Nature on the Macleay Valley Coast

From bushwalking to fishing, diving to surfing, enjoying the natural wonders of the beautiful Macleay Valley Coast is an adventure. There is the iconic point break at Crescent Head and one of the world’s best cave dives off South West Rocks. Camping in the national parks is popular, too

Kayaking on the Macleay River is a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty of both the hinterland and the coast. The meandering waterway flows through the valley and into the sea at South West Rocks. Bring your fishing rod and cast a line for freshwater fish upstream or estuary fish.

Two bushwalkers exploring a headland, Hat Head National Park

For a stunning panorama of the region, Collombatti Lookout is a just north of Kempsey. The lookout borders the Ngambaa Nature Reserve, where you can enjoy 4WD touring on unsealed roads in old-growth forest and rainforest walking trails. The Cedar Park picnic area here is a lovely spot for lunch.

Blessed with many natural attractions, the Macleay Valley Coast is on the mid NSW North. Kempsey, the main town, is 4h 45min drive north of Sydney and less than six hours south of Brisbane. Places to stay in the region range from campgrounds and holiday parks to hotels, motels and a health retreat.

Group enjoying Smoky Cape Lighthouse’s coastal views, Hat Head National Park

In the national parks are great surf beaches, beach and rock fishing spots, rainforest walking tracks, beachside camping sites and vantage points for whale watching between May and November, when humpbacks migrate along the coast. The seaside national parks on the Macleay Valley Coast are:

The right-hand point break at Crescent Head is one of Australia’s longest wave rides. A favourite of longboard surfers, the area is recognised as one of the National Surfing Reserves. The 1964 world champion Midget Farrelly described it as the ‘best surf’, the National Surfing Reserves’ website says.

For an underwater adventure, Fish Rock Cave is 2km offshore of South West Rocks. This a thrilling 125-metre-long cave dive in a haven for grey nurse sharks, a fearsome-looking yet harmless species of shark. Both the South West Rocks Dive Centre and the Fish Rock Dive Centre offer cave dive tours.

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