Want to take the family away for a stunning beach holiday without having to jostle with hundreds of others for that perfect patch of sand? Look no further than Kingscliff, on the New South Wales north coast.
About a 90-minute drive south of the Brisbane CBD, Kingscliff boasts all the natural beauty of the Gold Coast without the crowds. The beaches in this part of the world are pretty spectacular, with clean white sand and blue-green waves spanning as far as the eye can see.
Our toddler spent hours down on Salt Beach (also known as South Kingscliff), bucket and spade in hand, digging in the soft sand. The beach is so wide that even at high tide she was able to build her sandcastles without fear of getting swamped by any big, scary waves. There's also plenty of space to kick a ball, play a game of cricket, run, walk, or just chase after the dog. Basically, there's plenty of room for everyone. If you're lucky (like we were!), you may even spy a playful pod of dolphins frolicking in the waves just off shore.
Salt Beach is patrolled year round, while Kingscliff Beach is patrolled during the school holidays (winter excluded) plus all weekends from September to April.
Cudgen Creek Estuary
For those – like our toddler – not so keen on cooling off in the surf, Kingscliff's Cudgen Creek Estuary is a must-visit location. This calm and idyllic spot is perfect for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. You could even drop a line in if fishing's your thing. We found it the perfect spot for our little one, who enjoyed splashing around in the calm shallows while digging in the wet sand. The occasional presence of little fish swimming along just offshore was also a highlight.
A great way to see a larger slice of this lovely stretch of coastline is by bicycle. We managed to cover about 10 kilometres of beachside terrain before the novelty wore off for the toddler and the screaming started. But if you do fancy a longer ride, you're in luck, as the entire Tweed Coast has an exceptional network of off-road bike paths. There's plenty of info, including cycle path maps, on the local council's website.
If food's more your passion, you'll be pleased to hear this charming seaside town punches well above its weight when it comes to dining options. Several trendy cafes line Kingscliff's main street, along with takeaway joints, an ice creamery and a renovated pub. If it's a meal with a view you're after then you can't go past the Surf Life Saving Club.
We picked the trendy-but-affordable (and family-friendly) Kettles On Café, plonked ourselves down at a street-side table and happily watched the world go by (while munching on some pretty tasty burgers).
Kettles On Cafe serves a decent burger
During our weekend in Kingscliff, we stayed in a self-catered apartment at Mantra on Salt Beach (just a couple of kilometres out of town). The resort is extremely family friendly, with amenities including a couple of stunning pools, tennis courts, bike hire and plenty of on-site dining options at Salt Village. The large balcony overlooking the sea was the perfect spot to devour some takeaway fish and chips.
The pool at Mantra on Salt Beach
There are plenty of other accommodation options in and around Kingscliff, including Peppers Resort & Spa (also at Salt Village), holiday apartments, and tourist parks. All in all, there's something for everyone in this beautiful coastal town, especially if you've got a family in tow.