Take a Northern New South Wales road trip and get beyond the beaches to discover the incredible things to do in Northern NSW. While we have been shut off, Northern New South Wales has come up with some real travel tempters.   Think authentic Mexican food, a classic pub stay, breakfast in the tropics, beach riding and balloon rides, and a bison farm where you can learn new tricks. From Tweed Heads to Casino here are nine new experiences to enjoy.

Plan a Northern New South Wales road trip

Sardinian pasta

Start your Northern NSW road trip with superb handmade pasta in the Tweed region.  Book a table at Gallura Italian where the chef draws inspiration from the Island of Sardinia and the Italian coastline. Head chef Mike Dackiw uses fresh local seafood, handmade pasta and innovative Sardinian methods to produce a variety of Italian dishes.

Byron Bay has a new hotel

A cute hotel stay is a road trip classic and a great think to do in Northern NSW where you’ll find some very cute and authentic pubs. Located in the Byron Bay hinterland, the new Eltham Hotel has five pub rooms. The rooms each have their own story and décor and pay homage to five women who loved and lived in the area. Hotelier Julia Ashwood has named them Margret, Delilah, Rhonda, Patsy and Estelle. The lively pub has fabulous food, live music and plenty of outdoor space.

While you are in Byron Bay, pop into local distillery Cape Byron Distillery.

Plan a Northern New South Wales road trip Duranbah

In-season produce at Tropical Fruit World, Duranbah. Photo: Destination NSW

Have breakfast on a tropical farm

Head to Duranbah for breakfast at Tropical Fruit World’s new Plantation Café. It’s the first time Tropical Fruit World has opened for breakfast in 37 years of operation!  The Plantation Café offers epic views of the 80-hectare working farm. The breakfast menu has all the classics with a signature tropical twist.

Things to do in Northern NSW – See it from the sky

What’s a Northern NSW road trip without a balloon flight? Byron Bay is Balloon Aloft’s newest location. They take guests to see magnificent ocean and hinterland views around the famed counterculture meccas of Bangalow, Mullumbimby, Nimbin and Lismore.

For more ballooning experiences try balloon rides on the Gold Coast and Ipswich.

Northern New South Wales road trip horse riding

Group enjoying a horse-riding experience along Tyagarah Beach with Zephryr Horses in Byron Bay. Photo: Destination NSW

Ride on the beach

Join a tour on horseback with Byron Bay horse ranch Zephyr Horses. They have personalised horse tours on the beach, in the beautiful subtropical woodlands and at ‘The Farm’. You will this is a very popular thing to do in Northern NSW.

Find authentic Mexican in Ballina

Maybe all those Queensland jokes about the Mexicans who live south of the border are true. One of your stops on this Northern NSW road trip should be a visit to Bob’s Tacos in Ballina, the new local favourite, will see you eating authentic Mexican dishes. Ballina is just 30 minutes’ drive from Byron Bay.

Laneway mural in the Back Alley Gallery in Lismore. Photo: Destination NSW

Laneway mural in the Back Alley Gallery in Lismore. Photo: Destination NSW

Find cutting edge street art in Lismore

A great stop for art lovers on this Northern NSW road trip is the Wilsons River Experience Walk in Lismore.  Check out the sculptures, or wander the laneways of the Back Alley Gallery to discover cutting-edge street art. Located on the Banks of Wilsons River, Lismore is home to a thriving arts community. It is widely known as the Northern Rivers’ “capital of culture”.

Don’t miss the Margaret Olley exhibition in the Tweed Regional Gallery too.  It’s one of my favourites.

Say hello to a bison!

Bison? Yes, really! Head to the Aranyani Bison Adventure Tourist Park in Casino to see them.

It’s a working American bison ranch offering visitors one of Australia’s unique experiences. Take one a walking tracks tour throughout the property, camp in Native American style tipis, learn archery and more.

Want more Northern NSW road trip ideas?

Where else can you go on a Northern NSW road trip? Try this trail foodie’s guide to NSW wine country or enjoy an edible adventure.