Eight Essential Outdoor Adventures to Have in NSW's Mid North Coast Region
Take a sunrise hot air balloon flight, get lost in a hedge maze and kayak under the stars — all in one huge, scenic region.
in partnership with
There's nothing quite like having time off, especially if that means having the opportunity to get out of the city for a good dose of fresh air, nature and countless outdoor adventures. We know figuring out where to go and how to fill your days can be a bit like putting a puzzle together. That's why we've done the hard yards for you by narrowing your choices down to eight must-do experiences in New South Wales' Mid North Coast region. Whether you're passing through on a road trip to Sydney or just keen to spend a few days over the border, you can return home with some new memories in tow and experiences checked off your bucket list.
Please stay up to date with the latest NSW Government health advice regarding COVID-19.
ENJOY PANORAMIC VIEWS OVER DORRIGO NATIONAL PARK
When seeking out superb views, you'd be hard-pressed to find many as vast and stunning as the one from the Skywalk lookout in Dorrigo National Park. Walk along the 70-metre platform and, from the edge of the escarpment, you'll see everything from the dense rosewood subtropical rainforest and Bellinger Valley to the distant coastline and McGrath's Hump, also known as Old Man Dreaming, which, according to Gumbaynggirr legend, shows the profile of a warrior's face.
GET LOST IN A SWIRLY MAZE IN BAGO
We all get a little lost sometimes, but you'll probably find the feeling of not knowing where to go next more fun when you're trying to make your way through the maze at Bago Maze and Winery. With over 2000 metres of lilly pilly-lined pathways, it'll make you feel like you've entered a magical world, if only for a little while. The best part is afterwards you can enjoy a meat or cheese platter with a few glasses of wine from the neighbouring vineyard.
CATCH YOUR DINNER IN TENTERFIELD CREEK
Any keen fisherman will know a day out on or by the water is always a good time — even if you don't catch anything. Tenterfield Creek might not look like it holds many fishing opportunities at first glance, but locals know it's a great spot for snagging cod and yellow belly. Nearby spots, including Mole River Dam, Dumaresq River, Clarence River and Glenlyon Dam, are also stocked with golden perch, catfish and more (depending on the time of year). Don't worry if you're not experienced, as fishing charter companies like Northern Rivers Sportfishing can teach you the ropes for the day. Don't forget to get a fishing licence from Service NSW before casting your line.
HIKE TO THE STUNNING EBOR FALLS
Cascading over 100 metres of graphite-coloured, lava-formed rock, Ebor Falls is quite simply one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Australia. Although the falls are broken into two sections, there are three platforms to view them from, all of which offer incredible views over the gorge and Guy Fawkes River National Park. If you visit in the warmer months, golden daisies and rare ground orchids sometimes bloom around the upper falls making the whole place seem like a scene from a fantasy movie. Stay updated on park closures here.
GLIDE THROUGH THE CLOUDS OVER TAMWORTH
Ever had a dream that you could fly? Well, this is the next best thing. Manilla Paragliding at Mount Borah offers tandem paragliding flights that last for about 30–40 minutes. You don't need any experience, just a bit of courage. Once you're in the air, you won't regret it. If you're lucky, while you're soaring high above the rest of the world, you might spot a local wedge-tailed eagle. For dinner, make a reservation at The Pig and Tinder Box, based inside the heritage-listed bank building, and enjoy pizza and other share-style dishes.
SEARCH FOR GOLD IN NUNDLE
Nundle is steeped in history. The quaint little town maintains its heritage gold rush era roots from the late 1800s by keeping timeless traditions like fossicking alive. With its reputation as a regional treasure trove, people come from all over to experience panning for gold and sapphire in the Peel River. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and strike it big? Panning equipment is available for hire from Mount Misery Mine or Nundle Country Cafe.
PADDLE ALONG BELLINGER RIVER AT SUNSET OR UNDER THE STARS
Few would dispute that Australia is a country filled with nature worth seeing up close — and that shouldn't be limited to just walking or driving. Seeing your surroundings at water level from the comfort of a canoe or kayak is a pleasure you'll only understand once you've tried it. Bellingen Canoe Adventures in the Coffs Harbour area will take you for a relaxing paddle down the Bellinger River at any time you like, although we'd recommend a full moon tour for anyone looking for something truly peaceful. Thrillseekers won't be disappointed either — there are also whitewater options if you're keen for a rough and tumble ride.
SOAR ABOVE THE HUNTER VALLEY WINE REGION IN A HOT AIR BALLOON
Speaking of seeing things from a different point of view, what could be more special than witnessing the vast expanse of some of Australia's most remarkable vineyards and valleys from a hot air balloon? If the Hunter Valley was a painting, hot air ballooning with Balloon Aloft would be one of the best ways to step back and admire the whole thing. Nothing really compares to a bird's eye view of Pokolbin, Lovedale and Rothbury from a wicker basket at sunrise — although having a champagne breakfast at nearby winery Peterson House afterwards does come close.
Start planning your great escape to New South Wales this season by visiting the Visit NSW website.
Top image: Bellingen Canoe Adventures, Destination NSW
Published on March 15, 2021 by Eleanor Scott