The Tweed Valley is nestled in Mount Warning volcanic crater, the world’s second largest caldera. It is just below the Queensland/New South Wales border and is easily accessed from either the Gold Coast or Byron Bay (don’t forget there’s a one-hour time difference between the two states).
This is a nice little tour you can still do even if your holiday weather is inclement. And if you don’t want to tackle unsealed roads in the wet, then this one is for you.
A complete round trip is around 75kms, the roads all sealed and of good quality.
Having limited holiday time left, we decided to try it in the pouring rain with mountain mist and heavy clouds. Whilst that did hamper our photography somewhat, it was still very enjoyable.
We met many a local character along the way, full of historic knowledge of the area and more than willing to share.
FIRST STOP MURWILLUMBAH
Our starting point was Murwillumbah, the artistic and cultural centre of the Tweed. Murwillumbah is a country town filled with historic buildings, vintage shops, lovely cafes, paved walkways and relaxing vistas along the Tweed River in Budd Park and Knox Park.
And of course, Mount Warning towers over the town in the distance.
The World Heritage Rainforest Centre and Visitor Information Centre greeted us as we drove into town, just before crossing the majestic Tweed River.
The ladies in the centre were friendly and more than helpful.
The centre houses the Caldera Art Gallery with its stunning 360-degree panoramic painting of the Caldera landscape, created by a number of local artists.
We learned that graffiti in the town was minimal since the local community encouraged young artists to contribute their skills and talent to help paint murals on the levy wall of the Tweed.
It’s a clever tactic and it obviously works well as there was absolutely no graffiti in sight!
If you have time, then both the spectacular Tweed Regional Art Gallery and the Tweed Regional Museum have free entry.
You could easily spend the whole day just absorbing what both of those have to offer, as we had done on a previous excursion.
Going clockwise, our next stop was Eungella, home to New Govardhana, a Hare Krishna Farm and Eco Yoga Community and Wellness Centre.
One of their largest rural projects in Australia, this local community puts on a renown vegetarian feast on Sundays. Shame we got the day wrong.
But as we did a drive by, we had to reverse to double check the line-up of at least 20 large refuse bins for council collection that day. Each one was placed meticulously along the roadside.
The distance in between each was exact and symmetrical. Not one was an inch out of place. Mmmm. Perhaps a few OCD members may be in their midst?
TYALGUM, A GEM OF A PLACE
The rain became torrential making photography almost impossible, even from the car window. So we moved on and discovered a local gem. Tyalgum.
A historic small village along the main road, full of quaint, beautifully restored buildings transformed into shops, cafes and art galleries.
The ladies running Flutterbies Cottage and The Little Shop Next Door even appeared to be dressed in matching historic costumes adding to the atmosphere.
Everyone effused stories about the town and its attractions. So much of the organic produce, goods and art is locally made or home grown.
Mount Warning lookout at Limpinwood
Our next stop was at a lookout over Mount Warning at Limpinwood, on the edge of Limpinwood Reserve. But again the weather got the better of us and the view was completely clouded out. Ah well. Onward, upward and further around.
We drove into Chillingham with the river already starting to flood.
The reputed Bush Tucker attraction was rained out, so we opted to drop in to The Old Butcher’s Shop Gallery.
John Gillson, the in house potter had already left the building, apparently gone fishing! But his father Earl was capably holding the fort whilst he espoused a wealth of information about the century old building.
John’s pottery and porcelain ceramics were quite unique and we couldn’t resist buying a few pieces to take home.
Not to be confused with Crystal Castle near Byron Bay, Crystal Creek Miniatures was our las point of interest.
However, we had missed Carolyn and John Tebbutt’s 1030am tour of their miniature animal farm.
By now another torrential downpour had started, so we elected to come back another day to see their family of small horses, cattle, mules and donkeys.
We were left wondering whether it was the heavy annual rain quota in the region that naturally shrunk the animals to create this particular attraction. Mmm…
Irene Isaacson travelled with an umbrella to visit Mount Warning and surrounds at her own expense.
Discover New South Wales
Have you ever visited Wollongong? This is why you should put it on your list!
Are you looking for a fabulous place to go on a driving trip in NSW? Head south to the Kiama blowhole and other attractions.
Rad this post for things to do Port Stephens.