The north coast of New South Wales starts just north of Newcastle and stretches to Tweed Heads on the Queensland border. The most notable stops along the way are Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay, but these are well on the beaten path, and it is worth it to take a few detours inland if you can.
On a scenic drive up the Pacific Highway, the north coast is the calm before the Queensland storm, with some eccentric towns and awesome national parks where you can get a taste of the real Australia. The lovely towns of the far north hinterland are packed with laid-back country folk and new-age hippies, giving the area an interesting vibe. The highway passes through quite a few lush river deltas and serene estuaries, and scenic views of mountain ranges and coastline abound.
This is the perfect area for the outdoorsy type. Activities range from horseback riding, jet boating, surfing, kayaking, white water rafting and much more. Any hostel you stay in will have flyers and information ready for whatever adventure takes your fancy. Since there are so many companies running tours, most of them are surprisingly inexpensive considering what you get. Look into it; it is a great way to spend a day and make some friends.