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Shoalhaven might not be the first place to come to mind when thinking of Australia—but it should be. That is if you enjoy surfing sparkling turquoise waters, immersing yourself in the verdant trails and gorges of Ben’s Walk, and exploring caverns and sea cliffs through Gosangs Tunnel. Looking for something a bit more restful? Enjoy stunning views (particularly at sunset) from the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse before feasting on local treats at one of the coastal region’s 20 vineyards.
Ideally situated for exploring the small coastal towns and nature reserves of New South Whales, Coffs Harbour appeals to independent travellers and families alike with its expansive beaches and adventure opportunities. There's something for everyone, from whale-watching and bushwalks to the Big Banana Fun Park.
Byron Bay's beaches are dotted with lighthouses and surrounded by bottlenose dolphins, rays, whales and sea turtles. This former New South Wales whaling station turned tourist town is still strongly influenced by its recent bohemian past, when hippie lifestyles flourished. Bongos and didgeridoos sound in parks, sarongs and dreadlocks are common, and vegetarian restaurants abound. Give in to the casual vibe and stroll between beaches and bars for a low-key and happy day.