere to stay would be the beachfront campground, the Tweed Holiday Park Kingscliff Beach, in the centre of town. They have eight new absolute oceanfront cabins, situated as close as you can get to the surf, without getting your toes wet and a deck that may as well be on the beach itself. It’s the perfect place to sip your morning coffee and watch the sunrise or sip your gin and tonic, as the sun sets and is just a couple of minutes walk to the township.
Self contained holiday houses in Kingscliff
There are hundreds of holiday rentals in and around Kingscliff. You can find everything from granny flats to mansions with water views.
We have saved our favourites Airbnb listings to give you an idea of what you can find.
Kingscliff – Mid-range Hotels
These properties are located in or near Salt Village, about a seven-minute drive away from the centre of town. The village offers all the facilities you could need for your holiday and Salt Beach is perfect for a relaxing holiday.
Mantra on Salt Beach
The Mantra is one of the most popular resorts in the area with plenty of facilities to enjoy including 3 swimming pools, a tennis court, a very good gym and a day spa. There are 2 restaurants and a bbq area on site and several more nearby.
There are hotel rooms and one and two-bedroom apartments, some with ocean views. Check TripAdvisor for photos and the latest reviews.
My favourite feature of Peppers is the lagoon pool, it’s huge and beautifully landscaped. There is also a second pool and a number of shared plunge pools in some apartments. There is only one restaurant on site but several more just a couple of minutes walk away in Salt Village. The resort also features a tennis court and day spa.
Many of these resort properties are also listed on Airbnb here if you prefer to book direct.
Kingscliff – Splurge
Halcyon House is a favourite for those who want to spoil themselves. Located at Cabarita Beach just south of Kingscliff this small boutique property is a joy. The on-site restaurant Paper Daisy has been awarded 2 chefs hats and is a perfect spot for a celebration. You can borrow bicycles and ride up to Kingscliff beach.
Check reviews and photos on TripAdvisor
You might also like to check out these holiday homes for longer stays.
Find out more on the beautiful Tweed region of NSW
We hope you enjoy your getaway to Kingscliff. If you have any questions pop over to our Facebook group and ask a local for advice.