New South Wales possesses some of the most spectacular beaches in the country, and the beaches of the Mid North Coast certainly hold their own against the 'Bondi's and the 'Byron's, but unlike those world famous beaches, you are much more likely to get lucky and possibly have a few of these beaches almost all to yourself.
It was far too hard to rank the incredible beaches listed below as they all have their unique features that make them all equally 'must visit' depending on what you are looking for, whether it be big surf, family friendly, or most likely to offer you peaceful solitude.
Hungry Head Beach, Urunga.
One of our favourites, and only five minutes south from the town of Urunga you will find Hungry Head Beach which is the go to beach for local surfers and locals who call the Bellingen Shire their home. With approximately 5km of sand, all surrounded by vegetated dunes of the Bellinger Heads State Park to the north, the beach will make you feel miles from civilisation especially if visiting outside of peak holiday times or in the late afternoons.
The Urunga Surf Life Saving Club is located just down the hill to the right of the headland and have beach patrols from October to April on weekends and in school holidays. There are bathroom and shower facilities with picnic areas located up on the headland surrounded by bushland. When the Dalhousie Creek channel is open, it makes the perfect protected spot for younger children, standup paddleboards and kayaks.
The southern beach stretches over 2km to the south towards Wenonah Headland, which is another popular local spot off the beaten path accessed by dirt road, and a sacred place for local Gumbaynggirr with the land now falling under Native Title. Just to the north of Hungry Head is the spot favoured by most of the surfers that head there, and 4WDs can access this section of beach the spot known as the "sand mines" off Hungry Head Road.
Keep your eyes out for sea eagles, kangaroos, kookaburras and goannas as Hungry Head is a sanctuary for the local wildlife.
View from Hungry Head towards Wenonah Headland in the south.
A fantastic spot for families, Main Beach is backed by rugged cliffs that are popular with paragliders, and the beach has great sized waves for kids.
The Nambucca Heads Surf Life Saving Club is located near the southern headland and has patrols during the warmer school holiday periods and weekends. The Surf Club Cafe is located on the club's roof that overlooks the beach and are open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday to Sunday with live music Sundays for their Sunday Sips sessions.
Although not the greatest surf, you will often find a couple of surfers towards the northern end of the beach, however, we recommend Hungry or Valla for surf beaches nearby.
Nambucca Head's Main Beach.
This beach is an oasis from the crowds, and more often than not, you will have it all to yourself. With over 7kms of pristine beach next to the Bongil Bongil National Park, this is a must do for explorers and nature lovers.
Spend the day walking the trails within the National Park and then hit the beach for a splash to cool down.
Make sure you keep your eyes up when walking under the trees as Bongil Bongil is the best place for bird watching and to spot a koala, as well as many other native wildlife that make this stunning coastal National Park their home.
Secluded Bongil Beach looking towards Nunguu Mirral in Valla (Pickett Hill)
Coffs Harbour's famous jetty is the stand out of this beach. Providing a launching pad for the brave, the waters here are calm and without rips due to the protection given by the Marina breakwall and Muttonbird Island to the northern end, and the breakwall from the headland to the south.
This is a great spot to settle in for the day. With children's playgrounds along the foreshore, dining at the Marina, and the regular Jetty Markets every Sunday, and the Jetty Carnival during the January evenings, there will be enough to keep the whole family entertained.
Aerial of Coffs Jetty Beach located within the northern Marina and southern breakwall.
Popular for its surf and, and among holiday makers and locals, Valla Beach is another gem along this section of coast with a stretch of approximately 4km of sand between Deep Creek to Oyster Creek.
The town itself possesses that small surf town charm that it reminiscent of childhood family holidays filled with surf shacks along the main street until you hit the water.
South Beach is patrolled through the Christmas school holidays and has amenities and picnic facilities, however this beach can be hazardous due to its proximity to Deep Creek so swimming there outside of the patrol times is generally unadvised.
South Valla Beach.
This is the pick for parents of small children! Technically not a beach as it is not situated on the edge of the ocean, this saltwater swimming pool with small sandy beach is actually located within the tidal lagoon behind the break wall where the Kalang and Bellinger Rivers converge before they reach the ocean, and is also where you will find the well known kilometre long Urunga Boardwalk.
The Lido features an accessible jetty that is popular with the big kids as they jump into the water, and ramp access to the adjoining pontoon, as well as Mobimat access to the sand for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. The area also has a children's playground close by, picnic tables and BBQs, grassed space for the picnic blanket, bathroom and shower facilities, making it the perfect spot for families to stay the whole day.
To access the Lido, turn into the Reflections Holiday Park and head to the water where you will find a carpark and shared cycleway that travels between Riverside Holiday Resort and Hungry Head.
Urunga Lido Jetty, Pontoons, Boardwalk and beach ramp access, Urunga.
A favourite tourist spot, the beachside historical village of Sawtell is one of those gorgeous towns everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetimes. With heritage listed Weeping Figs (Ficus microcarpa) that are nearly 80 years old, native to the coastal rainforests of Queensland, lining the boulevard main street of First Avenue, as well as a great range of cafes, restaurants, bars, boutique shops, the original art deco cinema, and pub that make this town a stand out.
The 2km long beach has some great surf and is patrolled by the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club, which also happens to be the main entrance to the beach, from September to April on weekends and during school holidays. With kiosk, grassed area perfect for the picnic blanket, viewing platform, and all the other facilities needed for a great session at the beach, it is a must add to your holiday itinerary.
Sawtell Beach with Surf Life Saving Patrol.
The longest beach in this region extending for 8.75 km from the rocks at Bundageree Head south-southwest to where Urunga's rivers enter the Pacific Ocean, North Beach is another beach that seems to have it all.
Patrolled by the Bellinger Valley Surf Life Saving Club through October to April on weekends and holidays with easy access from the town of Mylestom, to the north towards Repton the beach runs alongside the Bongil forest and some of the most isolated stretch of beach in the state, and towards the south the beach stretches alongside Urunga Island and is popular for beach 4x4ing.
Grab a coffee from the Mylestom General Store, hit the playground with the kids and jump in the Bellinger River tidal pool while you are there to cap off the day.
Aerial of North Beach, Urunga.
Backed by the high vegetated ridge of Nambucca Heads, this beach is a great one to add to your list. With access to Main Beach to the northern end and the V-Wall to the south, Shelley Beach is a fantastic spot to head to if you are wanting to explore a little of the stunning Nambucca coastline.
The headland offers some protection making this a popular spot after Main Beach for swimmers, but visitors need to be wary of rocks and reef to avoid harm.
If you head to the northern end of Shelleys where it turns into Beilbys Beach before you round the headland to Main Beach in the early mornings, you might get lucky and catch @ahippychickwithastick creating one of her mandala artworks in the sand (head to her instagram to check out her work).
Aerial of Shelly Beach, Nambucca Heads.
Located just to the north of Coffs Creek (which is a fantastic spot to take toddlers and young children), Park Beach is Coffs "main" beach, and home to the Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club. Located next to vegetated dunes and parkland of the foreshore, Park is a great beach if you are looking for all the facilities, playgrounds, picnic tables and playgrounds.
A popular place for surf, although Park South Beach (sometimes called North Wall Beach) to the southern end can often get crowded, Park Beach is the best spot in town to head to get a taste of why the Coffs Coast is known as one of the best beach holiday destinations.
Aerial of Park Beach to the north of Coffs Creek, Coffs Harbour.