The Northern Rivers region of NSW blends old-school and new-age, where the world’s largest expanse of subtropical rainforest meets mountains forged from ancient volcanoes, overlooking more than 300 kilometres of spectacular coastline.

Centrally located between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, at Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat you’ll be ideally positioned to discover the region’s cultural diversity, magnificent beaches, fantastic eateries, famous markets, fabulous galleries and sight seeing adventures.

Read more about Husk Farm Distillery

Husk Farm Distillery

A day at Husk Farm Distillery is a must-do when visiting the Northern Rivers. Husk is an easy 30-minute drive from Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat.

Read more about Husk Farm Distillery

Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Explore some of the most spectacular countryside in Australia on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail as it winds its way through scenic towns, villages and rail tunnels and across historic bridges.

Enjoy the area’s natural beauty

The lighthouse and keeper's house at Byron Bay are popular tourist destinations year-round

From the creek to the coast

Upper Crystal Creek is considered one of the most picturesque areas in the Tweed Valley, with spectacular views from Mt Warning to the Springbrook Range. Named for the semi-precious stones found here, Crystal Creek was first settled by Europeans searching for red cedar in the mid-19th century.

In the Tweed valley, long open beaches and quiet secluded coves fringed by forest are perfect for swimming and shady picnics. The coastline between Murwillumbah and Byron Bay has some of the world’s best surf beaches – watch dozens of surfers enjoying world-class surf waves or stroll along an isolated stretch of white sand with hardly a person in sight.

In the Cape Byron State Conservation Area near Byron Bay, take a tour of the lighthouse, which has stood on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland for a century. The rugged headland is a great spot for watching turtles, dolphins and humpback whales on their annual migration. Whales can often be easily seen in the deep ocean at Fingal Head or Hastings Point lookout.

This ridge is the northern perimeter of Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat and the state border with Queensland

National Parks

If you enjoy the beautiful walks at Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat, you’ll love exploring our magnificent natural heritage on hundreds of walking tracks throughout the National Parks between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Our own property’s northern boundary is the state border between New South Wales and Queensland.

Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat adjoins Numinbah Nature Reserve on three sides. The Reserve has a common border with Lamington National Park in Queensland, which in turn adjoins Springbrook National Park. Also accessible on day trips from our Retreat are Wollumbin (Mount Warning) National Park, Border Ranges National Park, Mebbin National Park, Nightcap National Park and Mount Jerusalem National Park, all in New South Wales.

National Bridge – 35min drive

Natural Bridge is in the western part of Springbrook National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.

The park’s Natural Bridge section features a picturesque rock formation, formed by the force of the waterfall over the basalt cave. It is easily accessible from the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road car park. While travelling through Numinbah Valley, take in the commanding views of the impressive cliffs that line either side of the valley, this landscape was formed by the Tweed volcano some 23 million years ago.

Follow the easy one-kilometre circuit (walk in a clockwise direction) and descend through the ancient Gondwana rainforest to the Natural Bridge rock arch. Hoop pines emerging from surrounding forests are living relics of the Jurassic Age, 180 million years ago. Try spotting the paradise riflebirds, green catbirds, wompoo fruit-doves and rare and threatened species like the cascade tree frog, tusked frog, sooty owl and koala.

Purlingbrook Falls – 1 hour drive

Spectacular waterfalls and cool ancient forests await you in the beautiful World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest of Springbrook National Park. On this beautiful circuit walk, in the Springbrook Plateau section of the park, pass through the open eucalypt forest and New England ash, before descending into the gorge to view the falls from below. After crossing the suspension bridge a steady climb through the forest brings the walker back to the picnic area. Look for ancient lepidozamias, colourful hakeas and dazzling wildflowers along the way to this stunning waterfall.

There are 265 steps on this walk and it’s easier to walk in a clockwise direction. With the beauty of sheer cliffs and waterfalls also comes danger, check for Park Alerts in wet weather and stick to the track – a slip could be fatal. If you’ve got time, detour on the Warringa Pool track, which leads downstream from the base of the falls; you’ll add another 2 kilometres to the walk and need to allow another 40 minutes to return.

Note that parts of this circuit are arduous, so check your fitness to the difficulty rating before you go.

Shopping and markets

Murwillumbah, in the Tweed Valley, is the nearest town to our Retreat
Chillingham Store

This world-famous holiday mecca of Byron Bay is within easy reach of Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat, just 40 minutes’ drive south from Murwillumbah. For a great day out, shop in the township or dine at one of the brilliant eateries, or visit the renowned Byron Bay markets.

The colourful markets of this alternative ‘rainbow region’ include Byron Bay, Bangalow, The Channon and Nimbin. Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads, Lennox Head, Uki, Pottsville, Kingscliff, Murwillumbah, Coolangatta and the Gold Coast markets are all well worth a visit too. Every weekend there are arts and craft, produce and farmers’ markets along with car boot sales, all easily accessible on a day trip from the Retreat.

Each month

1st Sat
Brunswick Heads
Uki Craft & Produce Market
1st Sun
Pottsville Beach Markets
Byron Bay Market
Tweed Heads Market
Banora Point Farmers Market
2nd Sat
Kingscliff Market
Uki Craft & Produce Market
2nd Sun
The Channon Market
Coolangatta Market
Murwillumbah Market
Tweed Heads Market
3rd Sat
Uki Craft & Produce Market
3rd Sun
Uki Buttery Bazaar
Pottsville Beach Markets
Nimbin Market
Tweed Heads Market
Banora Point Farmers Market
4th Sat
Kingscliff Market
Uki Craft & Produce Market
4th Sun
Tweed Heads Market
Banora Car Boot Market
5th Sat
Uki Craft & Produce Market
5th Sun
Nimbin Market
Kingscliff Market
Tweed Heads Market
Banora Point Farmers Market

Arts & culture

The former butter factory at Uki is now an arts and crafts cultural hub

The Far North Coast

Murwillumbah and the picturesque villages surrounding it count over a dozen galleries and artist’s studios. You’ll find tiny hamlets with shops, art galleries and weekend markets offering local arts and crafts. Uki (pronounced yoo-KI), at the foot of Mount Warning, has a thriving arts and crafts community in a former butter factory which is a landmark in the town.

The Tweed Regional Gallery is in nearby Murwillumbah

Tweed Regional Gallery

Perched on a hilltop on the edge of Murwillumbah is the award-winning Tweed Regional Gallery, built in 2004. National touring exhibitions often stop here. A recent addition to the gallery is the Margaret Olley Art Centre (MOAC), a permanent recreation of the Hat Factory and the Yellow Room in Olley’s famous home studio at 48 Duxford Street, Paddington, Sydney.

Go to the Bluesfest site

Byron Bay Bluesfest

The Byron Bay area hosts a diversity of artists, filmmakers and writers. A highlight of the region’s calendar is the Byron Bay BluesFest, held every Easter long weekend since 1990. It presents 200+ performances over five 12-hour days to an audience of more than 100,000 people.

Tyalgum Music Festival

Tyalgum Music Festival

Held each September, this weekend festival engages the region’s finest classical musicians while also providing a forum for young developing artists. Performers include soloists, orchestral and chamber groups and choirs.

For the more adventurous