How to make a great weekend away in the Northern Rivers for Casino Beef Week 

The Northern Rivers is such a beautiful place to explore! Definitely make a little getaway out of your visit to Casino Beef Week.

Whether you're a family, a foodie, a country-drive-lover or a beef-to-reef kind of person, there's a great weekend waiting for you this May in Casino.

 

For families

On your way down south into the Northern Rivers from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, take a break from driving at Tropical Fruit World, 45 minutes south of the Gold Coast, right on the highway.

With over 500 varieties of tropical fruits from around the world grown on the farm, you can taste, smell and touch rare exotic fruits such as chocolate pudding fruit, chewing gum tree and lemon meringue fruit - and there's something being harvested every month of the year. For kids, there's a Plantation Safari guided farm tour, 'The Island' recreation area, the fauna park and adventure on the miniature train ride and wildlife boat cruise. 

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Another hour and a half further on is Casino. Lismore along the way is a great place to stop for lunch – the food is really good! 

Lismore is home to the biggest population of koalas in NSW – you can visit injured koalas at a tour at the Koala Care Centre.

The town’s vibrant arts scene is reflected in the street murals throughout the downtown laneways.

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A stroll along the river walkway reveals an outdoor museum unlike any other in the area. Interpretive sites, public art installations, native landscaping, and parkland facilities all link to create a unique setting for you to explore the historic, cultural, artistic, and recreational fabric of life along the banks of the Wilson River.

In Casino, there are lots of fun places to stay from caravan parks, to country motels or a family-friendly country place like the Clydesdale Motel and Steakbarn, on 12 acres of lush green paddocks - a fresh taste of the country lifestyle, with excellent kid-friendly dining.

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With over 100 events over 11 days, Casino has fun activities to get involved in to learn about the paddock to plate process and have good old-fashioned country fun!

Don’t miss a miniature train ride at the Casino Miniature Railway for a ride through the splendid Jabiru Geneebeinga Wetlands and the free railway museum.

Early in the morning or as the sun goes down, wander over to Platypus Pool on the meandering Richmond River – you may get lucky and spot a platypus!

On your way home at the end of your visit to Casino, stop by Summerland House Farm, a working macadamia and avocado farm set in the hills of the Alstonville Plateau. The farm has a wide range of attractions for kids including tractor farm tours, mini golf, a water spray park and playground, a regional food showcase, a museum and a cafe.

Wrap up your getaway with a stop at one of the beautiful beaches of the Northern Rivers for a swim to tire out the kids for the last bit of drive home. 

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The ultimate Northern Rivers food experience

Casino has ‘steaked’ its claim to the title of Australia's Beef Capital having won the world's best steak at the World Steak Challenge in London.

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You'll find a great steak at the Casino RSM Club's Peppercorne restaurant (above). The Barn Steakhouse is a premier restaurant in Casino with a great outdoor space (below). If you’d like to hang out with the locals, the Cecil Hotel has great pub food. 

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A scenic drive twenty minutes southwest of Casino is Mongogarie Lodge, an organic olive farm where you can enjoy an olive grove tour and a homecooked meal featuring locally-grown produce or a traditional wood-fired oven pizza. ‘Italy isn’t that far away when you travel to Mongogarie.’ 

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For brekky, one of the best breakfasts around is Evans to Betsy in Evans Head, with poached eggs on organic sourdough, smoky bacon-baked beans, oven-roasted balsamic tomatoes, chia puddings ....the list of goodness goes on - not your usual breakfast menu.

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Smack dab halfway on the trip between Casino and the Gold Coast is Harvest in the tiny hamlet of Newrybar. The restaurant, bakery and deli showcases the diversity of the local region. Seasonal food sourced from artisan producers and their own edible gardens sit alongside foraged native and wild Australian ingredients. The award-winning wine list explores small, conscientious wine-makers and lesser-known Australian varietals.

If you are free to visit Casino Beef Week midweek, don’t miss Harvest's wild harvest sessions. Every Wednesday, after a day of foraging with wild food researcher Peter Hardwick, Harvest creates a bespoke menu that explores Australia’s under-utilised native ingredients with carefully curated, fun dishes. 

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Weekend in the Country

Rich in timber, dairying and grazing country, the Richmond Valley provides a scenic backdrop for those who enjoy the great outdoors. If you love scenic drives and interesting little towns, relaxing on great beaches and interesting food, the Northern Rivers is for you!

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In Casino, enjoy a walk through the town’s wealth of Art Deco and heritage buildings. Watch Aboriginal artists at work in the on-site studio at Jambama Art Gallery, browse exhibitions, and buy authentic works. 

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Stop by the Platypus Pool below the Manyweathers Weir, a block west of Centre Street. In the early morning or at dusk, the telltale signs are a row of bubbles in the water. The platypus is notoriously shy so seeing them is usually a combination of patience, silence and a little luck.

The Jabiru Geneebeinga Wetlands are another ideal place for a quiet walk through interesting wetlands which are a sanctuary to a rich variety of birds including jabirus, egrets, ducks and black swans

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From Casino, a drive to Richmond Range National Park takes you to the spectacular Cambridge Plateau. 

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The Casino Tourist Information Office has a number of recommended drives routes around the area:

Broadwater-Evans Head-Woodburn-New Italy
This is 32 km drive is estimated to take 4 hours and includes river and seaside townships, national parks and scenic lookouts.

New Italy-Bungawalbin Creek-Whiporie-Neiley's Lagoon-Coraki
This drive of 130 km takes about a day. It goes from New Italy's cultural and Aboriginal centre then on through quiet paperbark forests and tea tree plantations, with opportunities for secluded picnics, fishing, canoeing and nature photography.

Hogarth Range-Mallanganee Lookout-Mt Pikepene-Rappville-Casino
This drive of 134 km takes about a day and takes you to cool restful state forests, spectacular views, diverse landscapes, historic sites and charming old-world villages where you can enjoy genuine country hospitality.

Devils Pulpit-Doubleduke-State Forests-Pyrocarpa-New Italy
This 52 km 4WD tour takes about half a day to explore three largely untouched state forests, with rare and abundant wildlife and vegetation, before travelling on to Bungawalbin Creek and the culturally-unique New Italy Museum.

Springrove-Naughton's Gap-Bentley-Fairy Hill-Casino
This 2-hour drive of 45 km takes you through some of the North Coast's most lush and scenic landscapes, with majestic views across farmlands, orchards and wetlands.

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Mongogarie Lodge Olives farm stay is an ideal place to stay on your rural escape. The family-run organic olive farm offers olive grove tours and traditional wood-fired pizza.  

 

Coast and Country 

A scenic 40-minute drive away from Australia's Beef Capital, Casino, is the ‘jewel in the crown of the Richmond Valley’: Evans Head with its long, unspoilt beaches, fantastic fishing and highly recommended surf break.

From Razorback Lookout on Goanna Headland you can take in breathtaking panoramic views of the coast.

North and south of Evans Head are Broadwater and Bundjalung National Parks with great bushwalking trails.

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The surf at Evans Head is ideal for inexperienced surfers because it enjoys protection from the big southeast swells that get the local big-wave riders excited.

The river estuary that divides the town attracts lots of ocean wildlife and there's great fishing in the river itself off the beach. 

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Rob at Fozie's Fishing Adventures has been fishing the Evans Head / Ballina region for 40 years and has an extensive knowledge of the area. He offers fishing charters from Evans Head for a glorious day on the water exploring or catching what the ocean has to offer.

You can also buy fresh seafood caught that day by the small, local fishing fleet. Keep an eye out for an osprey's nest near the tiny boat harbour that's home to the state's first prawn-fishing fleet.

The best breakfast around in Evans Head is Evans to Betsy - not your usual breakfast menu, think smoky bacon-baked beans, oven-roasted balsamic tomatoes, chia puddings ....the list of goodness goes on.

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On Sunday 20 May Beef Meets Reef Festival is hosted at Evans Head for a day full of all sorts of beefy family fun! There will be markets featuring live music, camp oven cooking, pig races, baby animals, rides, tug of war, car and bike displays, and plenty of locals to bring the streets alive.

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Linda Tillman