11 Lovely Lookouts on the NSW North Coast
Lookouts offer the perfect opportunity to take in the beauty of our region. Here are 11 top locations, in no particular order, to soak up the serenity….
Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay
The most eastern point of Australia, Cape Byron Lighthouse is a must-do on any north coast itinerary. Set the alarm clock to be the first in Australia to see the sunrise and stay longer to spot whales or dolphins playing below. There’s also a lovely walk out to the lookout, and plenty of nearby coffee and breakfast options for a delicious ending to a perfect morning!
Catch the sunrise over the ocean in Byron Bay. Image by Hugh Stewart: Destination NSW
Iluka Bluff Lookout, Clarence Valley
The Clarence Valley’s Iluka Bluff Lookout boasts an aerial view of Bundjalung land, including the mouth of the mighty Clarence River to the south and the forests of Woody Head to north. Breathe in the salt air as you watch Iluka’s famously good surf crashing against the cliffs below.
Harry’s Lookout, Port Macquarie
A popular wedding destination, Port Macquarie’s Harry’s Lookout sits on a cliff looking over the wild and rocky Shelly Beach. Named after the former caretaker of the beach, the lookout is scattered with beautiful hand cut wooden features that tell Harry’s fascinating story. Be sure to head down to Shelly Beach afterwards to explore the rock pools.
Dorrigo Skywalk Lookout, Dorrigo
You can’t beat the Dorrigo Skywalk Lookout for birds-eye views of one of the most spectacular rainforests on the coast. Directly connected to Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Skywalk Lookout includes a 70-metre boardwalk that stretches out from the edge of an escarpment high above the forest.
From the lookout you can spy the double peak of McGraths Hump – also known as Old Man Dreaming in Gumbaynggirr legend. Birdwatchers can look out for rare regent bowerbirds, topknot pigeons and grey goshawks.
If you want to immerse yourself in the forest, tackle the beautiful Rosewood Creek walking track that heads out from the Rainforest Centre.
Views galore from Dorrigo Skywalk Lookout. Image courtesy of Destination NSW
North Brother Mountain Lookout, Laurieton
Rising up out of a flat expanse of land, North Brother Mountain is an imposing sight. Situated in the Camden Haven’s Dooragan National Park, the lookout at the top of the mountain is accessible by car and offers one of the most elevated and panoramic views in coastal NSW (there is also a walking track that begins at the base of the mountain for those who want to earn their view the hard way!).
From the lookout you’ll see the beautiful Camden Haven Inlet that leads to a tangle of winding rivers and expansive lakes. Views extend to Crowdy Head in the south and as far as Mount Yarrahappini in the north. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness a paraglider or hanglider taking off from the summit – North Brother Mountain is a mecca for adventure-seekers.
Charles Hamey Lookout, Camden Haven
Another Camden Haven gem, Charles Hamey Lookout, perches over a steep cliffs above a wild south-facing beach. Offering stunning coastal views of Googleys Lagoon, North Brother Mountain and Diamond Head, the lookout is also a great place to spot whales and dolphins.
If you feel like stretching your legs, take the short Flower Bowl Circuit walk in Kattang Nature Reserve – the wildflowers are spectacular in spring! You can also take on the longer track out to Perpendicular Point where you’ll find another excellent lookout.
Muttonbird Island Lookout, Coffs Harbour
You could spend a whole day exploring Coffs Harbour’s Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve, a seabird rookery that also happens to have some of the best views of the Coffs Coast. Begin by taking the short walk out to the island from the jetty and explore the island – enjoying wonderful views from all sides. You can also download the Muttonbird Island self-guided tour app to learn more about the attraction’s history and environmental significance.
Sunset from Muttonbird Island. Image courtesy of coffscoast.com
Flat Rock lookout, Manning Valley
Flat Rock Lookout is located in the Coorabakh National Park near Wingham in the Manning Valley. The volcanic rock formation of flat rock looks out over the Coxcomb, Goonook and Killabakh nature reserves over a sheer drop of 500-metres. Birdwatchers are encouraged to keep an eye out for birds of prey, who are known to nest in the cliffs.
Forest Sky Pier, Coffs Harbour
The award-winning Forest Sky Pier at Sealy Lookout in Coffs Harbour is conveniently located only nine-kilometres from the town centre. Built on an escarpment 310-metres above Coffs, the Forest Sky Pier projects 21.6 metres beyond the original lookout. It offers expansive views of the town’s foreshore and marina, the Solitary Islands Marine Park, surrounding mountain ranges and the coastline 100km to the south.
Be sure to visit the award-winning Forest Sky Pier. Image courtesy of Destination NSW
Cape Hawke Lookout, Forster
Erected at the end of a beautiful 500-metre hike through littoral rainforest, Forster’s unique Cape Hawke Lookout sits atop a tower with 360-degree views. On a clear day, you can see Booti and Wallingat National Parks all the way through to Barrington Tops. Due to its elevation, the lookout is also an excellent place for whale watching in season.
Thunderbolts Lookout, Barrington Coast
This one may be just a touch outside Coastbeat country but with Forster and the Great Lakes region now considered part of the Barrington Coast, it’s too gorgeous a location not to have on our list. Thunderbolts Lookout is in Barrington Tops National Park (part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia) between Gloucester and Stone. It’s a short and easy walk to the lookout which offers breathtaking views across the plateau. A little-known fact? It was once a popular spot for bushrangers.
What a view from Thunderbolts Lookout. Image by Don Fuchs: Destination NSW
For more ideas on how to enjoy the great outdoors in our region, check out our recent adventures.