Crescent Head

This easy-going town at the southern edge of the Macleay Valley Coast is one of the most famous surfing spots in the country. You’ll also discover beautiful sandy beaches and lush national parks for bushwalking, camping and whale watching. It’s easy to see why Crescent Head is a firm favourite for family holidays.

Two men enjoying golf at Crescent Head Country Club, Macleay Valley Coast.

Surfing and beaches

Surfers have been flocking to the beaches of Crescent Head since the 1950s. In 2008, Killick Beach was named one of Australia’s National Surfing Reserves for its long, slow right hand break. It’s also home to the annual Crescent Head Malibu Classic, the largest amateur longboard competition in the country.

Killick is popular with families too, as children can swim in the sheltered waters of Killick Creek. Point Plomer is another great surf break and a favourite of the locals. Goolawah Beach is the place to get away from the crowds and Delicate Beach can be good for snorkelling on calm days. To brush up on your surfing skills, join Surfaris for a lesson or camp.

Surfer carrying a longboard at sunset, Crescent Head

Things to do

Enjoy bushwalking, swimming and fishing in the coastal national parks. To the south is Goolawah National Park and Limeburners Creek National Park, named for the lime created in colonial times from burning oyster shells. You’ll find significant Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in the parks that date back thousands of years.

The Big Hill Rainforest walking track is a moderately challenging 1.4km loop with spectacular views. The headland on the walk is a great vantage point for spotting whales between May and November. You can also spot whales from Crescent Head Lookout and Little Nobby Point, and even from the fairways of the six-hole golf course.

Surfing at Crescent Head National Surfing Reserve

Hat Head

About 45min north of Crescent Head is Hat Head, a sleepy village surrounded by national park. Follow walking trails along the peninsula, snorkel in the crystal clear water of Hat Head Creek and look for birds in the wetlands. The continental shelf is just 13km offshore, so it’s also a great spot for deep water fishing.

Getting there and where to stay

Crescent Head is a 4hr 45min drive from Sydney and just under six hours from Melbourne. You can also catch a train from Sydney to Kempsey, just 20min away. Or fly into Port Macquarie Airport and hire a car for the 45min drive. Stay in a holiday park in the centre of town, beachfront campgrounds, hotels or rural cottages.