Day Trippin' WestFrom Cabarita Beach (part 1)

“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.”

Australian Traveller Magazine

Cabarita Beach is the perfect central location to base yourself and make the most of everything the Tweed has to offer. With only three roads to choose from for a day-trip from Caba, you only need decide which adventure to take first.

The road to the North takes you to the villages of Salt, Kingscliff, Cudgen, Chinderah and Fingal Head.

The road to the South takes you to destinations like Hastings Point, Pottsville, Burringbar, Mooball, Brunswick Heads, Mullumbimby and Byron Bay.

The road to the West takes you away from the coast through nature reserves, rural landscapes and country towns into the heart of the Mount Warning/Wollumbin caldera.

Visit the rural villages of Tumbulgum, Tyalgum, Uki and the country town of Murwillumbah or take the climb up the majestic mountain itself. Continue over the Border Ranges to experience Nimbin, the home of the 1973 Aquarius Festival and now the annual Nimbin Mardigrass Festival.

Day Trippin’ From Caba – West  (part 1)

Today let’s leave the coast and head west into the Mt Warning/Wollumbin caldera, the heart of The Tweed. Today is all about nature, culture and the obligatory cold bevvy with good food. Bring your walking shoes, hat, sun cream and some water, just in case you feel the urge.

Take Clothiers Creek Road which immediately takes you into the Cudgen Nature Reserve and the Koala Zone. You could see koalas, goannas, snakes and native birds.

Next you pass into scenic farmland, stop in at the Madura Tea Farm. There is a café, tea shop and you can take a tour of the Madura Tea Estates.

Continue on Clothiers Creek Road to the top of the ridge for some spectacular views. Take a short side trip by turning right onto Farrant’s Hill Road. On the left take in the view over fields of cane and out to the rim of the caldera that forms the border of NSW and Queensland. Continue and veer right onto Double View Road, not far along there is a fantastic view over the farmland you’ve just travelled through and the Pacific Ocean in the direction of our coastal villages.

Head back to Clothiers Creek Road and drop down from the ridge into sugar cane farm country. You will soon see the chimney of the Condong sugar mill where all this cane is processed. The sugar mill also burns organic trash to feed electricity into the power grid, this causes the steam you can see billowing from the chimney. Guided tours of the Condong Sugar Mill are available by appointment and are offered throughout the crushing season (typically July to November).

At the “T” intersection on Tweed Valley Way you can go turn right to Tumbulgum where you meet the boat for Mt Warning Tours, the historic Tumbulgum Hotel, the House of Gabrielle, the Birdwing Café and Curios. This is also the way to the must-visit of Husk Distillery at North Tumbulgum.

Australia’s first paddock-to-bottle agricole rum distillery, the Husk Distillery is one the must-visits on this day-trip. Take some time out to relax on the lawn in the sunshine, sip Ink Gin cocktails and enjoy a gourmet picnic on the lawn. The distillery tour is up there with the best I’ve ever encountered. The tour includes an Ink Gin and tonic on arrival and Husk Rum tastings in the Barrel House. Be sure to book well ahead of your visit.

For something a little different, you will find an old cemetery on Dulguigan Road, over the bridge at Tumbulgum, take the first right, past Husk Distillery, turn right, under the bridge, travel 1.8km to a small carpark on the right. You’ll need those shoes and your camera. Take the track up the hillside to the most peaceful place of rest I’ve ever been. The sun dapples through the trees with glimpses of the river below. Reading the headstones tells a story of a difficult way of life and tragedy for the people who lived and worked alongside the river in years gone-by.

Back at the intersection if you chose to go left, you will make your way straight into Murwillumbah, the cultural hub of the Tweed. If you chose to turn right onto Tumbulgum, you can back track or take the scenic route along Dulguigan Road and make your way into Murwillumbah by turning left onto Tomewin Road, over the Rouse River to Queensland Road.

Murwillumbah offers a variety of good cafes and restaurants. A long-time favourite of locals’ is The Austral, step back in time with a tasty range of basic cafe fare – from cakes to roasts and the best milkshakes. The booth seating and original vintage fittings will evoke nostalgic, pleasant memories. 

The Balcony is lovely for lunch, set one story above the street and for the vegetarians and vegans, try the New Leaf Café.

While on Queensland Road pop into the recently upgraded, Tweed Regional Museum where you’ll find fascinating artifacts and stories of the Tweed history.

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 annex of Tweed Regional Gallery.

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.

To visit the award-winning Tweed Regional Gallery, cross the bridge at the eastern end of Wollumbin Street and then head right onto Tweed Valley Way, just a three-minute drive from the roundabout. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and lawns and offering panoramic views of the Tweed River, the Tweed Regional Gallery is the perfect place to visit to view first-rate exhibitions.

The Gallery’s six exhibition spaces host a vibrant program of historical and contemporary touring exhibitions of national significance, alongside curated exhibitions of established national and regional artists. The program includes the $20,000 Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture. The Gallery’s collection includes a world class collection of portraits representing Australians from all walks of life.

Catering for all ages, visitors can participate in the Gallery’s exciting variety of programs including public events, exhibition openings, artists’ talks, demonstrations and workshops. The Gallery also offers a workshop and education area, Gallery Café with indoor and outdoor seating, Gallery Shop and research library.

The gallery is home to the Margaret Olley Art Centre. MOAC celebrates the career, life and legacy of its namesake, Margaret Olley – Australia’s most celebrated painter of still life and interiors.

Head home via Burringbar for a pasture-to-platter experience, Tweed Valley Farmhouse Cheeses, is open from 9am to 4pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday just 13 minutes from the art gallery. Enjoy unique farmhouse cheese made by hand on the farm, reflecting the individual character of only one farm and one herd. Sample and take home your choice of artisan cheeses to enjoy with your wine and crackers on the balcony at Caba Break later this evening.

Take Stokers Road to make your way over to Burringbar for another must-visit pasture-to-platter experience, Tweed Valley Farmhouse Cheeses, closes at 4pm and is only 13 minutes from the art gallery. Enjoy unique farmhouse cheese made by hand on the farm, reflecting the individual character of only one farm and one herd. Sample and take home your choice of artisan cheeses to enjoy with your wine and crackers on the balcony at Caba Break later this evening.

Visit Burringbar Gallery for antiques, tribal artefacts, collectables and local wares and art. With a large range of furnishings including sideboards, chairs, cupboards, tables and daybeds. Also, architectural beams, timbers, panels, doors and archways are available. Incredible carved Javanese Teak, Indian and Balinese pieces to choose from.

Also in Burringbar with something for everyone, you might find something special to take home from Heaths Old Wares, Collectables, Industrial Antiques, also in Burringbar.

You won’t find a pub in Burringbar (now that’s another story) but a little further along in Mooball (Moo-ble) you will find The Victory Hotel (named for the end of the story) serving cold beer, good food and a pool table.

Fuel up at the Moo Moo Roadhouse, here you can enjoy a good burger and milkshake.

Continue on Tweed Valley Way to the Wooyung Road turn off, this will take you back to the beach and into the larger village of Pottsville where you will find some particularly good restaurants and cafés.

I hope you’ve made a reservation as this is one of those must-visits, previous Paper Daisy executive chef Ben Devlin has opened his own restaurant 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.

Opposite Pipit you will find the newest coastal bar and dining experience on the Tweed Coast, if Baker + Farmer hasn’t made the must-visit list yet, it soon will. Pull up a seat at the indoor bench or grab a table at the sidewalk area where you can enjoy great food and beverages as you watch the world go by.

If you’re not staying on for dinner, continue north on Tweed Coast Road back to the Cabarita Surf club or The Beach Hotel for a cold beverage overlooking the Pacific Ocean as the sun sets on another beautiful day in Paradise.

Obviously, it would be difficult to visit and enjoy everything I’ve crammed into one day, but this is a guide meant to assist you to select the experiences that you will enjoy and those that you’ll have to come back for tomorrow or your next visit to Caba.