About Kunghur and Midginbil, NSW 2484

Northern Rivers Countryside

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Clarrie Hall Dam at Crams Farm, photo © Big Volcano® Tourism

Like most rural settlements in the region, Kunghur and Midginbil were established when timber getters harvesting the sub tropical rainforests, cleared the way for dairy and cattle farmers.

Photo © courtesy of Midginbil Hill

Dairy and cattle farming remain the primary industries, with outdoor activities like bushwalking and birdwatching available at budget camping grounds, and affordable retreats dotted around the district.

Attractions include Crams Farm Recreation Area via Midginbil.

The catchment for Clarrie Hall Dam, the primary water supply for the Tweed Valley, Crams Farm is a “local secret”.

The entry gate is open from 7.30am – 5.30pm, and extensive facilities include under-cover free electric B.B.Q.s, picnic tables, amenities block and shelter shed.

An all weather cricket pitch and kiddies playground near the main BBQs, provides family fun in stunning scenery.  Or you can enjoy an open air fireplace, dotted around the wide open spaces, under the trees.  Even with a large number of people using the facilities, it will seem deserted.

Crams Farm is also becoming popular as a wedding location, with Wollumbin/Mount Warning providing a stunning backdrop across the dam waters.

Nearby Midginbil Hill EcoResort which specializes in 3 day weekend weddings, also offers its own spectacular location for wedding ceremonies, with on-site accommodation and the reception venue included.

The Mt Burrell General Store, with a petrol bowser out front for those low on gas, serves the Mount Burrell and Kunghur communities, and is well stocked with groceries and food basics.

Next door, the Sphinx Rock Cafe offers alfresco dining while you admire the magnificent rural views, or groove out at their very popular Sunday arvo gigs, showcasing local talent.

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Rural view from Kyogle Road, photo © Big Volcano® Tourism

Three World Heritage Gondwana Rainforest listed properties are within easy drive.

Wollumbin (Mt Warning) National Park is less than 30 minutes drive north, with the road following the meandering path of the Tweed River, while Nightcap and Border Ranges National Parks make for a pleasant full day driving tour to the south and west.

For more information see Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Kunghur and Midginbil.

Disclosure: Midginbil Hill EcoResort is a Big Volcano Tourism customer.

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Crams Farm, NSW, 2484

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Crams Farm, Tweed Valley, NSW, © Big Volcano® Tourism

Crams Farm, Tweed Valley, NSW.

As seen on “Camp” TV series (2013 NBC), probably “I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here” (UK), and also for eagle eyed TV advert watchers, Mitsubishi Motors “Living out the back of the car” TV ads, but most notably in more and more wedding videos.

Villages of the Big Volcano

Northern Rivers, Gold Coast Hinterland and Scenic Rim

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Chillingham General Store, photo © Big Volcano Tourism

Many rural villages in the Northern Rivers are experiencing a revival in popularity, as young families and retirees decide to “treechange”, and move from the cities to the more relaxed atmosphere that seems to epitomise “the country”.

As a result of the agricultural, farming and logging pioneer past, you’ll find a general store, usually with an Australia Post agency attached, and a garage or petrol station, which usually doubles as the local NRMA or RACQ (motorists association) depot, in most of the villages throughout the region.

In larger hamlets and villages there’s almost always a pub with a restaurant or bistro, which often also provides comfortable but basic accommodation.

Previously empty shops laying long vacant due to changing demands and the “drift to the city”, are being reopened as cafes, arts & craft outlets, and other boutique services, while country markets are springing up in far flung villages, giving local residents a chance to get together more often, and visitors to have a day trip opportunity to a more rural location.

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Tyalgum street sign, photo © Big Volcano Tourism

Cafes offer menus with dishes using ingredients grown on-site, and farm restaurants hidden away in the hinterland, invite guests to experience a “paddock to plate” dining experience.

Local guest houses, B&Bs, homestay and farm stay accommodation provide an ideal location for those who really want to get away from it all, especially the never-ending demands of mobile phones.

Mobile reception can be patchy, and some villages may be in “black spots”, so it’s a wonderful chance enjoy a self imposed “digital detox”.

Many village destinations are popular for weekend getaways, especially the Gold Coast hinterland and Mount Tamborine in Queensland, and Uki near Mount Warning / Wollumbin, in New South Wales.

Beachside villages are usually more developed than their rural counterparts, with a wider range of shopping and professional services available,  including banking and medical services.

Beachside villages are also very popular with families during the QLD and NSW school holidays, with many caravan and holiday parks, and holiday apartments displying “no vacancy” throughout the holidays.

Check out the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Volcano Villages for an index to the beachside and rural villages of the region, with more information, including accommodation options, local tours & attractions, and how to get there.

Villages include Bonalbo and Tabulum, Kunghur, Uki, Chillingham, Mount Tamborine, Pottsville Beach, Hastings Point and Cabarita, Tumbulgum, Tyalgum, and Woodenbong.

About Twin Towns, NSW-QLD border

Tweed Heads, NSW, 2485 and Coolangatta, QLD, 4225

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Hangin’ ten at Coolangatta Beach, photo © Big Volcano Tourism

The Twin Towns can best be summed up by the three Esses: Sun, Sand, and Surf.

Located at the mouth of the Tweed River,  Tweed Heads in New South Wales, and Coolangatta in Queensland, share a main street that straddles the state border.

Some of the best sun bathing, swimming and surfing beaches in Australia are found here, with free barbeque and picnic facilities provided at adjacent beachside parks, by Tweed Shire and Gold Coast City councils.

Over the last decade, the area has re-established itself as a family resort destination, with modern luxury apartment and resort developments featuring sweeping ocean views, sitting alongside quaint single and two story Queenslander style lodgings converted to affordable backpacker hostels.

While the sporting clubs with their gambling and entertainment facilities cater to those who love the nightlife, the beach and ocean are still the primary natural attractions, with water based activities of all sorts easily accessible from here.

Fishing charters will take you on day trips “outside” for ocean fishing, or if your sea legs aren’t quite up to it, check out the local bird watching walks, with a number of accessible walks around the Tweed River and estuary.

Cook Island which is located just off the Fingal Head coast, is a popular diving and snorkelling spot, while Jack Evans Boat Harbour offers a safer “calm water” option, where you may even see the occasional dolphin or turtle swimming with the shoals of fishes.

Local institution – “Big Trev Watersports” has Stand Up Paddle, kayak and sailing equipment hire, and will include a lesson to get you started.

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Into the Blue at Cook Island, photo © Tony Tunstall, with permission

Guided day tours to the hinterland and world heritage rainforests, are available.  And 45 minute drive to the north, the obligatory day trip to the Gold Coasts’ famous theme parks will thrill the kids.

And when you’re too pooped to make like a masterchef in the kitchen, there are more than enough cafes, restaurants and eateries to choose from, from a stroll along Marine Parade and Griffith Street.

It can truly be said that Tweed Heads and Coolangatta stand between civilisation and the wilderness.

Here you can enjoy a Gold Coast stay, indulging in the beaches and the nightclubs, the rainforests and the retail therapy, all in the same day if you’ve got the energy!

Check out the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Tweed Heads / Coolangatta for more information, accommodation options, local tours & attractions, and how to get there.

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Tweed Heads and Coolangatta, photo © Matthew Lewis Photography, with permission

About Nimbin, NSW, 2480

Nimbin  exploded on Australia’s psyche in the 1970’s when it hosted the Aquarius Music Festival.

The unofficial capital of the “Rainbow Region” and Australia’s alternative lifestyle capital, old shopfronts have been converted to eateries and retail shops are gaily decorated in indigenous and new age motifs.

Accommodation has grown to include caravan parks, B&Bs, motel, backpackers and a pub, with a farmstay and cottage presence scattered in the hamlets around the village.

Look out for the Nimbin Rocks, particularly beautiful in the early morning sunlight, about 3 kilometres south of town.

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Nimbin Rocks as seen from a road lookout on the way to Mount Nardi.

Nimbin also provides convenient access to Nightcap National Park, one of the five World Heritage sites in the region.

Mount Nardi picnic area offers a starting point for walks of various lengths, or you can just enjoy a picnic and the views.

Check out the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Nimbin for more information, accommodation options, local tours & attractions, and how to get there.

About Murwillumbah, NSW, 2484

Very much a traditional style agricultural centre, Murwillumbah is located  in the middle of the Mt Warning caldera, with the nearby Mount Warning commanding virtually every view.

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Wollumbin / Mt Warning, photo © Big Volcano Tourism

The seat of the Tweed Shire Council, Murwillumbah also serves as the commercial centre for the smaller villages and residential developments in the valley.

Extensive and diverse accommodation around Murwillumbah ranges from backpacker lodgings, cottages, caravan parks, B&Bs, pubs and motels, though to exclusive 5 star cabins.

Many lodgings are within walking distance of the coach station, or a short and scenic drive out of the town in surrounding villages and localities like Uki and Crystal Creek.

You’ll hear locals refer to it as “Mur-bah” and debate the claim that Murwillumbah means “Place of many possums” in the local aboriginal dialect.

With a number of historic buildings in the art deco or federation style along Main Street, many of the shop fronts reflect the era, while there are also a tempting range of al fresco cafes and eateries scattered along its length for you to sit, relax and enjoy the ambience of a small country town.

The Murwillumbah Visitor and World Heritage Rainforest Centre, has relocated across the road to the old railway station, after a cyclonic event in March 2017, swept through the visitor centre, and also inundated the “southside” of the town with up to two metres of water.

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Tweed Regional Museum – Murwillumbah, photo © Big Volcano Tourism

For people not wishing to climb for the view, the popular 360-degree Green Cauldron Panorama, depicting the view of the region from the top of Wollumbin/Mt Warning, along with the Caldera Wildscapes Gallery, is now located at 60 Main St, Murwillumbah, with the entrance adjacent to the Court House Hotel.

Entry is free and open from 10am-4pm, Wednesday to Sunday.  Artists are also in residence, along with displays of their work, with many items for sale.

Entry is also free to the Tweed Regional Museum – Murwillumbah, which is open from 10am – 4pm Tuesday to Friday, and 10am – 4pm each Saturday.  Located in the original Tweed Shire Council Chambers, it features locally significant objects such as a massive Robey steam engine, the original Council Chambers meeting table and larger-than-life fibreglass Banana Jim, mascot of the annual Banana Festival.

The Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, on Mistral Rd, South Murwillumbah, is open from 10am – 5pm Wednesday to Sunday (fee entry), and is renowned not only for the commanding views over the Tweed River and valley, but is also home to the Margaret Olley Art Centre.

The gallery also features travelling exhibitions, local artists exhibtions, Art photographs, contemporary art and craftworks including ceramics, glass, fibre and timber, and various artistic activities during school holidays.

Caldera Farmers Market, is held at the showground every Wednesday, and is a great chance to meet and talk with local growers and getting fresh produce.   The monthly Murwillumbah Community Market, is on the 4th Sunday.

Check out the Big Volcano Farmers and Weekend Markets directory for details of all local markets.

Check out the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Murwillumbah for more information, accommodation options, local tours & attractions, and how to get there.