Nature on the Macleay Valley Coast
From unspoilt coastline and verdant national parks to winding rivers, iconic surf breaks and underwater caves, the Macleay Valley Coast is home to some of NSW’s most spectacular natural wonders. It’s a place for outdoor adventures all year round.
Beaches and waterways
The right-hand point break at Killick Beach in Crescent Head is one of Australia’s longest wave rides. A favourite of longboard surfers since the 1950s, the area is recognised as one of the country’s National Surfing Reserves. You’ll find more surfing and swimming beaches along the coast, and even some you can drive a 4WD along.
For an underwater adventure, Fish Rock Cave is 2km offshore from South West Rocks. This thrilling 125metre-long cave dive is one of the world’s best and the site is also a breeding ground for rare grey nurse sharks. Both the South West Rocks Dive Centre and the Fish Rock Dive Centre offer cave dive tours.
Go kayaking on the Macleay River, a meandering waterway that flows through the valley and into the sea. Bring your fishing rod and cast a line for freshwater fish upstream or estuary fish. The calm waters of Back Creek are perfect for stand-up paddleboarding or try snorkelling in Hat Head Creek.
National parks and walking trails
There are four coastal national parks on the Macleay Valley Coast: Arakoon, Hat Head, Goolawah and Limeburners Creek. Here you’ll find great surf beaches, beach and rock fishing spots, rainforest walking tracks, significant Aboriginal sites and beachside campgrounds.
One of the best ways to explore the region is on foot. Top walks include:
- Smoky Cape walking track, Hat Head
- Rainforest walking track, Hat Head
- Jack Perkins walking track, Hat Head
- Powder Magazine walking track, Arakoon
- Bridle trail, near Trial Bay Gaol
The Macleay Valley Coast is lined with fantastic coastal lookouts that make great vantage points during whale watching season from May to November. Try the Korogoro and Connors walking tracks near Hat Head, Reservoir Lookout near Crescent Head or climb to the top of Smoky Cape Lighthouse for views along the whole coastline.