Sixteen kilometres east of Taree on the southern side of the mouth of the Manning River, Old Bar is a sleepy coastal town with a laidback surfer vibe. Surrounded by national park and peppered with coastal trails, this is a great place to swim, surf and fish, making it the perfect destination for a classic beach holiday.
The name Old Bar comes from the shifting sands where the river meets the sea, characterised by beautiful white sand. Old Bar Beach is a popular reef break for surfers, and also a fantastic place for kite-boarding. 4WDs are permitted along the beach north of Old Bar, with permits obtained from MidCoast Council.
Only 10min drive from Old Bar is Saltwater National Park. Surrounded by rainforest, Saltwater Beach is a great surfing or swimming spot. If you want to learn to surf, Saltwater Surf School offers a range of private and group lessons as well as gear hire.
Nearby, the village of Wallabi Point is also known for its surfing beach. Unpack a lunch by the water at Saltwater Picnic Area, a place of major significance to the local Birpi people. The nature reserve has a picnic area with barbecues and tables, while the lagoon provides safe swimming for families.
The Headland Walking Track in Saltwater National Park leads through rainforest to the headland, where there is a viewing platform to spot migrating humpback whales from May to November.. From Old Bar, it’s also 30min drive north to Crowdy Bay National Park, where you’ll find more gorgeous beaches to enjoy.
The Old Bar Beach Festival is an annual celebration held every October long weekend with market and food stalls, kid's activities and live music. Kombi Fest is one of the festival's highlights.
Getting there & where to stay
Just under four hours’ drive north of Sydney and two hours from Newcastle, Old Bar is the perfect beach getaway. It’s a 20min drive from Taree Airport, coach services run from Sydney and Newcastle, or you can catch the train from Sydney via Newcastle. Fly Pelican currently operates direct flights between Sydney and Taree twice a week.
Beachside accommodation at Old Bar includes self-contained apartments, beach houses and cottages, caravan and camping sites. You’ll also find campgrounds at nearby holiday havens nearby include Hallidays Point, Diamond Head, Black Head and Wallabi Point.