Hidden mountain pools where the water feels like silk, tumbling waterfalls framed by dewdrop-splashed ferns, secluded picnic spots on the banks of a babbling brook – if ever a destination was designed for romance by Mother Nature herself, it would have to be the Tweed Valley in northern NSW.
Midway between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay and nestled within the caldera of an ancient volcano, the Tweed ticks every box for couples in search of the ultimate romantic getaway. Thinking of escaping for a few days? Here's a few ideas to get you started...
Related article: 48 hours in NSW's beachy Kingscliff
It goes without saying that the Tweed Valley's scenery is next-level amazing. Picture enveloping World Heritage-listed rainforest, spectacular lookouts, swimming beside secluded waterfalls and just taking in the beauty of rolling green hills, patch-worked farmlands and tranquil rivers. All this and more awaits couples in this marvellous destination, making a 'back to nature' getaway seriously tempting.
With such a magnificent setting, the Tweed Valley also offers plenty to do. For a fantastic escape, take a day-trip through the countryside, meeting local characters at village markets and stopping at historic pubs for a chilled pint. Or, follow the coastline and fit in time for short walks, boutique-hopping and beachfront dining. However you choose to spend your stay, you'll be treated to a blissfully laid-back atmosphere and utterly romantic views.
What to do
Want to mix sight-seeing with a gourmet adventure? If you're headed inland, be sure to stop into North Tumbulgum's Husk Distillers. Situated in the heart of the Tweed caldera, this fantastic spot produces amazing agricole rum (rum made from freshly crushed sugar cane, instead of molasses), plus the famous purple-hued 'Ink Gin'. There's also a new bar and cellar door opening mid-2019 (watch this space!), as well as distillery tours that are sure to impress drink connoisseurs.
Want more? Just ten minutes' drive away, Kingscliff's Farm & Co. is a must-visit for picking up any fresh-from-the-farm goodies for a picnic. Expect incredible organically grown produce and insta-ready scenery. Or, head to the popular Kingscliff Farmers Market (held every Saturday) if you've timed your visit right. Taking place weekly at Northcoast TAFE, it's beloved for its seasonal produce, artisan food stalls and ready-to-eat street-food.
If it's thrills you're seeking, you won't be disappointed in the Tweed Valley. Surfers, Coolangatta's beaches (just under 20 minutes' drive from Kingscliff) are perfect for catching a wave – top options include the Duranbah and Snapper Rocks beaches. More into hiking? Take your love to new heights when you climb the majestic Mt Warning, near the New South Wales and Queensland border. Navigating through ancient subtropical and temperate rainforest, the eight-kilometre track here is quite challenging but you'll be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree views of the caldera and out to Byron Bay. Plus, if you leave early enough, you'll be the first people in Australia to see the sun rise, thanks to the mountain's height and position – that's sure to make for amazing travel memories!
Where to dine
You're spoiled for choice when it comes to romantic dining spots in the Tweed Valley – from century-old heritage-seeped country pubs scattered through local villages and towns, to award-winning restaurants presided over by celebrity chefs.
If the coast is on your itinerary, be sure to pull up a chair at coastal-chic hangouts like Casuarina's Osteria and Paper Daisy (pictured above) at nearby Cabarita Beach. Both acclaimed for their exquisite cuisine and contemporary decor, they're ideal for a lazy lunch or special dinner.
Further north, Kingscliff is a go-to for wonderful seafood and postcard-perfect water views. Feast on mouthwatering modern Greek fare at the trendy Taverna, sample some of Australia's best seafood at Fin's Restaurant & Bar or wander along the beachside Main Parade to discover sensational quaint cafes (pop into The Salt Mill, Kettles On Cafe or Brothers Cafe, Restaurant & Bar if you get the chance).
To make the most of your short break or weekend away, don't miss exploring the Tweed Valley's rural side and uncovering its culinary gems. For something a little bit different, indulge in country-style hospitality at Tyalgum's whimsical Flutterbies Cottage Cafe. Housed in a historic white cottage, it's a charming spot for cafe-style favourites and home-baked treats.
One place you really can't miss before returning home? Located at the base of Mt Warning in Uki, Mavis's Kitchen (feature image) is a real local icon. A 25-acre former dairy farm, it celebrates the best organically grown produce (much of it comes from their own gardens) and is renowned for its seasonal cuisine. Find a cosy spot on the homestead's verandah and marvel at the sigh-inducing hinterland views, tuck into something delicious and meander through the restaurant's idyllic grounds (the lake and orchard are truly gorgeous) to really enjoy life's beautifully simple pleasures.
Thinking of escaping for a short break? Find plenty of romantic NSW accommodation here...