Families picnicking on the grassy median strip of the main street, their skin salty from the rolling surf a few blocks away. Enormous 70-year-old fig trees swaying in the breeze. An Art Deco cinema that only went digital in 2015.. The seaside locale of Sawtell, about 10 kilometres south of Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast of NSW, is much like the beach towns you visited during childhood holidays, when you dropped your bags and made the great outdoors your living room while the grown-ups dropped their shoulders and exhaled. The region’s traditional custodians, the Gumbaynggirr people, named it Bongil Bongil, meaning a place where one stays a long time. The lure then was the ready supply of food, largely due to the two stunning estuaries brimming with fish and shellfish. Today, there’s still plenty here to fill your days – and belly – with. Go kayaking or fishing, comb the two-kilometre-plus stretch of sand or take a dip in the Sawtell Memorial Rock Pool, adjacent to Bonville Creek. Then find delicious sustenance at one of the town’s more than 15 cafés and restaurants. The only challenge? Leaving.

The best place for...

Coffee: Split Espresso (02 6658 3026)

Breakfast: The Hilltop Store for the eggs Benny with burnt butter hollandaise sauce.

A meal with views: The Kiosk at Sawtell Beach – try the popular fish burritos For the kids: Order takeaway fish and chips from Sea Salt then head to Boambee Creek Reserve playground.

Local tip

“Don’t miss the magical Boambee Headland walk. Leave from the lower car park to enjoy glimpses of Boambee Creek to the left – it’s popular for swimming and fishing. As the bush clears, the ocean views are impressive. From late autumn, there’s the added delight of spotting migrating whales.” Judith Fleming, Former Magistrate.

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