The Tweed is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance; this under-the radar gem on the NSW North Coast has been quietly gathering a collection of must-visit attractions worthy of a weekend away.
Blessed with natural beauty from the coast, to the river and the hinterland, the Tweed boasts world-class luxury accommodation, hatted restaurants and incredible paddock-to-plate experiences; you’ll wonder why you didn’t visit earlier.
Best of all, it’s easily accessible from Gold Coast or Ballina airports or a short drive from Brisbane.
Here are the 11 best things to do in the Tweed:
1. Tour, learn and taste local gin and rum
Arriving at Husk Distillers on a Sunday feels like stumbling across Neverland.
The venue is pumping with happy patrons sipping Ink Gin cocktails in the sunshine, families and couples sprawled out on the games lawn enjoying gourmet picnics and grazing platters; these laid-back locals have discovered the good life.
The story of Australia’s first paddock-to-bottle agricole rum distillery (the process of making rum from freshly crushed cane juice rather than traditional molasses rums) is a fascinating one, so be sure to book in a tour of the distillery. The tour also includes an Ink Gin and tonic on arrival and Husk rum tasting flight in the Barrel House. Husk is a must-visit in the Tweed.
Address: Husk Distillers, 1152 Dulguigan Road, Tumbulgum
2. Art immersion in Murwillumbah
On the banks of the Tweed River, Murwillumbah is the creative and cultural hub of the Tweed. Here you’ll find an industrial warehouse masterfully repurposed for artists and art lovers to come together over coffee, art and food at M|Arts.
Shipping containers act as art studio pop-ups for emerging artists, jewellers and makers from the region to connect with the public. Upstairs, Gallery DownTown is an annexe of Tweed Regional Gallery, providing extra exhibition space and making art more accessible to the community.
This vintage country town is dotted with Art Deco shopfronts and historic buildings best discovered on foot. Pick up a brochure at M|Arts for a self-guided walking tour of the beautiful Art Deco Facades of Murwillumbah.
Address: M|Arts Precinct, Corner Proudfoots Lane and Brisbane Street, Murwillumbah
3. A window to Margaret Olley’s life at Tweed Regional Gallery
Boasting panoramic views of the Tweed Valley to Wollumbin/Mt Warning, Tweed Regional Gallery features seven exhibition spaces allowing for a rotating roster of shows and touring exhibitions as well as the impressive permanent Margaret Olley Art Centre.
The Arts Centre celebrates the much loved artist’s life and work including a recreation of rooms of Margaret Olley’s home-studio a veritable treasure trove of paintings and household clutter that makes for fascinating viewing.
Address: Tweed Regional Art Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, 2 Mistral Road, South Murwillumbah
4. Farm to plate
If you love The Farm at Byron, you’ll love Farm & Co Kingscliff. This family farm grows organic produce, sold in store and on the plate in the cafe. Wander through the farm, breathe in the country air, feed the pigs and chickens and frolic among the sunflowers for a satisfying return to the simple life.
Nestled at the base of Wollumbin-Mt Warning, Mavis’s Kitchen is a relaxed country-style restaurant, housed in a grand old Queenslander on a sprawling 25-acre former dairy farm with an organic kitchen garden supplying much of the produce on the menu. Wander through the gardens, orchard or stroll around the lake at this idyllic country setting.
Address: Farm & Co, 529 Cudgen Road, Cudgen
Address: Mavis’s Kitchen, 64 Mt Warning Road, Uki
5. Vintage foraging
Drive to Burringbar to forage for vintage gold at Heath’s Old Wares. Heath’s is a cornucopia of antiques all neatly arranged by type. Heath’s is well known among vintage fossickers for its vast collection of antiques, collectables and unusual treasures. Follow ‘The Local Trail’, a curated list of like-minded antique stores compiled by Eva and Ross Heath stretching from Chinderah Bay Antiques in the north to Ludo’s Old Wares in Ullmara in the south, for the ultimate vintage foraging on the North Coast.
Address: Heath’s Old Wares, 19–21 Broadway, Burringbar
6. Coastal eats
Coastal dining doesn’t get much better than at the Tweed. Located beachfront in Kingscliff, you’ll find Greek-inspired modern restaurant Taverna in the cutest little cottage where bougainvillea climbs lazily along its white-washed walls.
In Cabarita Beach, highly acclaimed restaurant Paper Daisy at Halcyon House aims for sophisticated simplicity and is now helmed by Jason Barratt, formerly of Wategos and Stokehouse.
Previous Paper Daisy executive chef Ben Devlin has opened his own venue Pipit in Pottsville, taking coastal dining to a whole new level. The focus at Pipit is on sustainably sourced produce, so expect an inspired menu of plant-based and seafood creations. Choose a counter seat and watch the theatre of the open kitchen as chefs cook with fire over a charcoal pit.
Address: Paper Daisy, 21 Cypress Crescent, Cabarita Beach
Address: Pipit, Shop 4/8 Coronation Avenue, Pottsville
Address: Taverna, 22 Marine Parade, Kingscliff
7. Sleep in a forest
Get back to nature with a peaceful and tranquil stay in the lush Tweed hinterland. ecOasis offers six self-contained treehouses nestled in the forest with private balconies to sit and relax and soak up the spectacular views of Mt Warning.
Likewise, Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat offers luxury lodges surrounded by nature where you’ll wake to the sound of the nearby creek and abundant birdlife. Luxuriously appointed, these lodges are a hidden gem; so serene you won’t want to leave.
Address: ecOasis Resort, 55 Tatyewan Avenue, Uki
Address: Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat, 201 Booka Road, Upper Crystal Creek, Crystal Creek
8. Picture-perfect Kingscliff
Fresh from a $22 million facelift, the foreshore at popular seaside town Kingscliff is dazzling with beautiful new landscaping, making it a pleasure to stroll.
Few things are more enjoyable than connecting over food and conversations. What better way to reconnect than with a picnic in the great outdoors arranged by award-winning Blue Ginger Picnics? Focused on sustainability, founder Tania provides a bespoke menu handpicked from the region’s finest food producers, perfect for sharing al fresco.
The picture perfect setting is also plastic-free with handmade plates, beautiful linens and natural decor.
9. Halcyon Days
Halcyon House lives up to the hype as one Australia’s finest boutique hotels.
Originally an old-school motel, the building has been cleverly transformed into a stylish beachside getaway thanks to interior designer Anna Spiro. Featuring 19 rooms and two luxury two-bedroom suites, dreamy day spa and destination restaurant Paper Daisy, Halcyon House should be on your bucket list. Sip cocktails poolside and celebrate being one of the fortunate few.
Address: Halcyon House, 21 Cypress Crescent, Cabarita Beach
10. Taste the Tweed
Originally a family dairy, the next generation of the Harnett family has diversified the business by adding an artisan cheese making business, locavore cafe and retail space.
The happy herd supply the milk for the gourmet cheeses, like the deliciously oozy brie, perfectly paired with local condiments like The Chilli Chick’s treacle and onion relish. Pop in to sample the range and reduce those food miles by buying from paddock to platter.
Address: Tweed Valley Cheeses, 6091 Tweed Valley Way, Burringbar
11. Coffee Stops
Sweet treats and superior coffee can be found at a host of cafes around the Tweed. Baked at Ancora is a riverside patisserie serving local Tweed Heads roaster Ground Control coffee alongside exceptional baked treats.
Cubby Bakehouse is the brainchild of Ursula and Ben Watts, the dynamic duo behind the GC’s Paddock Bakery and Bam Bam Bakehouse. They’ve brought their skills south of the border to Chinderah, with baguettes being the hero of the riverside bakery.
Around the corner you’ll find Chinny Brew, where Ana and her team serve coffee cheerily from a vintage caravan. It’s become Insta-popular, as has the rest of the picturesque Tweed region.
Address: Baked at Ancora, 118 Wharf Street, Tweed Head
Address: Cubby Bakehouse, 162 Chinderah Bay Dr, Chinderah
Address: Chinny Brew, 89 Phillip Street, Chindera