Photo: Surfers with their boards at Hat Head National Park - Photo Don Fuchs, Tourism NSW
Macleay Valley has been called ‘Nature’s Retreat’ and rightly so. The NSW coast here is essentially unspoilt, if you love the sun and surf lifestyle this is a great destination, with plenty of things to do for everyone. Weather for Today Kempsey and North Coast NSW Weather.
In the hinterlands, there are quiet roads that wind their way through the wooded bushlands and farmlands. Some of the many national parks in this area include Oxley Wild Rivers, Werrikimbe and Hat Head, offering stunning views, birdlife and other wildlife.
National Reserves well worth visiting here include the Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve, with its banksia and blackbutt tree forests. Native Australian wildlife abounds, including of course, kangaroos, but also echidnas and colourful birdlife. There are camping facilities, with the beach great for swimming, surfing and fishing. Others include the Skillion NR, The Castles and Ngambaa.
The Kempsey Cultural Centre, designed by Glenn Murcutt, has attracted a number of international awards, architects and their students arrive from all over the world to see this building. You can also find the Visitor Information Centre, a historical museum and a historical village there.
Phone the Macleay Valley Visitors Information Centre at 1800 642 480 for more info. More about Kempsey and Surrounds.
At the showground on the first Saturday of the month there is a market, in May, there is the Food and Wine Festival and the Kempsey Cup, an annual horse race. They also hold the annual Country Music and Trucking Festival in September.
At the mouth of the Macleay River, South West Rocks has a number of beaches within easy distance, including a crystal white beach. People enjoy ever popular water activities here, including surfing, charter fishing and scuba diving. Or join a river cruise.
Places to visit here include the Trial Bay Goal with spectacular views of this part of the NSW Coastline. Although the prison was closed in 1903, it was used during the second world war to house German prisoners. Lucky them. Beats crawling around a shallow trench on the outskirts of Moscow in the subfreezing extreme cold of a Russian winter.
Great fishing to be had here, there are plenty of beaches to enjoy as well. Found at the end of the Nambucca River, surfing, swimming and boating is popular, as is just lazing on one of the many long, stunning white crystal sand beaches.
Another place to visit would be the V-Wall Breakwater, also known as the Graffitti Gallery. Here, graffitti rocks with messages from visitors from around the world can be seen, including poetry, art and cartoons. Indeed, you can even leave your own.
Valla Beach, just nearby to Nambucca Heads, has secluded beaches and rainforests to explore. In the town itself, there is the Art and Craft Gallery and the famed Valla Smokehouse for gourmet smoked meats and other products. There is also the Gallery of Hidden Treasures - we could describe them, but that would be telling.
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Photo: Kayakers on aqua waters at South West Rocks, Kempsey