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Kingscliff Beach, an ever changing holiday favourite on the NSW north coast


The rivermouth at Kingscliff Beach on the Tweed Coast of NSW

The water is as warm as it looks, normally year round

Where river meets the ocean

Kingscliff Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Tweed Region of NSW and is a popular holiday and weekend destination for residents of both QLD and NSW. Kingscliff is located at the southern end of Wommin Bay and cradled by Cudgen Headland and the entire area has a relaxed vibe to it like many of the beaches of northern NSW. 

Kingscliff rivermouth

Easy to see why it's such a popular holiday location

This picturesque coastal area has everything you could possibly want for a day or more at the beach - great surfing, ocean-side lagoon, grassy parklands with amenities and an estuary system that's ideal for small kids, fishing, swimming and watersports. Plus the area around the beach is a foodies delight with a huge variety of cafes, restaurants and places to stop for a drink, so it's no surprise that the area is popular most weekends and during holiday periods.

Dune regenration program at Kingscliff beach

The foreshore here is constantly being upgraded and improved

Traditional home of the Coodjingburra people

Kingscliff was originally referred to as Sutherland Point reportedly after early settlers who found a grave on the hill with the name Sutherland on it. However long before colonial times, Kingscliff was home to the Coodjingburra people who found the area to be a rich food source and having an abundance of marine life as well as red, fertile soils. They spoke their native Bundjalung dialect and this large Tweed Aboriginal clan settled the coastal area between Brunswick River to the Tweed river and around 15km inland to present day Murwillumbah. According to historical logs the headland at Kingscliff was an important meeting place for the Coodjingburra people and numerous middens have been recorded in the area.  

Pelicans waiting to be fed at Kingscliff rivermouth

Two pelicans get shot out of here every hour

A fun-filled river of dreams

Fast forward to present day and one of the most striking features at Kingscliff is the river and estuary system that spills out into the Pacific Ocean at the southern end of the beach. The river is generally slow flowing and is hugely popular with families who have kids as well as anyone else who enjoys a fun-filled day on the water. You can drop your boat in at the boat ramp, take your kayak or paddleboard out for a run, throw a line in for whiting or flathead, or simply let the rivers current carry you away on an inflatable or bodyboard.

Kingscliff Beach rock wall

The calm waters make the river popular with swimmers and families

Grab your board, whatever you ride

If surfing's your thing the waves can go off here when conditions are right, and there are a variety of breaks up and down the beach that break over a sandy bottom. The southern side of the river seems to attract more swell and the waves are usally a foot or two bigger than the northern side and can also handle light northerly summer breezes better. There are permanent rips in certain areas along the beach but the shallow waters of the lagoon are safe for kids near the shoreline when the waves are small. It's also the home town of multiple world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore, so that gives you an idea of how good the waves can get sometimes.

Kingscliff Beach lagoon

The shallow waters of the lagoon provide an ideal place for children to swim

Dive in at Fido's

There is a popular diving sport located just offshore called 'Fido's' named after the wreck SS Fido, a Norwegian steam ship that ran aground on the 18 July 1907. The SS Fido ran aground on a moonlit night with a cargo of phosphate during a voyage from Nauru Island to Sydney. As the story goes, the captain of the vessel, Captain Larsen was faced with a difficult decision regarding his crew and dog. He feared he would be charged 50 pounds for landing on the shores with his dog, so whole his crew abandoned ship he tragically shot his dog to avoid the fee. Even more tragically for the dog, it had previously apparently saved Captain Larsen's wife and child from what would've been a fatal cabin fire by barking and banging on the cabin door (when I first read that I had a deep sense of sorrow for the dog and surely). Today the shallow reef south of Cook Island is known as Fido Reef and is a popular location for SCUBA divers who regularly visit the wreck.

Kingscliff Beach rock wall before renovations

The rock wall before renovations were made

Kingscliff Beach rock wall after renovations

The same rock wall after renovations

Beachfront accommodation that won't break the bank

The Kingscliff Beach Caravan Park dominates the beachfront at Kingscliff and is a popular school holiday spot for families. There are camping options as well as cabins and you can bring your own caravan or camper as well as use the parks own. The park will be closed for the whole of 2017 due to foreshore upgrade works and to build a 500m seawall that has been planned for a few years. The beach will then be filled with imported sand to help combat erosion that has occured over the last few years.

Tidal river at Kingscliff Beach

The rivermouth is popular with paddleboarders and swimmers

Relaxing location while being close to all amenities

The beauty of this place is that all the shops are closeby if you want a change of pace from the heat of the beach. You might want a bbq in the park, or want to head over to the main street, Marine Parade, which is directly across from the beach. Here you'll find an array of cafe's restaurants, shops, bars and a pub which is a hive of activity of weekends.

The boat ramp at Kingscliff Beach rivermouth

A popular place to launch boats great and small

The boardwalk at Kingscliff Beach rivermouth

Take a stroll on the boardwalk up the river to the hire shop

Beach access track to Kingscliff beach

Palm trees typical to the north coast of NSW

Kingscliff Beach rivermouth rocks

The rocky shoreline provides food for birds and fish

Getting to Kingscliff Beach

Driving - If you are driving on the Pacific Highway simply follow the signs to Kingscliff and carry along Wommin Bay Road.

Flying - Kingscliff Beach is a short 20min drive south across the border from Coolangatta Airport, which makes it a popular holiday destination for people from both NSW and QLD.

Map of Kingscliff Beach


Current weather at Kingscliff Beach


What is the next beach north from Kingscliff Beach?

Fingal Head is the next beach north from Kingscliff Beach

What is the next beach south from Kingscliff Beach?

Casuarina (Salt) Beach is the next beach south from Kingscliff Beach

Thanks for reading

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Kingscliff Beach is a family favourite for weekends and school holidays and is a great place to go for a relaxing holiday on the beach. With bustling retail and food options, newly renovated beachfront pub, a beautiful beach and estuary system, as plenty to see and do nearby, its not wonder Kingscliff Beach has been and will continue to be a favourite for many years to come.

Prints available for purchase

All photos in this article are available for purchase in various sizes as high resolution acrylic glass or canvas prints, and are available for licensing purposes for media and marketing/promotional material. The photos you see here have been compressed for optimal online user experience, which means we've intentionally reduced the file size and quality of each image to ensure the pages you visit load faster.

High res prints without watermarks

Any printed reproduction of the photos you see on OZBEACHES would be done using the original 20+ megabyte RAW files, with the additional layer of having a professional graphic designer personally inspect each image and optimise for print. The OZBEACHES watermark would be removed and would not be visible on your print. If you have any questions about this process, please email me (Adam) and let me know which photo you're interested in by quoting the caption beneath it. Alternatively you can check out our featured images in the print gallery.

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