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Australia Tourist Guide -> New South Wales Tourist Guide -> NSW Coast Regions -> North Coast -> Kempsey, North Coast of NSW

Kayakers on aqua waters at South West Rocks, Kempsey, North Coast
Photo: Kayakers on aqua waters at South West Rocks, Kempsey, North Coast

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Kempsey, North Coast of NSW

Map showing Kempsey: North Coast Map.

Situated in the Macleay Valley on the coast, there are idyllic beaches, national parks, beautiful countryside and a whole variety of lookouts to take it all in. The town itself is known for the production of Akubra Hats and is also the birthplace of the Australian country singer, Slim Dusty. One of his memorable songs is ’The Pub With No Beer’, and despite its disconcerting title, achieved world wide fame in the early 1950s.

Thomas Kenneally, acclaimed Australian author, grew up here as well. His book “A River Town”, is based on life in Kempsey during the early 1900s.

In Kempsey, you can experience Aboriginal culture at the Wigay Aboriginal Cultural Park. Learn about Bush Tucker, Australian food sources that enabled Aboriginals to thrive and survive here for tens of thousands of years and the use of native plants for everything from medicines, to hunting, housing, music and art.

Heritage Tour

Take the Kempsey Town Scenic Drive to view the heritage buildings of Kempsey as well as the local scenery. Details are available from the Kempsey Visitor Information Centre at the start of the drive.

Places to Visit

Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery

The Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery, located in an annex to the Kempsey Visitor Information Centre, exhibits works from local artists and around the Mid-North Coast region. You can purchase this art and other unique handiwork creations. Visit their Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery. Located on Lachlan Street, South Kempsey in the park.

Kempsey Museum

Also located by the Kempsey Visitor Information Centre is the Kempsey Museum. Tracing the region’s history from before colonial settlement till now, there are award winning displays and exhibits complete with historical artefacts. Visit their website for more information:


Arakoon National Park

On the coast, the Arakoon National Park has great natural scenery for those wishing to see what the earth looked like before the impact of civilization. There are beaches to laze on or even fish and stunning views, especially on the Monument Walking Track and history to explore.

You can visit the Trial Bay Gaol, now in ruins but originally built to hold prisoners who were there to construct things there in the 1800s. Birdwatching is popular here too, you can spot eagles and falcons.

Carrai National Park

West from Kempsey, the Carrai National Park is for those who really want to explore. There is almost no infra-structure, old growth forest with native trees and lots of wildlife.

Ngambaa Nature Reserve

This remote reserve, located in the Nambucca Valley, also has lots of old growth forest and is a haven for birdlife. The forest is deep here, with a wide variety of tree species.

Limeburners Creek National Park

This park, on the coast, protects the heathlands and whole host of wildlife. There are also significant Aboriginal heritage sites here, from the Dunghutti people and the Biripai people. The beautiful scenic beaches complete the picture.

Kempsey Visitor Information Centre

Located in the Val Melville Centre at the South Kempsey Park, you can find out more about the activities, festivals, markets and scenic drives of Kempsey and the beautiful Macleay Valley Coast:
Phone: 1800 642 480.

Map of the North East of NSW.

Places to Stay

There are hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, backpackers, holiday parks, cabins and farmstays available for accommodation, or go camping at one of the National Parks and stay under the stars.

North Coast Further Reading

NSW Regions

North Coast

Northern Rivers

On the border with Queensland, the sub-tropical region of the Northern Rivers of NSW: NSW Northern Rivers Region.

North NSW Coast Maps

See maps of the region:


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