Northern Rivers, Tourism New South Wales

Population 30088

This regional centre of the Northern Rivers district is on the banks of the Wilsons River. European settlement came in 1840 when John Brown broke an axle near a small chain of ponds and stopped to have a look around. He liked what he saw and decided to settle. Called Browns Water Hole until 1853, it was changed to Lismore after a town in Ireland. The town is now known for its ecotourism.

Visitor Information

207 Molesworth St (cnr Ballina Rd); (02) 6626 0100 or 1300 369 795

Nearby national parks

  • Broadwater National Park

    Located on the state’s north-east coast, Broadwater National Park’s outstanding feature is its lovely sweep of beach, with...more

  • Bundjalung National Park

    Bundjalung National Park protects a superb 38-kilometre stretch of the state’s far north coastline, including secluded beaches,...more

  • Wollumbin National Park

    The looming presence of iconic Mount Warning is at the heart of this national park, a lush rainforest environment on the state’s far...more

Nearby towns

  • Alstonville Intro

    Alstonville is between Lismore and Ballina, surrounded by macadamia and avocado plantations. It's known for its immaculate gardens and...more

  • Casino

    Beside the Richmond River in the north-east of the state, Casino is a town of grand old buildings and magnificent parklands. Casino is named...more

  • Nimbin

    Situated in a beautiful valley, Nimbin is a colourful and interesting town of artists and others trying to live in an alternative to the...more

In Town

Rotary Rainforest Reserve There are 6 ha of original tropical rainforest in the middle of the city, but this is only a small remnant of the original 'Big Scrub' that stood here before European settlement. Over 3 km of paths, including a boardwalk, lead visitors past hoop pines and giant figs, with rare species of labelled rainforest plants. Rotary Dr.

Visitor centre: indoor rainforest walk, historical displays, and local art and craft. The surrounding Heritage Park has pleasant picnic areas and a mini steam train offering rides (10am–2pm Thurs and public holidays, 10am–4pm Sat, Sun and school holidays). Cnr Ballina and Molesworth sts.

Richmond River Historical Museum: geological specimens, Aboriginal artefacts and pioneer clothing, implements, furniture and handiwork; Molesworth St.

Regional Art Gallery: permanent collection of paintings, pottery and ceramics with changing exhibitions by local and touring artists; Molesworth St.

Robinson's Lookout: views south across the river to South Lismore and north to the mountains; Robinson Ave.

Claude Riley Memorial Lookout: views over Lismore city; New Ballina Rd.

Wilsons Park: contains original rainforest with labelled trees; Wyrallah St, East Lismore.

Riverside Walk: along the banks of the Wilsons River from the town centre to Spinks Park, where there are picnic and barbecue facilities.

Koala Care Centre: looks after injured and orphaned koalas. Guided tours 10am and 2pm Mon–Fri, and 10am Sat; Rifle Range Rd.

Cafe and Culture Trail: self-guide walk through sites of historical significance and cafes in the town centre.

Heritage walk: historic buildings and churches; brochure from visitor centre.


Boatharbour Reserve: 17 ha of rainforest, wildlife sanctuary, picnic area and walking tracks; maps from visitor centre; 6 km E.

Tucki Tucki Koala Reserve: woodland planted by local residents to protect the diminishing koala population, with walking track and Aboriginal bora ring nearby; 15 km S.

Rocky Creek Dam: between Nightcap National Park and Whian Whian State Forest, includes spectacular views of the lake, boardwalks, walking trails, platypus-viewing platform, barbecues and a playground; 18 km N.

Fishing spots near town

Clarrie Hall Dam - Fishing Sub-region 40 km

Angling is a buzz when you are into a hot bite. It is also a buzz when discovering new territory or out hooking with other anglers, observing their methods and techniques on their home waters. So it was when I fished... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Diving and snorkelling around Byron Bay 38 km

Although there is not much in the way of shore dives or snorkelling around Byron Bay, the nearby Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is a top spot if you can get on a boat, with sea turtles, eagle rays, corals, grey nurse and... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Fire in the Belly

Recently awarded ‘Best Pizza Restaurant in Australia’, the people at Fire in the Belly have every reason to feel proud. Dedicated to elevating pizza far above the level of junk food, they use organic seasonal... Find out more


Known as one of the best restaurants in the area, Paupiettes serves honest French cuisine blended with a contemporary Australian style and Asian influences. Specialities include duck confit, Moreton Bay bugs on... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Stone and Wood Brewing 36 km

The popular coastal holiday destination of Byron Bay is the location for one of the country’s newest and most exciting craft breweries – Stone & Wood. The partners behind the venture include a trio of... Find out more

Campsites around town

Rummery Park camping area 26 km

From this roomy, friendly camping area you can take a short walk following Boggy Creek to the beautiful Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park. Other activities include birdwatching and car touring. To get here, turn off... Find out more

Flat Rock Tent Park 32 km

This is a simple camping spot 4 km north-east of Ballina on the Coast Rd (Lennox Head Rd) but it’s quiet and protected despite being about a 3 min walk to Angels Beach. With Ballina and Lennox Head close by,... Find out more

Broken Head Holiday Park 35 km

At Broken Head Nature Reserve, lush and fertile rainforests reach emerald tendrils all the way down to long, sweeping beaches, and this holiday park is tucked in right next to the reserve, 7 km south of Byron Bay.... Find out more

Massey Greene Holiday Park 41 km

This is in a top location, right on the Brunswick River and minutes away from Brunswick Heads town centre. The river offers swimming, fishing, snorkelling and boating, and there’s a surf beach only a 10 min walk... Find out more

Cutters Camp camping area 42 km

You’ll find Cutters Camp where Mebbin Forest and Caddell rds meet. Unsealed Mebbin Forest Rd is a 35 km scenic route with wonderful views of the region’s volcanic, forest-clad landscape; you’ll need a... Find out more

Mount Warning Rainforest Park 47 km

Surround yourself with lush and up-tempo rainforest and mountain streams in this verdant mid-north-coast holiday park at the foot of Mt Warning. Accommodation options include deluxe, ensuite and budget cabins, and tent... Find out more

Black Rocks camping area 50 km

Black Rocks is on Ten Mile Beach, via unsealed Gap Rd, 5 km south of Woodburn. There are concrete bunkers from World War II here – a section in the north of the park is still used by the military for target... Find out more

Sheepstation Creek camping area 51 km

With 40 sites, this sizeable camping area is just off Tweed Range Scenic Dr, 31 km north of Kyogle. The easy Rosewood Loop (6 km, 3 hr) and Palm Forest Walk (2 km, 1 hr) begin here: the former will take you through... Find out more

Forest Tops camping area 51 km

If you enter the national park along Tweed Range Scenic Dr, 30 km north of Kyogle, you’ll see signposted access for this camping area. The medium–difficult 10.5 km Booyong Walk (5 hr) sets out from here and... Find out more

Bells Bay camping area 53 km

Situated beside picturesque Toonumbar Dam, 31 km north-west of Kyogle via Afterlee Rd, Bells Bay is a vision in green, surrounded by swathes of forest. Boating (8-knot limit), canoeing, swimming and fishing for... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

BIG4 Ballina Central Holiday Park 29 km

This park is across the road from the water, at the end of the main street and just walking distance from the shops. The park has good amenities. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at... Find out more

South Ballina Beach Holiday Park 30 km

This is a very neat park on the south side of the Richmond River. It is in a quiet area and is one of the few parks along this stretch of coast where pets are permitted (except in Christmas and Easter holidays). Bookings... Find out more

Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park 31 km

Located alongside Lake Ainsworth and across the road from the beach, this is a good basic park in a great position. The surf club is nearby and the popular beach is great for swimming or walking. This is a council park... Find out more

Ballina Headlands Leisure Park 32 km

On a popular holiday coast, this park is about 500 metres from the water and 9 km north-east of Ballina off the Beach Road. It is a good base when visiting the area and has a heated pool for winter months. Bookings are... Find out more

Broken Head Holiday Park 35 km

This stretch of coast is a busy holiday area. The park is located on the beach and has good facilities, and popular Byron Bay is 8.5 km north. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies in... Find out more

Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park 36 km

A popular beachside holiday park that is busy year-round, this park has good facilities and is 6 km south of Byron Bay. It is close to some popular surfing and swimming beaches. Bookings are required in peak periods and... Find out more

Silver Sands Holiday Park 37 km

This is a huge beachside park with good facilities just a short walk from the centre of town. It has many permanent holiday vans and is a very popular holiday spot for people from the nearby inland towns. Bookings are... Find out more

Glen Villa Resort 38 km

This is a high quality park with good facilities, about 400 metres from the town centre. It has the unusual policy of permitting just two people per site. No bookings are taken, and a minimum-length stay applies at... Find out more

First Sun Holiday Park 38 km

Every now and then we discover a park in a fabulous position. This place is on the beach at Byron Bay, within walking distance of the town centre, the restaurants and the nightlife. The park is busy year-round and is... Find out more

Ferry Reserve Holiday Park 40 km

This park is very easily accessible from the Pacific Highway northbound, but requires doubling back through town for southbound travellers. It is situated on a picturesque estuary, popular with anglers. The grounds and... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Elindale House B&B

Elindale House is a classic and beautiful country B&B, taking care of every last detail, including a silver service hot breakfast. Centrally located in Lismore, it has luxury ensuite guest rooms with four-posted... Find out more

Melville House

Melville House is a fourth-generation family home offering Art Deco–styled B&B accommodation close to the heart of Lismore. All the guest rooms are well-appointed, spacious and have marble bathrooms. The shared... Find out more

The Lismore Wilson Motel

Heritage-listed, encircled with pristine sub-tropical gardens and offering 25 contemporary, relaxed guest rooms on the edge of Lismore’s town centre, this motel is a favourite. There is also a communal... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Emerald Valley Villa 28 km

Nestled in the hinterland some 25 minutes drive from Byron Bay, this is way up the high end of ecotourism in this country. You can rent your own five-star palace (they call it a villa), complete with pool, courtyard,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Wardell rest area 23 km

22km N of Woodburn (L) or 14km S of Ballina (L)

Large areas just off the highway on both sides.

Woodburn park area 29 km

At Woodburn

Adjacent to the highway overlooking the river.

Trustons Hill rest area 33 km

40km S of Woodburn (L)

Just off the highway behind some trees. For southbound only.

Tyagarah rest area 35 km

36km N of Ballina (L)     

Just off the highway. For northbound only.

New Italy rest area 38 km

At New Italy

Just off the highway under shady trees near the museum and cafe. Big rigs at north end of the rest area.

Yelgun rest area 43 km

50km N of Ballina (R) or 42km S of Tweed Heads (L)

Well off the highway.

Sleepy Hollow rest area 49 km

58km N of Ballina (L) or 32km S of Tweed Heads (L)

Just off the highway on both sides.

Beekeepers rest area 52 km

28km S of Woodburn (L)

Adjacent to the highway. For southbound only.

What's on around town

Car Boot Markets: Shopping Sq, Uralba St; 1st and 3rd Sun each month.

Rainbow Region Organic Markets: Lismore Showground, Tues morning until 11am; Alexander Pde.

Lismore Gemfest: May.

Lantern Parade: June.

Cup Day: horserace; Sept.

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