The Macleay Valley Hinterland is a wild and natural area with a rich indigenous, agricultural and musical history. Exploring this neck of the woods requires a bit of initiative and an adventurous spirit, so don your Akubra (or pick one up from the Slim Dusty Centre gift shop in Kempsey) and get ready to be surprised.
Take a Country Drive
Set off from Kempsey, fortified with breakfast and coffee from the South Kempsey Corner Store and a classis road tripping hat from locally owned and operated Akubra. Make your way to the heritage town of Willawarrin and take the historic walk, stopping to marvel at the interior of the Willawarrin Hotel, which was built in 1893.
Further along, explore the heritage-listed village of Bellbrook, a timeless place that reflects an era when bullocks still pulled logs down the main street. Soak up the olde-world atmosphere at the perfectly restored Bellbrook Hotel, where you can enjoy a pub meal and a chin wag with the locals.
Visit Slim Dusty’s Childhood Home
Slim Dusty’s old stomping ground, “Homewood Farm”, attracts a steady stream of visitors year ‘round, who make the pilgrimage from all over Australia. Located a short drive from Bellbrook, this was the place that inspired Slim to write ‘When the Rain Tumbles Down in July’ during the Macleay Valley floods of 1945.
Pick up a Nulla Nulla Farm Veggie Box
On your way back from Homewood Farm, pull up at the Nulla Nulla Farm roadside stall and stock up on the array of fresh veggies that farmers Guido and Wendie grow in the rich, alluvial soil of Nulla Nulla. Better still, contact the farm before you set off to order a home-grown veggie box that you can pick up on your way past.
Swim at Blackbird Flat
The upper reaches of the Macleay River are pristine natural wonders predominantly enjoyed by locals in the know. To cool off in the tranquil waters, head up past Bellbrook to Blackbird Flat, where you can swim, kayak or fish for bass, soaking up the serenity of a place that remains largely undiscovered. If you’ve got time, pitch a tent, light a campfire and gaze up at the stars. Just make sure you leave this special place as untouched as you found it.