Food, fun & family adventures in the Kempsey region

From the Slim Dusty Centre to the beaches of Crescent Head, great golf courses to mouth-watering local produce: the Kempsey region hits all the right notes.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jun 2022 -
min read

Dine beachside  

Sand, surf and sensational food unite at Surf Fuel Cafe, located at Waves Campground in Crescent Head. Order your almond latte and bacon-and-egg roll and wander the few steps to the beach to enjoy it with your feet in the sand. Everything on the menu here is seasonal: it might include granola with seasonal fruits or roast mushrooms with cashew cheese. Come lunchtime, it’s hard to go past the beer-battered flathead and chips.  

Learn about a legend 

Guitarist, producer, singer-songwriter… is there anything country music legend Slim Dusty couldn’t do? The late artist’s talent is on display like nowhere else at the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey, the town he called home for so many years. You don’t have to be a fan of his music to appreciate the impact he had on Australia – he was the first artist in the nation to produce a number one international song (A Pub with No Beer).  

Credit: The Slim Dusty Centre

Credit: The Slim Dusty Centre

Love Lumah 

Paddock to plate, farm to fork… no matter what you want to call it, the sustainable dining scene is alive and well in the Kempsey region. No more so than at Crescent Head eatery Lumah Restaurant, where inspired dishes might include char-grilled Milly Hill lamb rump from the New England region, or blue swimmer crab tagliolini made from crab sustainably trapped in Shark Bay, Western Australia. If they don’t capture your attention, then the view over the Pacific surely will. 

Lumah Restaurant

Credit: Lumah Restaurant

Get active  

Nowhere is better than the South West Rocks Country Club if you have a full day to dedicate to sport – think golf (the 18-hole course is reasonably challenging), 10-pin bowling, lawn bowls, croquet and tennis. After all that exertion, there are three dining options to choose from, including diner-style deliciousness at Social Alley.  

To market, to market  

The NSW North Coast is renowned for its fresh produce, which gets star billing at Kempsey’s Riverside Market, held on the first Saturday of the month from 8am to 1pm. Bring your cooler and stock up on fresh fruit and veggies, as well as a souvenir of locally made art, relishes or handmade soaps. Enjoy stellar coffee, live music and bacon-and-egg rolls while your browse.  

Kempsey Riverside Markets

Kempsey Riverside Markets - Credit: Macleay Valley Coast

Pump up the volume 

If you’ve got a skater or BMX rider in the family, you’ll want to make a beeline for the West Kempsey Pump Track. This exciting undulating, banked path lets you zip about on bikes, skateboards, scooters or roller skates, cruising the hills with as much speed as you desire. It’s fun and safe, and suited to kids of all ages.   

West Kempsey Pump Track

West Kempsey Pump Track - Credit: Paul Koch, Macleay Valley Coast

Tee off in the great outdoors 

What’s a weekend break without a round of golf, especially if you’re having a swing alongside a mob of kangaroos? Satisfy your fairway cravings at Kempsey Golf Club, an 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Arthur W. East. The gently undulating course is framed by swathes of pristine bushland, and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including a wide variety of birds.  

Stroll from south to east 

You’ll know Kempsey like the back of your hand once you’ve done the South to East Kempsey Walk. This easy 7km trail takes you through parks and gardens and alongside the meandering Macleay River. You’ll also wander through the expansive East Kempsey Cemetery, with its peaceful green spaces and shady trees. 

Looking towards the Kempsey Traffic Bridge from Riverside Park

South to East Kempsey Walk - Credit: Macleay Valley Coast

Sip a homegrown brew 

Sam and Amanda Preston are the passionate husband-and-wife team behind Kempsey’s own Bucket Brewery. Visit them in South Kempsey and try brews like Adamsbier, a dark German ale; the Charlie Bucket Stout, a chocolate stout with a hint of vanilla; and the Coffee Lager. Take a guided tour and tasting to learn more about the brewing process: if you’re lucky, the brewery pooch, Miss Bucket, might accompany you.   

Owners Sam & Amanda Preston with their pooch Miss Bucket at the Bucket Brewery - Credit: Macleay Valley Coast

Owners Sam & Amanda Preston with their pooch Miss Bucket at the Bucket Brewery - Credit: Macleay Valley Coast

Be awed by nature 

You might feel as if time has stopped at Yarrahapinni, an ancient landscape with deep spiritual significance for both the Dunghutti and Gumbaynggirr peoples. Wander through old-growth forests filled with flooded gums and hoop pines, and savour local Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, or simply lose yourself in the stunning views to the coast. 

Yarrahapinni National Park - Credit: Macleay Valley Coast

Yarrahapinni National Park - Credit: Macleay Valley Coast

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