Northern NSW coast: sea change with a relaxed lifestyle

Imagine cool sea breezes on a balmy afternoon, wide sandy beaches with waves softly splashing on the shore. Then, imagine taking your dog for an early morning stroll on the beach and watching the sun rise gently over the ocean.

After your walk, you grab a freshly brewed coffee and head to your outdoor deck to enjoy a breakfast of locally grown fruit that is as fresh as it gets. Sounds like the opening paragraph to a travel destination blog, doesn’t it?

But, what if this were your daily life and you got to enjoy this all year round? If you live on the northern NSW coast, this is exactly what your life could look like. And, there’s a diverse range of areas you can consider.

Ocean Shores and Brunswick Heads: Relaxed coastal lifestyle

Did you know that living by the sea is good for your health and mental wellbeing? As humans, we’re magically drawn to water and there’s a good reason for this. Water is the giver of life and just sitting by the ocean and listening to the waves can have a relaxing effect on both our minds and our bodies.

In his landmark book, Blue Mind, marine biologist and visionary Dr Wallace J. Nichols explored the link between the oceans and our wellbeing. Being near water, but especially the ocean, delivers benefits for both our physical and mental health.

Ocean Shores, a suburb just north of Brunswick Heads and very near to the wonderful beaches of New Brighton and South Golden Beach, offers a relaxed coastal lifestyle with welcome sea breezes.

People who live here enjoy a laid-back lifestyle but still have access to all the amenities they need. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and cafés. To ‘live like a local’, visit the Ocean Shores Country Club where everyone gathers for a friendly social drink or a meal with friends and family.

For nature lovers, Ocean Shores is surrounded by eleven flora and fauna reserves and it’s possible to spot whales and dolphins right from the beach between May and November.


Plus, you’ll find that living in Ocean Shores or Brunswick Heads offers you all the amenities that you expect from coastal living but without the glitz and glamour of towns like Byron Bay.

Byron Bay, Lennox Head and Ballina:
A melting pot of longtime locals and fresh famous famous faces

For us, it’s fascinating how the town of Byron Bay has changed over the years. Not too many years ago, Byron Bay was a favourite with hippies, surfers and those looking for an alternative lifestyle. The main shopping street was lined with surf shops and interesting little shops that mostly, it seemed, sold Indian clothing, crystals and incense.

Nowadays, the town is buzzing with trendy shops (including new shopping precincts), upmarket restaurants and cafés that serve freshly brewed, locally grown coffee. In choosing Byron Bay in which to settle, Paul Hogan put Byron Bay firmly on the radar of the glitterati. (You might still find some locals who have enjoyed a beer with him in one of the now upmarket pubs.)

This, of course, drew other celebrities to the town, including our own Chris Hemsworth and his family, and soon Byron Bay was no longer exclusive to alternative lifestylers. Now the area boasts top-class hotels and restaurants that sit amid renovated coastal cottages. It’s the perfect location for those who enjoy an active social scene and a vibrant nightlife.

However, if you’re after a little more peace and quiet, head slightly further south to Lennox Head, or Ballina on the Richmond River. Life is a little slower but you still get the benefit of easy access to wide, sandy beaches and cool ocean breezes. Out of Byron Bay, you’ll find the beaches are far less populated except in peak season and the vibe is more relaxed. You can still find all the amenities that you need, like shopping, sporting clubs, medical facilities and plenty of local cafés and restaurants that cater to every taste with fresh, local produce.

Northern NSW coast sea change with a relaxed lifestyle 2

Image: Broken Head

Kingscliff to Pottsville: How beach living used to be

Do you have memories of childhood family beach holidays where all you did all day was wander to the beach and swim and build sand castles? These days, it’s rare to find coastal towns or villages that still have that beach holiday vibe.

If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you check out the coastal towns and villages from Kingscliff to Pottsville. These areas still have that friendly, laid-back feeling where locals stop to say ‘hi’ and have a chat.

There are a number of suburbs and villages dotted along this area of the coast and they all have their unique vibe. In fact, we believe Casuarina, just south of Kingscliff and north of Cabarita, is one of the best-kept-secrets of the northern NSW coast. There are some new developments planned for this suburb that will include beachside apartments and terrace houses. And apart from being close to the beach, you’re never far from a great freshly brewed coffee or a delicious lunch at one of the many cafés and restaurants within an easy walk.

While you’re considering this part of the NSW coast, don’t forget to also check out the riverside hamlet of Chinderah, and Cabarita Beach, Hastings Point and Pottsville. We’re sure you’ll find your own piece of paradise along this beautiful coastline.

Is a sea change beckoning you?

If you’re yearning for a sea change, you can’t go past the many towns and villages along the northern NSW coast. Each region has its own vibe, but most importantly, they all have magnificent beaches, cool sea breezes and hidden gems.

So, whether the vibrancy of Byron Bay beckons you or you’re more into chilled beachside living around Kingscliff or Ocean Shores, this region has much to offer.

Not a beach person? Learn about the benefits of living inland on the northern NSW coast.

To learn more about all the facilities you’ll find on the coast, check out our business directory.

We wish to recognise and acknowledge the many generations of local Aboriginal people, known as the Bundjalung Nation, who have lived amongst the forests, rivers, beaches and streams of this beautiful region for thousands of years.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Minjungbal people, the Arakwal people, and the Widjabul people of the Bundjalung Nation. We pay our respects to elders – past, present and emerging.