Northern Rivers, Gold Coast Hinterland and Scenic Rim
Many rural villages in the Northern Rivers are experiencing a revival in popularity, as young families and retirees decide to "treechange" and move from the cities to the more relaxed atmosphere that seems to epitomise "the country"
Photos © by D & J Palmer, except where credited otherwise.
As a result of the agricultural, farming and logging pioneer past, you'll find a general store, usually with an Australia Post agency attached, and a garage or petrol station, which usually doubles as the local NRMA or RACQ (motorists association) depot, in most of the villages throughout the region.
In larger hamlets and villages there's almost always a pub with a restaurant or bistro, often providing comfortable but basic accommodation. Arts and crafts outlets and roadside stalls selling local produce and products add to the ambience.
Local guest houses, B&Bs, homestay and farm stay accommodation provide an ideal location for those who really want to get away from it all, especially mobile phones. They often don't work in many places here*!
Beachside villages are usually more developed than their rural counterparts. As a result, a wider range of shopping and professional services are available, including sports clubs and facilities, restaurants, take away bars, mini-mart or small supermarket, banking, dentists, doctors and real estate agents who will also usually have a variety of holiday rentals and lease properties.
Villages of the Big Volcano
Bonalbo, Tabulum Kygole LGA: Accessed via Casino and Mallanganee, Tabulum and Bonalbo are in the Upper Clarence Valley, well and truly in the "back blocks" of the Big Volcano. Dairying and cattle raising, some timber milling, and farmstay, camping and wilderness lodge style of tourism are the mainstays.
Backcountry activities in the area include guided canoe tours, canoe hire, horse riding, fossicking, 4WD tours and private 4WD off road tracks at some bush camping and wilderness retreats. For the more adventurous traveller, there's also mountain bike trail riding, rock climbing and abseiling, along with the usual bushwalking and bird watching opportunities in the parks and reserves of the region. >> More Info
Burringbar, Crabbes Creek, Mooball, Stokers Siding New Tweed LGA: Rail Trail villages. Like a string of pearls on a necklace, the Tweed Valley Way villages of Burringbar, Crabbes Creek, Mooball, and Stokers Siding, were settled in the mid 1800s.
First by timber getters and dairy farmers, they were soon followed by sugar cane growers, and producers growing vegetables and tropical fruits, which thrived in the rich flood plain soils. Selling mostly to the accesible nearby towns of Murwillumbah, Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay, the fortunes of local farmers and the villages improved considerably after... . More Info
Cabarita, Bogangar Tweed LGA: The original name for this seaside village is Bogangar, believed to be an Aboriginal word meaning "place of many pippies".
In 2020, Cabarita Beach was named Australia's "Best Beach" by Tourism Australia's Beach Ambassador, Brad Farmer AM. Despite these accolades, "Caba", as it's known to locals, retains a laid back and relaxed holiday atmosphere, where the main activities are surfing (with a long right hand point break), swimming, beach and estuary fishing and canoeing. >> More Info
ChillinghamTweed LGA: Chillingham and Upper Crystal Creek are about 12 kilometres, or 15 minutes drive, along Tourist Drive 34 (Murwillumbah - Chillingham Road) from Murwillumbah, and is the NSW gateway to southeast Queensland World Heritage National Park.
Gold Coast Hinterland City of Gold Coast or Scenic Rim LGA: Still referred to as the "Green behind the Gold", the Gold Coast Hinterland is the gateway to the SE QLD rainforests, ranging from Tamborine Mountain in the north to Lamington and Springbrook National Parks in the south.
Settlements at Beechmont, Canungra, Springbrook and the Numinbah Valley, originally timber, farming and dairying communities, have gradually given way over the years to hobby farmers and new settlers seeking a more relaxed lifestyle.
As a result, visitors can choose from a wide variety of countryside accommodation including camp grounds, B&Bs, home stay, guesthouse, cabin style lodgings and cottages, many of which are original farm homesteads or refurbished workers dwellings. >> More Info
Kunghur, Midginbil Tweed LGA: Like most rural settlements in the region, Kunghur and Midginbil were established when timber getters harvesting the sub tropical rainforests, cleared the way for dairy and cattle farmers.
Photo © courtesy of Midginbil Eco Resort
Dairy and cattle farming remain the primary industries, with outdoor activities like bushwalking and birdwatching available at budget camping grounds around the district. >> More Info
Mount Tamborine Scecnic Rim LGA: As the Blue Mountains are to Sydney, so Tamborine Mountain is to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, for escapees, holiday makers and day visitors from the "big smoke". Actually three small settlements comprising North Tamborine, Eagle Heights and Mount Tamborine, many residents cater to visitors with predominently cottage, guesthouse inns and B&B style lodgings, making the area a very popular weekend and midweek getaway destination. >> More Info
Hastings Point Cudgera Creek Estuary photo © by J Palmer
Pottsville and Hastings Point Tweed LGA: Located on the Tweed Coast due east of Mt Warning, Pottsville offers a variety of accommodation, including holiday homes and flats, a motel, and two council run holiday parks.
Hastings Point just to the north of Pottsville, provide a more diverse range of lodgings, ranging from holiday bungalows and flats, to the council run holiday park, holiday apartments and the multi award winning North Star Holiday Resort. >> More Info
Tomewin Tweed LGA: Straddling the Queensland/New South Wales border about 20 kms inland from Tweed Heads and Coolangatta, the European history of Tomewin and the Currumbin Valley dates from the mid 19th century when the first settlers engaged in timber getting, cattle grazing and banana growing. A number of B&Bs, cabins and homestays take advantage of the spectacular views provided by the hillside locations and increased demand for secluded accommodation from weary and stressed out city dwellers. >> More Info
Tumbulgum Tweed LGA: Originally called the "Tweed Junction", or just "The Junction", the name was changed to the aboriginal derivation of "Tumbulgum" (proun. tum-BULgim not tumble-gum) in 1880 at the behest of residents, whose petition said the name meant "meeting place of the waters".
Popular with locals who come for the riverside picnic facilities, boat hire, public wharf and boat ramp, visitors can sretch their legs with a stroll along the heritage shop fronts or to partake of the enormously popular lunches and evening meals at the Tumbulgum Tavern. >> More Info
TyalgumTweed LGA: Tyalgum is an old cedar getting village, located virtually under the rim of the caldera due west of Mt Warning. This agricultural community produces mostly dairy and beef, but many new settlers are diversifying into alternative crops and enterprises such as coffee.
Famous for its hall, renowned for its acoustics and the attendant Classical musical festival each September, and the many hills, hikers and cyclists with strong legs can stay in the Tyalgum Hotel and other nearby accommodation. >> More Info
Uki, Mount WarningTweed LGA: Uki is a community based on dairying, with a base of tourist accommodation and expanding residential small acreage.
The village is a heritage conservation area with heritage buildings including the Mt Warning Hotel, the old Bank Building and the old Butter Factory, now converted to art and craft galleries and artisans workspaces.
Just about anywhere in Uki will provide you with stunning views of Mt Warning and ring dykes commonly known as "the 3 Sisters", while Mount Warning Road leads to the World Heritage listed Mount Warning National Park. Lodgings in the village and surrounding area include affordable and luxury B&Bs, guesthouse and motel style accommodation. >> More Info
Woodenbong, Urbenville Kygole LGA: If you make to Woodenbong or Urbenville, you're well and truly in the "woop woops" of the Big Volcano! This is not to say you've strayed "beyond the black stump", although you'll see a few of these around as a result of the timber getting of earlier times. Dairying and cattle raising, some timber milling, and a farm tourism presence are the mainstays.
If you want experience Australia's rugged backcountry and countryside vistas without getting beyond the black stump and into the outback, then you've found it here. >> More Info