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A North Coast Getaway

Fat Mum Slim /

Six years ago my little family and I moved all the way from beautiful Bondi, up to the North Coast of NSW, and we’ve never looked back. I love where I live, but there’s so much more for me to explore and fall in love with… and that’s part of what I love too. So many adventures to be had, so many meals to try, so much fun stuff to explore.

This past weekend we decided to get away from it all while the Commonwealth Games were happening, and headed south for a night. My two sisters, my two kids, my two nieces, and myself all piled into two cars and got exploring. I love {like beyond LOVE} when my family is all together. I’m that person who tries to get/keep everyone together as much as possible, so I was in my element.

Today I’m sharing what we got up to, so that if you’re planning a trip to the New South Wales North Coast, you might like to pick up a few ideas of your own.

If you’ve driven north, you will know about this gem. It’s got the big knight out the front. In the past few years though, we got a new highway which means you don’t bypass the Macadamia Castle directly, so now it’s a beautiful hidden gem to discover. It also has the BEST pancakes you’ll ever eat {try the caramel!}.

We started our adventures with a hearty breakfast at the Macadamia Castle. I opted for my favourite pancakes, while the kids opted for milkshakes and avocado on toast, and my sisters opted for pancakes and eggs on toast. The kids explored the gift shop, while we chatted and caught up. Out the back of the Macadamia Castle is a little zoo, and play area with putt putt golf. It’s a great spot to let the kids play and burn some energy. And hold a rabbit or two…

There’s also a playground area, bird aviary, as well as reptile shows and so much more that you could spend hours with the kids having fun. We had a big day planned so we only spent an hour, but I promised the kids that we’d be back very soon to keep exploring, and I have a feeling they’ll hold me to that promise!

We hadn’t planned to explore both the Macadamia Castle and Crystal Castle in one day, but our biggest kid {my sister} was so excited about this being on our itinerary that she requested that it be moved to the top of our to do list, and who was I to argue? Our first stop was the reflexology walk. We all took off our shoes, and took a walk on the rocks.

There is so much to explore at the Crystal Castle, and I know I’ll stumble across something new each time I visit. There’s lush gardens with meandering paths snaking throughout the property, and beautiful opportunities to meditate, reflect or make a wish like Lulu did above. She said that she was wishing for happy things, and a new toy {of course!}.

The bamboo walk is always my favourite spot to stop. It’s always beautiful and awe inspiring. Don’t you think?

For lunch we headed further south to Ballina’s Shelly Beach, where we stopped at The Belle General for a late lunch. The food here is something else. It was hard to choose because the menu was so mouth-watering, so we ended up picking a bunch of dishes to share… and they were all as good as each other. The kids played outside, around us, and it was just a great vibe… making for the perfect late lunch experience.

Perhaps the best calamari I’ve tried. Fresh, tasty and just perfect.

I’ve never had salmon tacos before, but when I read sticky salmon tacos on the menu I knew we had to try them. They were most excellent.

We also had cauliflower rice nasi goreng, and a slow cooked lamb paleo bowl. All. So. Good.

The coffee got a big thumbs up too.

By the time we’d gobbled our late lunch, the kids were completely knackered and ready for some quiet time so we headed a little further south to Ballina’s Ramada Hotel. The hotel is right on the river, and has a mix of hotel and apartment rooms {we got one of each to fit all of us in, with an adjoining balcony}. We spent the afternoon swimming in the pool, enjoying the view from the balcony and just letting the kids have some down time. We had plans to enjoy dinner at The Wharf Bar and Restaurant, but we were so full from lunch that we ordered room service for the kids and had an early night in instead.

We started the day early, and watched the sun rise over the river, and then took a stroll through town to grab coffee and the kids a quick bite to eat from the local bakery.

We then packed up, and checked out of the Ramada and moved onto our next destination, somewhere I’d never heard of and was excited to discover.

I have to be honest, I’m still a little perplexed how I’ve lived in the area for six years now and haven’t yet discovered this little haven. Just half an hour drive from Ballina, Summerland House Farm, is a property perfect for families. There’s something for everyone. They’ve got a great putt-putt golf course, a playground, a water park, a nursery, a gift shop, sweeping gardens that are totally Instagram-worthy, and a cafe with a menu to drool over.

We spent a few hours here, just relaxing and exploring. It was fun watching other families set up picnic on the property and settle in for the day too. We vowed that we’d be back to explore a little more, because it was such a beautiful spot to hang out as a family.

Our last stop, before heading home, was Brunswick Heads. My older sister has just moved to the area and hadn’t yet visited Bruns {as the locals like to call it} so I wanted to show her one of my favourite towns and also grab a bite to eat at the bakery {you have to do the same if you’re in the area}. Brunswick Heads is a buzzing little town with loads of great cafes, beautiful waterways, boutique shops, and little fairy houses dotted all over the town, waiting for the kids to explore them. The town demands more time than we allowed it {we stayed for an hour but promise to come back and spend a day}, and is such a beautiful little part of the world.

We had such a great time on our weekend getaway, and it’s put a little fire in my belly to explore more and more, and see what our new home has to offer.


Have you visited the New South Wales North Coast? Do you have a favourite spot I should explore?


We traveled as guests of Destination North Coast, and all opinions and photographs are my own.