Actually, it’s the lack of attractions that the Tweed Coast has to offer that attracts them!
North of the Queensland-New South Wales border is the Gold Coast, famous the world over for its high-rise skyline, white sandy beaches, and myriad tourist attractions. DreamWorld, SeaWorld, MovieWorld and a dozen or so other theme parks and tourists hot-spots. South of the border, the Tweed Coast – pristine coastline, spectacular surf breaks, deserted beaches and beauty – natural beauty that attracts visitors looking for a more relaxed, laid-back holiday.
Having visited the Gold Coast some months back, Dinah and I decided that this time south of the border was the spot for us and our caravan for a leisurely week in the winter sun. Crossing the border and transversing the Tweed River bridge, one is immediately aware of the change of landscape. Not a high-rise in sight. Instead open, rolling green countryside offering some of the most beautiful rural costal scenery you’ll find anywhere in Australia. The Tweed Coast is noted for its natural beauty, both that hugging the coastline and in the hinterland. Our destination was Pottsville, one of the many little hamlets that dot this part of the northern New South Wales coastline. I can remember as a teenager driving south from Brisbane on the weekend to surf one of the many of the then near-deserted coastal beaches. Now, these stretches of coastline are dotted with prestige residential housing developments as more and more families and retirees become locals and discover the natural joy of living and holidaying south of the border.
Meet the locals
There’s one group of visitors who flock here regularly. You’ll see them on the beaches, on the waterways and estuaries, sometimes gathered together in noisy groups, other times standing alone, a little aloof. Yep, it’s the seagulls, perhaps not the most sanitary of birds, but certainly the most graceful and grateful for any passing scraps. And very definitely locals.
Local inhabitants of the area are the bush stone-curlews – unusual looking birds that too are locals in this part of the world. The bush stone-curlew, or bush thick knee is a large, slim, mainly nocturnal ground-dwelling bird, mostly grey-brown and black, perfectly camouflage for the scrubby bush that they tend to inhabit. And it doesn’t take long to meet them and introduce yourself. While naturally timid, they are also somewhat inquisitive – particularly around feed time – our feed time! There are dozens of these curlews in the bush that surrounds the park and they are a protected species. Indeed, one of the local (human) park residents actually cares for their eggs each laying season to ensure that the locals continue to flourish and inhabit the park.
But there’s more to Pottsville than these strange looking residents with huge eyes and white bushy eyebrows. Originally named Potts Point after Bill Potts who owned the first dwelling here around 1930, Pottsville is a beautiful little village situated right on the coast. We’d pre-booked a site at the North Pottsville Caravan Park for 5 nights, an ideal short break when one considers that it is only about 250 kilometres from our home on the Sunshine Coast and an easy highway drive with all the way. The sites here are large, with plenty of room for our van and four wheel drive. We’d booked a site at the rear of the park that was in essence, a huge grassy field dotted with shade trees. So, easy to get the van into and easy to set up adjacent a shady Moreton Bay fig. A decided advantage of park was its proximity to the Pottsville Bowls Club, a short walk across the field and through a back gate into the club grounds. Here the food is inexpensive, the beer cold and the entertainment excellent. We enjoyed a number of early evenings here, a cold beer and a glass of cab-sav to toast the end of yet another action-packed day.
The village of Pottsville has a population of just under 7,000 and is an easy 10 minute stroll from the caravan park. Here you can stock up on groceries, purchase fresh bread and pastries from an excellent bakery or enjoy a flat white at one of a number of sidewalk cafes. There’s also a pub for a quiet drink, an evening meal or take-home supplies.
Located at the mouth of an idyllic creek that feeds into the ocean, Pottsville is famous for its excellent fishing from either the beaches or the estuary. It is also a great place for canoeing and, of course, bird watching. The village holds an annual Raft race Day in which a range of contests for young and old add up to family fun on safe waterways. Hastings Point, between Pottsville and Cabarita, is an attractive wetlands area with canoes for hire which can be paddled up the many estuaries. There is also a nearby golf course for those who simply can’t survive without a round or two.
One of the great things about Pottsville is its location, right in the heart of the Tweed Coast and so handy to towns such as Tweed Heads and Kingscliff to the north and Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay to the south. And then there’s the hinterland. While the coast road from Tweed Heads south is a tourist mecca, venturing west into the hinterlands will absolutely take your breath away. In the hinterland there are a huge number of attractions, including very famous national parks and guesthouses. The area is famous for wine-tasting, bird-feeding, eco-tourism and bushwalking. O’Reilly’s Guesthouse, Binna Burra and the Natural Arch are just some of the attractions of the area. I recall an area called “The lost World”. If you have ever seen the old Lost World movies where dinosaurs roam freely, then you can identify with this area. Dense tropical vegetation and crystal-clear icy streams reminiscent of a prehistoric landscape are a feature of parts of the hinterland. It really is like stepping back in time…millions of years back in time! And all this no more than a 60 minute drive due west from Pottsville.
The Tweed Coast has it all. Legendary surf breaks, endless sandy beaches, quaint seaside villages and a hinterland that takes you back 2 million years BC. An epic holiday destination.
Main picture: The visitors flock to the beaches to enjoy an early morning stroll
- Our caravan site at North Pottsville Caravan Park
- A 3 minute walk to the beach
- Looking out to sea
- Solitude at last
- The fishing is great here
- The Tweed Coast’s natural beauty
- Pottsville Memorial Oval
- Love the menu idea in a local coffee shop
- Yep. Pottsville Bowls Club
- How good is this camouflage?
- Now you see me, now you don’t
- Meet the locals