Region fits the bill for thrills
DESTINATION NSW has unveiled its top 10 summertime adventure activities that the state has to offer - with a few glaring omissions, mind you.
The tourism campaign admittedly includes some adrenaline-boosting adventures, from swimming with sharks at Manly to chopper tours through the Hunter Valley.
But none of the top 10 activities are on the Northern Rivers, despite the region's obvious wealth of hair-raising attractions.
Not content to let the oversight go unchecked, The Northern Star asked Destination NSW to list its five best summertime adventures in the Northern Rivers and the organisation did not disappoint.
North Coast Destination Network co-chairman Cameron Arnold said adventure tourism was a growing market for the region and named Byron Bay as the logical centre for thrill-seeking travellers.
"We've seen a lot more people going skydiving, hot air ballooning and microlight flying around the region recently. It's definitely growing," he said.
"Another one that is taking off now is mountain bike riding. We have a couple of operators now with private tracks up in the hinterland as well as tracks in the national parks."
Mr Arnold said the North Coast had the third highest number of visitor nights in Australia, behind only Sydney and Melbourne, and this season was shaping up to be another big one.
"Queenslanders are actually having a whinge that we're stealing their tourism market as well as State of Origin," he said.
"The Australian dollar going down has definitely helped our market."
TOP FIVE NORTHERN RIVERS ADVENTURES
- Microlight flying in Byron Bay: Byron Bay Microlights delivers grand views without the plunge, powering you above some of Australia's most fantastic scenery in quiet, uncluttered airspace a few minutes' flight from Byron Bay and Mt Warning.
- Sea kayak Coffs Harbour: The Solitary Islands Marine Park is the third largest marine-protected area in NSW, home to a huge diversity of marine life. It's perfect for adventure. Sea kayaking is the ultimate way to explore this stunning environment while looking for fish, turtles, dolphins, manta rays - and if you're lucky you might even spot some in-season migrating whales.
- Hang-glide over Byron Bay and Lennox Head: Cape Byron and Lennox Head are renowned hang-gliding spots, offering great wind conditions and spectacular views to boot.
- Whitewater raft through the Nymboi-Binderay National Park: The best way to explore this national park is by raft, with the Nymboida River running through the park. Known as one of Australia's top whitewater rafting rivers, this adventure activity is nothing short of thrilling.
- Hang 10 in Byron Bay: The beaches dotted along the coastline of the Northern Rivers are a surfer's dream. Popular Byron Bay and Lennox Head are ideal spots to catch some waves, along with the beaches from Lennox to Ballina known as the Magic Miles.
(Source: Destination NSW)