Northern Rivers Foodie Guide: Restaurants. Bar & Cafes 2019

Weekend Eatinerary: Northern Rivers

Northern Rivers Foodie Guide

We’re normally opposed to crossing into enemy territory, but we’ll make an exception after seeing all that New South Wales’ Northern Rivers region has to offer!

We’ve put together a weekend jam-packed with food, fun and activities for all budgets!



To get a jump on the traffic and to make the most of your day, we recommend leaving early and stopping in for brekkie or brunch at Chinderah’s Cubby Bakehouse. These guys are fresh on the scene and have plenty of options to keep your hunger at bay. Whether you’re an eggs Benny in a croissant kinda person, or a French toast topped with seasonal fruit enthusiast, you’ll be left satisfied for the morning ahead!

Northern Rivers Foodie Guide

Following your temporary food coma, jump back in the car and continue heading south until you come to Tropical Fruit World – your first activity for the day. Jam-packed with things to do, treat yourself to an experience that indulges all your senses. Experience exotic fruits like the chewing gum tree (yes, it’s a thing), the chocolate pudding fruit and the lemon meringue fruit. Take a guided tour of the site and be sure to grab some home-style gourmet sauces and jams on your way out.

For fitness fanatics still looking to burn off brekkie, why not venture out to Mt Warning and hike up to the summit for 360-degree views stretching up to the Gold Coast and down to Byron Bay? A round trip will take about five hours so be sure to pack a water bottle!

Whichever activity you choose, eventually the pang of hunger will return (as it always does), so for those wanting to continue to treat themselves, Greek food powerhouse Taverna at Kingscliff will treat you right! It is also among the most photogenic eateries so your ‘gram cred will sky-rocket after those top-of-the-mountain shots.

Northern Rivers Foodie Guide

On the menu is a range of small and large meals designed to share like charred octopus with fava bean whip, slow-roasted lamb shank with pickled zucchini, smoked yoghurt and cumin, and burnt honey brulée with figs, macadamia and saffron biscotti. If you’re craving something a little less exotic, the Kingscliff Beach Hotel will be sure to satisfy with all the classic pub faves in a relaxed seaside location.

Moving on to accommodation, if you’re all about luxury, treating yourself will continue once you check in to boutique six-star hotel, Halcyon House. Just a stone’s throw from beautiful Cabarita Beach, the hotel has a pool, spa, a restaurant and café, and interior décor that could make you think you’ve travelled a lot further than basically just across the border!

Northern Rivers Foodie Guide

If you’re after slightly less pricey accom, Mantra on Salt Beach at Casuarina is not quite as exclusive but has everything you need at the southern end of Kingscliff. Once you’ve enjoyed a late afternoon dip or a pool swim, it will almost be time for happy hour, so head to the Mantra’s Salt Bar for a tipple or two.

For dinner, try out Spice Den serving Thai street food that could actually change your life. Feeling fancy? Head to Paper Daisy for the Halcyon experience and choose from three or four courses you won’t forget! Both restaurants are incredibly popular so ensure you book well in advance so you don’t miss out.


Up for more driving? Head to Brunswick Heads for a morning swim in crystal clear blue waters and grab some brekky at Torakina Café. If you choose to extend your swim time, you can grab lunch at Hotel Brunswick before heading home. For those wishing to start the drive north from your accommodation, grab some brekky at Kartel Espresso Bar in Cabarita Beach or Osteria in Casuarina.

Northern Rivers Foodie Guide

Freshly fed and caffeinated, if you’re after more time in the sun, 90-minute kayak tours are on offer at Cudgen Creek for $35 for adults or $25 for children. Explore the mangroves and look out for local wildlife as you cruise at an easy pace upstream. Alternatively, you can catch a crab, pump for yabbies and feed the pelicans at Tweed Heads. If you wish, you can eat what you catch and enjoy your crab cooked on board for lunch. The tour costs $70 and runs for approximately four hours.

If fresh crab isn’t your cup of tea (weirdo), check out Tweed Heads’ Food Smith Cafe and Pantry or further north, try local favourite Café Dbar situated right on the border and choose from a wide range of delicious options like burnt sage butternut pumpkin, enoki mushroom, and goat’s cheese on toast or a Vietnamese crab omelette with soft herbs, fresh chilli, snow pea tendrils, and XO sauce – coastal heaven.

Northern Rivers Foodie Guide

The best part about travelling along the coast is that the beach follows you everywhere. If you’re pining for some more salt therapy after lunch, take a final dip at Fingal’s Dreamtime Beach or a walk to the Fingal Lighthouse.

As the weekend draws to a close and the reality of a new work week sets in, you can continue your drive home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to plan your return visit!

Words by Charlotte Tully
- the gourmand who loves salt on her food and her skin.