Fronting the golden beaches just north of Byron Bay, backed by rainforest, pineapple-studded plains and foothills that nudge up to volcanic mountains, the Tweed Valley hides out on NSW’s northernmost coast like a secret. “Part of the Tweed’s magic is there’s so much amazing food and spectacular scenery but nobody really knows it’s all here,” says Ben Devlin, long-time local and the owner and chef at Pipit, a sustainably driven restaurant collecting awards for putting wild-foraged coastal plants onto plates.

Fancy a tropical getaway with golden fish‘n’chips, plenty to do with kids and none of the crowds? This is Devlin’s guide to the coast with the most…

Hastings Point is a secret spot for surfers and families

Sunrise, Hastings Point, NSW

I've been surfing since I was very little. I still try to get out there at least twice a week. I also really enjoy freediving and spearfishing. Hastings Point is a fairly secluded spot and also, because of the shape of the headland, it offers protection from different wind directions.

Because of the way the sand moves, you can sometimes get a bit of a right-hand point break off one side, and a little bit of a left-hand point break off the other side. As a surfer, that means that different kinds of swell can come in; you can get a wave on a day where there might not be much around in other spots.

I bring my young daughter, Penny, here for a wander through the rock pools. The beach is around a river mouth and we spend a lot of time playing around the little sand islands that form in the river.

The surprise is that this coastline is more edible than it looks

Pipit, NSW

A lot of the wild ingredients I forage around here end up on plates at Pipit. We harvest quite a bit of sea lettuce, which we turn into a kind of nori sheet for our crispy sushi rolls. We also get coastal parsley, which we use to season squid. I also love wild succulent mustard and beach fig, sometimes called pigface, which grows a small, bright red-purple succulent fruit that tastes like a salty strawberry, or a salty grape at times.

Book your table at Pipit then head to to start planning the rest of your eating, swimming and surfing extravaganza on the Tweed Coast.

The one thing kids will really love is

Okky and Tropical Fruit World, Tweed Valley, NSW

Tropical Fruit World, a beautiful farm about 10 minutes west of Kingscliff and Cabarita Beach, where the family owners grow hundreds of types of fruit from around the world. There’s a really fantastic tour. Basically, you jump on train carriages at the back of a tractor and they drive you through the forest, stopping to pick and taste wildly interesting fruits.

You might get dragon fruit or Davidson plums and early season mangoes that are sweet and nectary, or late-season mangoes that might be a little bit more resiny and sharp. There’s also Treasure Island to explore and Fauna Park to meet some native Australian animals. My daughter loves it.

Where you’ll taste the best fish and chips on the coast

Visit Okky, which is right next to Pipit in Pottsville. Summer is a good time for Spanish mackerel – it’s a super-good catch up and down the coast but the variety we get here is a little bit different. The flavour is smoother. I get takeaway and have it up on the grassy headland at Hastings Point. It’s a really good spot for whale watching, too. Last time I was up there, I saw a pod of dolphins catching waves 15 metres off the shore.

Wander around a cool market

Murwillumbah, NSW

Murwillumbah town, which sits in the middle of an extinct volcano and is a beautiful drive inland, hosts the best market every Wednesday morning. You’ll get a bit of craft and candles but you come for the bakers, cheesemakers and charcuterie.

Where are you usually on Wednesday mornings? We know where we’d rather be… Start planning a midweek getaway at

The very best coffee

Get your caffeine fix at Keith, on the main street of Murwillumbah. It’s got this cool banquette seating that makes it feel like a ’70s or ’80s American diner and the coffee is amazing. But for brekkie, you’d find me – and most of the Pipit staff, probably – at Black Drop, which is located behind a fig tree on Philip Street in Pottsville. I love the nasi goreng breakfast.

For a more serious drink, without boring your kids

Husk Farm Distillery, NSW

Tumbulgum is a really small, remote town on the side of the Tweed River worth finding for Husk Farm Distillery, a big, beautiful sandstone place where they make farm-to-bottle rum. The cocktails are really good – but I’ll always go for the simple spiced rum or an aged rum. They also do Ink Gin, which is coloured bluey-purple with butterfly pea flowers and when you add tonic water, the pH changes and it goes light pink for a bit of fun.

There’s also a big grassy area with lawn games, which kids love, too. And there’s a bus pickup service you can book to shuttle you from Kingscliff, Casuarina, Cabarita or Pottsville on the coast. How good is that?

My favourite thing on the menu at Pipit at the moment?

The little fish-shaped waffles that we make with buckwheat and fishbone flour and fill with soaked fish cream, some preserved mullet roe and a bit of finger lime. People think it’s a little biscuit – then you bite in and it’s crunchy and salty and has this really herby flavour as well. That tends to make people pretty happy. 

Pipit, NSW

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SEE ALSO: 5 of the Best National Park Experiences in NSW

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