10 Unusual Places to Stay on the North Coast

Shopping in the Heart of
Coffs Harbour

Seeking a change from your usual hotel or caravan park? Why not consider one of these unique accommodation ideas for your next holiday…

  1. An American bison ranch

If you’re like me, you’ve never even seen a bison let alone camped beside a herd of them. Aranyani Bison Adventure Tourist Park is looking to change this situation by opening its genuine bison ranch in the Northern Rivers area of Myrtle Creek to visitors, who can take tours of the 1180-acre property (interacting with the animals) and glamp it up in Native American style tipis. The park also features a swimming pool, bushwalking tracks, beach volleyball, cricket and wiffle baseball, a putt-putt course, bicycle hire, canoeing and fishing.

10 Unusual Places to Stay on the North CoastImages of Aranyani Bison Adventure Tourist Park by Jimmy Malecki

  1. A yurt by the sea

If you’re after a quiet seaside getaway with a difference why not try a yurt holiday? Located in the beautiful Coffs Coast village of Mullaway, this charming architecturally designed ‘Yurt by the Sea’ is a very cool option. While the yurt design has been used for centuries by nomadic herdsman in central Asia, Yurt by the Sea offers all the modern luxuries – including a private outdoor bath and air-conditioning – for a delightful stay. Pets are also welcome.

  1. A houseboat on the Clarence River

One of my favourite childhood holidays was spent on a houseboat on the Clarence, so this option comes highly recommended. I remember waking up early to jump in for a morning swim and playing on the deck for hours while our parents fished. Ahh, the simple joys. Over 400km from source to sea, the Clarence is one of Australia’s largest and most majestic waterways and hiring a houseboat from Grafton2Yamba Houseboat Hire is the perfect way to explore the river and the historic villages that line it.

  1. Rent a vintage caravan

Channel your inner hippie by hiring your very own vintage caravan through RetroPod, a Byron Bay-based company who offer ’60s-style vans that are sure to bring a smile to your face. The team at RetroPod also set the van up on your chosen site (from Lennox Head to the Gold Coast), so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the sun, surf and vintage vibes!
10 Unusual Places to Stay on the North CoastHoliday in a vintage caravan. Image courtesy of RetroPod

  1. Sleep in a lighthouse

Lighthouses are top of the list of most north coast day-trip itineraries, but few people think to extend their stay overnight. Located in one of the most beautiful places in Australia, Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse at Seal Rocks offers accommodation in the old lighthouse keeper’s quarters atop a headland facing the turquoise waters of Pacific – the ultimate place to watch the sunrise from the warmth of your own little cottage.

10 Unusual Places to Stay on the North CoastRoom with a view at the Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages. Image by Julie Therre

  1. Experience country life at a farm stay

Set on a 500-acre Hereford cattle stud near Gloucester, Ashmar Farm Stay is a NSW Tourism Award Winner that gives kids (and adults) the opportunity to experience all the fun aspects of authentic farm life. Try your hand at milking a cow, collecting farm eggs or feeding animals and enjoy a hayride around the property. Guests stay in a gorgeously furnished cottage and can opt for a three-course home-cooked meal. Perfect for a family getaway!

  1. Wake up in a treehouse

If you’ve always dreamed of staying in a treehouse, you’ll love the Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat. Built on a 12-acre garden property in the Camden Haven, the luxury treehouse is designed to blend into its forest environment and includes an ‘airwalk’, a kitchen garden and a chook house with doors especially made for guests to access eggs for their breakfast.

  1. Go back to school

One of the little-known gems of the Macleay Valley hinterland, the 127-year-old Turners Flat School is now a beautifully restored self-contained cottage on a working farm. ‘Old School’ features a pool, a tree swing, farm animals and the nearby Macleay River – a delightful base for exploring the waterways and forests of this undiscovered region.

10 Unusual Places to Stay on the North CoastBack to school in the Macleay Valley Hinterland. Image courtesy of Turners Flat School

  1. Experience the off-grid life

Ever wondered what it would be like to truly get away from it all? Araluen Dome is an off-grid, solar-powered dome located on a permaculture farm in the northern rivers. Surrounded by sub-tropical rainforest, the dome’s drinking and showering water comes straight from a nearby mountain spring. Guests can also learn about permaculture gardening, swim in local swimming holes and pat the friendly farm animals. It doesn’t get much closer to nature than this!

  1. Stay in an old homestead

The beautifully restored East Kundarang Homestead lies in an isolated nook of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, right beside the Macleay River. The 1890s pastoral station is perfect for a family getaway or isolated retreat, where you can swim in the river, hike mountain walking trails, paddle canoes or fish ‘til your heart’s content.