Kempsey Area

Highlights

Surfing, diving and bushwalking

Enjoy world-famous waves at Crescent Head, thrilling dives at Fish Rock Cave, the beautiful Macleay River and bushwalking in national parks in the Kempsey region, on the mid North Coast of NSW. You can also visit the fascinating Wigay Aboriginal Cultural Park, too.

  • Smoky Cape Lighthouse
  • Crescent Head, Macleay Valley Coast

About the Kempsey region

From world-class waves and thrilling dives to exhilarating bushwalks and fascinating museums, the Kempsey region is a wonderful destination. On the mid North Coast of NSW, the region is blessed with gorgeous, uncrowded beaches and spectacular wilderness such as Hat Head National Park.

On the banks of the beautiful Macleay River, Kempsey is the main town in the area with a number of heritage-listed buildings and the Wigay Aboriginal Cultural Park, where you can learn about native plants used by Aboriginals for food and medicine. The iconic Akubra hat is made in Kempsey.

Hat Head National Park

A legend of Australian country music, Slim Dusty, is honoured in Kempsey, less than five hours’ drive north of Sydney. Visit the Slim Dusty Centre and learn more about the famous singer-songwriter. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in the region, from luxury retreats to campgrounds.

Explore the region on scenic drives, including the splendid Heritage Hotel of Gladstone, a pub by the Macleay River in the charming Gladstone village, northeast of Kempsey. Inland from Kempsey is the Willi Willi National Park, where you’ll find some of the best warm temperate rainforest in Australia.

Hinterland, Macleay Valley Coast

On the coast is Crescent Head, a surfing paradise with one of the longest point breaks in Australia. You can learn to surf with Surfaris, which operates a surf camp in Crescent Head, a laid-back coastal town. The annual Crescent Head Malibu Classic draws surfers from around the world.

For one of the best cave dives in Australia head for South West Rocks, 50 minutes’ drive north of Crescent Head and 30 minutes northeast of Kempsey. Two kilometres off South West Rocks is Fish Rock Cave. Diving tours are available with Fish Rock Dive Centre and South West Rocks Dive Centre.

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Local areas

  • Crescent Head Crescent Head is home to many beautiful beaches.
  • Kempsey Kempsey is a historic river town close to national parks and majestic beaches.
  • South West Rocks South West Rocks is a sleepy coastal retreat at its barefoot best.