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Dotted throughout the rolling green hills of the region are tiny, postcard-perfect villages just waiting to be explored. Each village has its own character and charms, with antique and curio shops, galleries, teahouses and cafés.

Enjoy a coffee, cool drink or tasty meal at the friendly pubs and cafes along the way. Explore village galleries, artists’ studios, markets, curio shops and nurseries and soak up the timeless tranquillity of rural village life.

These villages have a timeless serenity that is deeply relaxing. A day trip through the hills is a delightful way to absorb the atmosphere of the region, or why not base yourself in a tranquil hinterland retreat and spend a few days meandering through the lush countryside? Stroll through pristine rainforest, visit local markets or just hide out in the hills with a good book! There’s no better way to relax and rejuvenate far from the bustle of the city and coast.



The panoramic view from the Open Air Cathedral makes it a popular spot for outdoor weddings or just a quiet place to sit and ponder. Bexhill’s tiny church is renowned for its outstanding organ with recitals sometimes attracting organists from Sydney and Brisbane. 

The little General Store on the main street has some great local produce and products. Pick up some of their fruit and vege on your way to Rocky Creek Dam for a family picnic.

Bangalow, Road Lismore (10kms north of Lismore)



Once a staging post on the Lismore to Bangalow Road, Clunes is said to be the birthplace of the area’s dairy industry. Whilst the village is named after a pioneering engineer called Robert Mortimer Clunes, it is fitting that Clunes is a Gaelic word for “pleasant place”. Clunes has beautiful examples of North Coast federation houses and some early Australian church architecture.

Stop at the Clunes General Store for a coffee or pizza and a taste of the friendly village atmosphere. Enjoy breakfast, while soaking in the sunshine, from the comfort of their outdoor dining area.

Bangalow Road, Lismore (20kms north of Lismore)



Surrounded by endless rows of macadamia plantations, it’s not hard to see why the village of Dunoon is known as the Macadamia Capital of Australia. Dunoon is also the gateway to Rocky Creek Dam, the major source of the region’s drinking water and one of the most beautiful picnic and barbeque spots around.

Swimming and boating are prohibited but there is a great kids’ playground and plenty of nature walks.

If you prefer to dine in style, take the family along to the Dunoon Sports Club overlooking the lush grounds of the Dunoon Sports and Recreational Club. 

Dunoon Road, Dunoon



Just off the Lismore to Bangalow Road, between Bexhill and Clunes, the historic railway village of Eltham is nestled in a lush and picturesque valley. Hire the local court for a game of tennis then pop across the road for a refreshing ale at the classic country pub, the Eltham Hotel, living up to its name with real country hospitality.

Take a short drive along Boatharbour Road to Eltham Valley Pantry, a lovingly restored farmhouse café on a working pecan and coffee plantation. Join the morning or afternoon tours of the farm ,by appointment, sample the Pantry’s delicious home baked fare and take home some fresh coffee and pecans.

Eltham Road, Eltham



On the edge of the rainforest, the tiny hamlet of Rosebank is dotted with macadamia and coffee plantations and home to Rosebank Gold, the very first coffee plantation in the region. Make sure your visit includes a trip to Minyon Falls at the eastern edge of the Nightcap National Park

The falls sometimes trickle, sometimes tumble over 100 metres to the valley floor below and the view overlooking the rainforest gorge and valleys beyond is breathtaking. If you’re feeling energetic, take the trail to the base of the falls for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waterfall pools.

the channon: currently closed due to flood damage


This pretty little village is set in the foothills of the Nightcap Ranges draped in tranquil subtropical rainforests. The Channon is home to the original North Coast craft market and over 30 years on, their “make it, bake it or grow it” philosophy still holds firm. The Channon Market is on every second Sunday of the month.

The old butter factory on the banks of Terania Creek has been transformed to the heritage-listed Channon Tavern, a popular bar where visitors and locals mix. The tavern’s Nightcap Ranges Restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday serving delicious meals and crispy ales.

On the second Sunday of each month, up to 10,000 people pour into the village to enjoy wonderful home-made cuisine and hand crafted goods, be entertained by buskers and to soak up the colour and energy of this bold and funky market. With up to 250 stalls, the market is one of the biggest and most popular in regional NSW.

Travel 15 kilometres along the winding Terania Creek Road to the World Heritage-listed Nightcap National Park. Follow the gorgeous rainforest trail along the babbling, palm-fringed creek to Protesters Falls, named after the protesters whose anti-logging campaign in the late 1970s led to the declaration of the National Park in 1983 and generated world wide awareness of the need to preserve our natural environments. Swimming is not permitted as it is home to the endangered Fleay’s barred frog.



Downstream from Lismore on the Wilsons River’s meandering journey towards the sea, the village of Wyrallah was once a bustling river port. Just south of the village, stop off at the Aboriginal Bora Ring at the back of the Tucki Tucki Cemetery, a sacred ceremonial site for the Bundjalung tribes of the region estimated to be at least three centuries old. 

Further down the road, the Tucki Tucki Nature Reserve is a koala haven which was planted out in the 1950s by concerned locals to preserve the natural habitat of these national treasures. Look high in the trees and you may just spot one of these sleepy little locals.

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