Study on the North Coast

Experience the best of regional education and communities in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Lismore

Authentic regional communities and stunning coastlines

The North Coast extends from Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour to Lismore and Byron Bay. The region offers exceptional study, research and employment opportunities in global industries including forestry, marine and environmental science.

The North Coast Region sits in the State’s north-east and provides arguably NSW’s most enviable life-work-play balance across a mixture of urban, coastal, and rural lifestyles.

Experience the best of education on the North Coast

The NSW North Coast is home to authentic rural communities and some of Australia’s best beaches. The region’s distinctive landscape underpins its economy, with tourism, agribusiness, manufacturing and tech among the key industries offering work opportunities in the area. About 13 million people visit the North Coast each year, making tourism a significant source of employment.

The Northern Rivers is a popular choice for innovative businesses and alternative lifestyles, with opportunities in diverse areas from creative to biotechnology, tourism to agriculture

The North Coast is Australia’s third largest tourism region based on domestic overnight stays. Sydney is only a one-hour flight, and a few hours' drive to the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

The North Coast supports a strong and growing economy. The region expects to see continued economic growth in the fields of health and social assistance, education and training, and the construction, tourism, creative, retail and agriculture sectors.

Students at Byron Bay Lighthouse


to Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Byron Bay


coastal and country lifestyle


by Ballina Byron Gateway Airport


In 2022, the Good Universities Guide rated Southern Cross University No.1 in Australia for Engineering and Technology


At SCU, there is 26 students per 1 teaching staff

5 stars

SCU received 5 stars for student support and overall student experience


Southern Cross University's Lismore campus delivers diverse education and research opportunities in a unique setting. The university’s specialised courses reflect its unique location, including:

  • digital media
  • business and tourism
  • marine and environmental sciences
  • engineering
  • health sciences
  • music and creative arts.

TAFE NSW also has a campus in the centre of Lismore. The region is also home to many secondary schools including public, private, independent and alternative institutions with a strong focus on academic excellence and student welfare.

SCU’s Coffs Harbour campus provides a diverse range of learning, teaching and research facilities across business, health, education, information technology and more.

For marine science students at the National Marine Science Centre, the Solitary Islands Marine Park provides an ideal and truly spectacular learning environment. The university’s recently opened Health Sciences Building features advanced laboratories and teaching spaces to meet the community needs of the future. The campus is close to beautiful beaches, as well as Coffs Harbour’s city centre.

Studying in Byron Bay


Lismore is home to a young population and a safe, culturally diverse community. The area is generally more affordable than Australia’s major capital cities. SCU’s close proximity to the city centre and airport means it is an easily walkable city for students, keeping transport costs down.

SCU offers information about on-campus and off-campus housing opportunities. Check UnistaysExternal Link  for information and prices for off-campus accommodation, as well as local real estate sites such as Link  and Link . More information on regional travel is available from Transport NSWExternal Link External Link 

Local government agencies, councils and educational institutions offer a range of support services to welcome international students and other new arrivals to Lismore. Refer to:

Surfing Byron Bay


Tourism and healthcare are the largest employers in Lismore. Other growing sectors with opportunities include retail, professional, scientific and technical services, agriculture, forestry and fishing.

SCU’s Careers & Employability team provides personalised career consultations for students. Students can also access the University’s Career Directory to search for part-time work.

Coffs Harbour is one of the fastest growing regions of NSW, offering students the opportunity to work in local resorts, hotels, tourist attractions and agricultural businesses while they study. Coffs Harbour City CouncilExternal Link  offers more information on employment opportunities.

SCU’s Careers and Employability team provides personalised career consultations for students throughout their studies. Students can also access the University’s Career Hub to search for part-time work. 

Hotel worker


The North Coast isn't just world-class beaches and charming coastal towns. Holiday in Byron BayExternal Link  and The TweedExternal Link  so you can delve into an innovative food scene. Be sure to check out the region’s calendar of music festivals headlined by international acts.

Jump in the water as you learn to surf, snorkel or dive to see the coral reefs and their beautiful inhabitants around Cook IslandExternal Link  and Julian RocksExternal Link . To see it all, grab your mates, hire a car and explore the entire coast like the locals do, with a road trip.

Learn moreExternal Link 

Hike near Port Macquarie

Biggest employment sectors

  1. Health care and social assistance
  2. Retail trade
  3. Education and training
  4. Construction
  5. Accommodation and food services
  6. Public Administration and food services
  7. Manufacturing
  8. Professional, scientific and technical services

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