Officially recognised as one of the best surf spots in the country, Crescent Head is a classic Aussie beach village with a laid-back, retro vibe and a deeply entrenched surf culture. It’s also a firm favourite with families wanting to explore the natural and historic treasures of the Macleay Valley Coast region.
Crescent Head highlights
Let’s go surfing
Surfing is at the very core of Creso, as locals call it, with its legendary long, slow right-hand break off Killick Beach recognised as a National Surfing Reserve since 2008. Home to the annual Malibu Classic for amateur longboarders, this beach is also ideal for families, with a sheltered cove and great picnic facilities.
Budding surfers can get started on the waves at several surf schools in town, including Crescent Head Learn to Surf or On Point Surf School; or dedicate your whole holiday to surfing with a stay at Surfaris Retreat. Venture further afield to find more secluded breaks, including Racecourse Beach, Point Plomer with its popular campground, and the calm waters of pristine Delicate Nobby, ideal for snorkelling.
Hike the coast
If you’re not into surfing, or just want a change of pace on terra firma, you can take in the stunning coastal views on the 1.4km Big Hill Rainforest Track, a great vantage point for whale watching in winter and spring. You can also walk along the edge of the scenic six-hole Crescent Head Country Club Golf Course to ascend Big Nobby for panoramic views across the ocean.
Just south of Crescent Head are the uncrowded beaches of Goolawah National Park; while at and Limeburners Creek National Park – named for the lime created in colonial times by burning oyster shells – you can find significant Aboriginal heritage sites dating back thousands of year. 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.
Coastal chic eateries & stays
Creso’s vibrant surf culture is celebrated in the town’s cool cafes and clothing boutiques. Get your morning caffeine fix before hitting the waves at Point Break Cafe outside the surf club; indulge in local seafood at Pandanus Garden Bar and Restaurant; or explore the native ingredients and seasonal farm produce at stylish Lumah Restaurant.
There are many charming places to stay, whether it be at a beachfront campground, a holiday park in the centre of town, hotels or rural cottages. For a unique experience, you can even book a night at the lighthouse keepers cottages at Smoky Cape.
Crescent Head is a 4hr 45min drive from Sydney and just under six hours from Brisbane. 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.