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Top 19 Things To Do in Sawtell, NSW Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

30/07/2023
15 mins read
Sawtell
Source: Terry Everson

Sawtell, a picturesque coastal town in New South Wales, Australia, is nestled just 10 km south of Coffs Harbour and boasts a stunning landscape of pristine beaches, creeks, and mountains. This enchanting destination is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a myriad of unforgettable experiences and adventures.

Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and reveal 19 amazing things to do in Sawtell, NSW. Immerse yourself in the area’s natural beauty, explore its charming village atmosphere, and embark on a remarkable journey through this captivating coastal paradise. Get ready to discover the wonders of Sawtell, an idyllic destination that promises a memorable escape from the ordinary.

Things To Do In Sawtell, NSW

1. Boambee Creek Reserve

Boambee Creek Reserve is a picturesque spot that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational activities. This hidden gem is nestled between the Boambee Headland and the pristine waters of the Boambee Creek, making it an ideal location for picnics, swimming, and fishing. The calm waters of the creek provide a safe environment for families with young children, while the surrounding parklands offer ample space for relaxation and play.

The reserve also features well-maintained barbecue facilities, picnic tables, and a playground, making it a fantastic spot for a family day out.

For nature enthusiasts, the area is home to a variety of bird species and offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views and the memories you’ll make at this beautiful location.

  • Address: Sawtell Rd, Sawtell NSW 2452, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Summer and autumn, when the weather is warm and perfect for swimming and picnicking.
  • Directions: Located just off Sawtell Road, near the Boambee Headland. Look for the Boambee Creek Reserve sign.

2. Boambee Headland

Boambee Headland is a must-visit destination for those seeking breathtaking coastal views and a serene atmosphere. The headland offers a fantastic lookout with panoramic views of the ocean, nearby islands, and the surrounding coastline. The vantage point is perfect for watching the sunrise or sunset, as well as spotting dolphins and whales during their migration season.

A short walk from the lookout, you’ll find a secluded beach where you can relax and soak up the sun or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters.

@caseycaseylee Reply to @ayyitsgeorgiasnow #greenscreenvideo there’s also views of the beach on the other side of the headland #travel ? spectrum – el.audiossss?

The headland is also a popular spot for fishing, so don’t forget to pack your fishing gear if you’re keen to try your luck. With its stunning scenery and peaceful ambiance, Boambee Headland is an ideal destination for couples, families, and nature lovers alike.

  • Address: Boambee Headland, Sawtell NSW 2452, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but especially during the whale migration season (May to November) for a chance to spot whales from the lookout.
  • Directions: Accessible via a short walk from Sawtell Beach or Boambee Creek Reserve.

3. Sawtell Surf School

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced surfer looking to improve your skills, Sawtell Surf School is the perfect place to hit the waves. The school offers professional coaching from experienced and qualified instructors who are passionate about sharing their love for surfing. With a focus on safety and fun, the surf school provides all the necessary equipment, including surfboards and wetsuits, so all you need to bring is your enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.

Source: Vladimir Kudinov

Sawtell Beach, where the surf school is located, is known for its consistent waves and pristine waters, making it an ideal spot for learning to surf. As you ride the waves and feel the thrill of surfing, you’ll also be surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Sawtell coastline. So, get ready to embrace the surf culture and create unforgettable memories at Sawtell Surf School.

  • Address: Sawtell Beach, Sawtell NSW 2452, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Varies, check their website or contact them for class schedules.
  • Best time of the year: Summer and autumn, when the weather is warm and the water temperature is comfortable for surfing.
  • Directions: The surf school is located at Sawtell Beach, which can be accessed via Boronia St or Lyons Rd.

4. Coffs Harbour Muttonbird Island

Coffs Harbour Muttonbird Island is a nature lover’s paradise, offering a unique opportunity to explore a beautiful nature reserve with walking trails and birdwatching opportunities.

The island is home to thousands of wedge-tailed shearwaters, also known as muttonbirds, which nest on the island between August and April. As you walk along the well-maintained trails, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Coffs Harbour coastline and the surrounding ocean.

The island also holds cultural significance for the local Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal people, who have a deep connection to the land and its history. Interpretive signage along the trails provides insights into the island’s cultural and natural heritage. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars for a chance to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life from the island’s vantage points.

  • Address: Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Best time of the year: August to April, when the muttonbirds are nesting on the island.
  • Directions: Accessible via a pedestrian causeway from the Coffs Harbour Marina.

5. North Coast Regional Botanic Garden

The North Coast Regional Botanic Garden is a lush oasis that showcases a diverse range of plant species from around the world. Spread across 20 hectares, the garden features themed areas such as the Japanese Garden, the Rainforest Walk, and the Sensory Garden, offering a tranquil and immersive experience for visitors.

Perfect for couples and families, the garden provides a serene setting for leisurely strolls, picnics, and relaxation. The garden also hosts various events and workshops throughout the year, including art exhibitions, plant sales, and guided tours. With its beautiful landscapes and peaceful atmosphere, the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a relaxing escape.

  • Address: Hardacre St, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn, when the garden is in full bloom and the weather is mild.
  • Directions: The garden is located near the Coffs Harbour city center, just off the Pacific Highway.

6. The Big Banana Fun Park

The Big Banana Fun Park is an iconic amusement park that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for kids and families.

As one of Australia’s most famous landmarks, the park features a giant banana sculpture that has become a symbol of the region’s thriving banana industry.

The fun park offers something for everyone, with attractions such as a toboggan ride, mini-golf, a water park, and an ice-skating rink. For those seeking a more thrilling experience, the park also features a 4D ride simulator and a laser tag arena. After a day of fun and excitement, you can refuel at the park’s café, which serves delicious meals, snacks, and, of course, banana-themed treats. The Big Banana Fun Park is a must-visit destination for families looking for a fun-filled day out in Sawtell.

  • Address: 351 Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as most attractions are open regardless of the weather.
  • Directions: The park is located along the Pacific Highway, just north of Coffs Harbour.

7. Dolphin Marine Conservation Park

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is a unique attraction that allows visitors to get up close and personal with dolphins and other marine life in a conservation-focused environment. The park is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured marine animals, as well as educating the public about marine conservation.

Visitors can enjoy interactive experiences such as dolphin and seal shows, penguin feeding, and even the opportunity to swim with dolphins.

The park also offers educational programs and behind-the-scenes tours, providing insights into the care and conservation efforts for these amazing creatures. A visit to Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is not only entertaining but also an opportunity to support and learn about marine conservation efforts.

  • Address: 65 Orlando St, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 3 pm
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the park is open regardless of the weather.
  • Directions: The park is located near the Coffs Harbour Jetty, just off Orlando Street.

8. Solitary Islands Aquarium

Discover the fascinating underwater world of the Solitary Islands Marine Park at the Solitary Islands Aquarium. This state-of-the-art facility offers visitors the chance to explore the diverse marine life found in the region through interactive displays, exhibits, and live aquatic habitats.

The aquarium features a variety of marine species, including tropical fish, sharks, and sea turtles, as well as informative exhibits on the local marine ecosystems and conservation efforts. With its engaging and educational displays, the Solitary Islands Aquarium is a must-visit attraction for marine enthusiasts and families alike.

  • Address: 53 Hogbin Dr, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Weekends and school holidays from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the aquarium is an indoor attraction.
  • Directions: The aquarium is located on the National Marine Science Centre campus, just off Hogbin Drive.

9. Forest Sky Pier

For breathtaking panoramic views of the Coffs Harbour region, make your way to the Forest Sky Pier. This impressive lookout offers a stunning vantage point from which to take in the surrounding landscape, including the coastline, hinterland, and nearby islands.

The pier is located within the Bruxner Park Flora Reserve and is easily accessible via a short walk from the car park. The reserve also features walking trails through lush rainforest, providing an opportunity to explore the area’s natural beauty further. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photographer, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the Forest Sky Pier is a must-visit destination during your trip to Sawtell.

  • Address: Bruxner Park Rd, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the lookout is accessible regardless of the weather.
  • Directions: The pier is located within the Bruxner Park Flora Reserve, accessible via a short walk from the Sealy Lookout car park.

10. Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours

Immerse yourself in the rich Aboriginal culture and stunning natural beauty of the Solitary Islands Marine Park with Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours. This Aboriginal-run operator offers stand-up paddleboarding and kayak tours that combine adventure, cultural experiences, and breathtaking scenery.

As you glide through the crystal-clear waters, your knowledgeable guide will share stories of the local Gumbaynggirr people and their connection to the land and sea. The tours also provide an opportunity to learn about the diverse marine life and ecosystems of the marine park. Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours offer a truly unique and unforgettable experience for visitors to Sawtell.

  • Address: Tours depart from various locations in the Solitary Islands Marine Park
  • Opening Hours: Varies, check their website or contact them for tour schedules.
  • Best time of the year: Summer and autumn, when the weather is warm and ideal for water activities.
  • Directions: The tour operator will provide specific directions and meeting points upon booking.

11. Coffs Skydivers

For the ultimate adrenaline rush, look no further than Coffs Skydivers. Experience the thrill of tandem skydiving above the spectacular Sawtell coastline, with breathtaking views of the ocean, beaches, and hinterland. The professional and experienced instructors at Coffs Skydivers will ensure your safety and comfort throughout the entire experience, making it an unforgettable adventure for thrill-seekers.

As you freefall from up to 15,000 feet, you’ll reach speeds of over 200 km/h before your parachute opens, allowing you to glide gracefully back to earth. The exhilarating experience of skydiving is not only a personal challenge but also an opportunity to see the stunning Sawtell region from a unique perspective.

  • Address: 52 Aviation Dr, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Varies, check their website or contact them for jump schedules.
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but particularly during the warmer months for more comfortable skydiving conditions.
  • Directions: The skydiving center is located at the Coffs Harbour Airport, just off Aviation Drive.

12. Precision Helicopters

Take to the skies with Precision Helicopters for a scenic flight over the beautiful Coffs Coast. This unforgettable experience offers a bird’s-eye view of the stunning coastline, lush hinterland, and pristine beaches that make Sawtell a popular destination for visitors.

Precision Helicopters offers a range of flight options, from short scenic tours to longer flights that explore the region’s diverse landscapes. With an experienced pilot providing informative commentary throughout the flight, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty and attractions of the Sawtell area.

  • Address: Hangar 53, Aviation Dr, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Varies, check their website or contact them for flight schedules.
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but particularly during the warmer months for more comfortable flying conditions.
  • Directions: The helicopter company is located at the Coffs Harbour Airport, just off Aviation Drive.

13. Bongil Bongil National Park

Bongil Bongil National Park is a haven for nature lovers, offering a diverse range of landscapes to explore, from pristine beaches and coastal rainforests to meandering rivers and wetlands. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and a variety of bird species.

There are several walking tracks within the park, such as the Bundagaree Rainforest Walk and the Bluff Loop Walking Track, which provide opportunities to immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty. For a more adventurous experience, you can explore the park’s beaches and rainforests by 4WD or on foot, discovering secluded spots and breathtaking views along the way.

  • Address: Bongil Bongil National Park, NSW 2452, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but particularly during the warmer months for more comfortable hiking conditions.
  • Directions: The park is located south of Sawtell and can be accessed via Williams Rd or Tuckers Rock Rd.

14. Two Tails Wines

Located in the picturesque Nana Glen, Two Tails Wines is a local winery that offers a delightful wine tasting experience. The winery is known for its unique Black Velvet blend, which combines Chambourcin and Jacquez grapes to create a smooth and flavorful wine. Visitors can sample a range of wines at the cellar door, accompanied by knowledgeable staff who can provide insights into the winemaking process and the characteristics of each wine.

In addition to wine tasting, Two Tails Wines also offers a delicious meal at their on-site restaurant, where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch or dinner in a beautiful setting overlooking the vineyard.

  • Address: 963 Orara Way, Nana Glen NSW 2450, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Thursday to Monday from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the winery is open regardless of the weather.
  • Directions: The winery is located in Nana Glen, approximately 30 minutes’ drive west of Sawtell along the Orara Way.

15. Sanctus Brewing Company

For craft beer enthusiasts, a visit to Sanctus Brewing Company in Townsend is a must. This local brewery offers a range of unique and flavorful beers, with popular choices including the Piña Colada Smash and North Coast Lazy. The brewery’s taproom provides a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, where you can sample their beers and learn about the brewing process from the passionate staff.

Sanctus Brewing Company often hosts events and live music, making it a lively and enjoyable destination for a fun night out with friends or a laid-back afternoon sampling some of the region’s best craft beers.

  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Friday from 3 pm to 7 pm, Saturday from 12 pm to 7 pm, and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the brewery is open regardless of the weather.
  • Directions: The brewery is located in Townsend, approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive north of Sawtell along the Pacific Highway.

16. Sawtell Walk

The Sawtell Walk is a scenic coastal walk that takes you along the beach and headland, offering stunning views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. This leisurely walk is perfect for outdoor lovers and those looking to unwind in the natural beauty of Sawtell.

The walk begins at Sawtell Beach and follows the coastline, passing by Boambee Headland and offering several lookout points with breathtaking views. The walk is suitable for all fitness levels and provides an opportunity to spot local wildlife, such as dolphins and seabirds, along the way.

  • Address: Sawtell Beach, Sawtell NSW 2452, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the walk is accessible regardless of the weather.
  • Directions: The walk begins at Sawtell Beach, which can be accessed via Boronia St or Lyons Rd.

17. Bundagaree Rainforest Walk

The Bundagaree Rainforest Walk is a gentle 6km loop hike that takes you along the coastal fringe of Bongil Bongil National Park. The walk meanders through lush rainforest and along the rocky shoreline of Bundageree Creek, providing a tranquil and immersive experience in nature.

As you explore the rainforest, keep an eye out for the park’s diverse wildlife, including wallabies, goannas, and a variety of bird species. The Bundagaree Rainforest Walk is a fantastic way to experience the natural beauty of the Sawtell region and is suitable for hikers of all abilities.

  • Address: Bongil Bongil National Park, NSW 2452, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but particularly during the warmer months for more comfortable hiking conditions.
  • Directions: The walk is accessible from the Bongil picnic area within Bongil Bongil National Park.

18. Bluff Loop Walking Track

The Bluff Loop Walking Track is a picturesque 2.25km loop walk located within Bongil Bongil National Park. The walk offers stunning views of the coastline and surrounding landscape, making it a popular choice for nature lovers and photographers.

The well-maintained track takes you through coastal heathland and along the cliff tops, providing several lookout points with breathtaking views. The Bluff Loop Walking Track is suitable for all fitness levels and is an excellent way to experience the natural beauty of the Sawtell region.

  • Address: Bongil Bongil National Park, NSW 2452, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but particularly during the warmer months for more comfortable hiking conditions.
  • Directions: The walk begins at the Tuckers Rocks car park within Bongil Bongil National Park.

19. Sawtell Beach

Sawtell Beach is a family-friendly beach with golden sands and clear waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

The beach is also popular for surfing, with consistent waves suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers. With its pristine waters and stunning scenery, Sawtell Beach is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun during your visit to Sawtell, NSW Australia.

  • Address: Sawtell Beach, Sawtell NSW 2452, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the beach is accessible regardless of the weather.
  • Directions: The beach can be accessed via Boronia St or Lyons Rd in Sawtell.

Towns Nearby Sawtell, NSW

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Sawtell, NSW, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Sawtell, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Toormina, NSW (4 km from Sawtell): A neighboring suburb of Sawtell, Toormina offers shopping centers, recreational facilities, and close proximity to Boambee Creek Reserve for outdoor activities.
  2. Boambee, NSW (4.04 km from Sawtell): Boambee is a suburb located near Sawtell and is known for its beautiful Boambee Creek Reserve, a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and picnicking.
  3. Coffs Harbour, NSW (10 km from Sawtell): A larger coastal city north of Sawtell, Coffs Harbour offers a wide range of attractions, including the Big Banana Fun Park, Coffs Harbour Muttonbird Island, and the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden.
  4. Bonville, NSW (9 km from Sawtell): A small town south of Sawtell, Bonville is known for its picturesque countryside and the Bonville Golf Resort, a popular destination for golf enthusiasts.
  5. Mylestom, NSW (12.4 km from Sawtell): A coastal village near the mouth of the Bellinger River, Mylestom offers beautiful beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s an ideal destination for a quiet beach getaway.
  6. Bellingen, NSW (43 km from Sawtell): A charming town in the Mid-North Coast region, Bellingen is known for its vibrant arts scene, unique shops, and beautiful surrounding countryside. It’s also a gateway to Dorrigo National Park, offering numerous hiking trails and waterfalls.
  7. Dorrigo, NSW (65 km from Sawtell): Located near Bellingen, Dorrigo is a small town surrounded by lush rainforests and waterfalls. It’s home to the Dorrigo National Park, which features the Skywalk lookout, walking trails, and the Crystal Shower Falls.

These towns and suburbs offer a variety of attractions and activities, making them worth exploring during your visit to Sawtell, NSW.

Getting To Sawtell, NSW

To get to Sawtell, NSW from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Sydney:

  • By train: Take the NSW TrainLink from Sydney’s Central Station to Sawtell Station. The journey takes approximately 8 hours and 46 minutes.
  • By car: Drive north on the M1 and take the Pacific Highway exit. Follow the Pacific Highway until you reach Sawtell. The drive takes approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

From Coffs Harbour:

  • By car: Drive south on the Pacific Highway for about 10 km. The drive takes approximately 15 minutes, depending on traffic.
  • By public transport: Use the Transport for NSW Trip Planner (https://transportnsw.info/trip) to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

From nearby towns:

  • From Toormina: Drive west on Sawtell Road for about 4 km.
  • From Boambee: Drive south on the Pacific Highway for about 4 km.
  • From Woolgoolga: Drive south on the Pacific Highway for about 36 km.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Transport for NSW Trip Planner (https://transportnsw.info/trip) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on train and bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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