Kempsey Area

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.

Coastal walk around Hat Head National Park, Macleay Valley Coast.

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.

Bellbrook - 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.

Things to do and places to stay

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  1. Arakoon bushcare group

    Wednesday 02 May 2018 to Wednesday 11 July 2018 , South West Rocks

    The fragile coastal dune system of Arakoon National Park, near South West Rocks and Kempsey, is under threat from invasive weeds such as bitou bush. Volunteer for two hours of weeding each week to help eradicate invasive weeds and restore n…

    02 May - 11 Jul
  2. Kempsey Riverside Market

    Saturday 05 May 2018 , Kempsey

    The Kempsey Riverside Market is held on the first Saturday of every month, from 8am to 1pm on the banks of the beautiful Macleay River. This quality market features produce and products from Kempsey and surrounding districts, with an empha…

    05 May
  3. Crescent Head Malibu Classic

    Thursday 24 May 2018 to Saturday 26 May 2018 , Crescent Head

    Crescent Head Malibu Club presents the Crescent Head Malibu Classic at Killick Beach, Crescent Head. In the 1960s, longboarders surfing north along the coast found the home of one of the longest and most classic point breaks in the world. …

    24 May - 26 May
  4. South West Rocks Running Festival

    Sunday 10 June 2018 , Kempsey

    The South West Rocks Running Festival, formally the Macleay River Marathon, in its 35th year, is a scenic riverside run along the banks of the beautiful Macleay River and back to Trial Bay Gaol. It is held every year on the June long weeken…

    10 Jun
  5. Sculpture in the Gaol

    Event dates to be confirmed: August 2018 , South West Rocks

    For the duration of the event the historic grounds of Trial Bay Gaol will be transformed into a dramatic landscape filled with sculptures for this stunning exhibition. Why not also take the opportunity to read about the Gaol’s famous hist…

    05 Aug
  6. Slim Dusty Festival

    Monday 15 October 2018 to Sunday 21 October 2018 , Kempsey

    Fun and Friendly Country Music Festival for all ages in October with camping on site - choose powered and unpowered sites. Their great bus tour this year will be to Slim Dusty's childhood homestead and The Pub with No Beer with morning tea …

    15 Oct - 21 Oct