9 Free things to do on the Macleay Valley Coast

When it comes to family holidays, sometimes the best things in life really are free! Forget the bells and whistles and enjoy connecting with each other, getting back to nature and enjoying the simple things with these free activities.

1. Spend a morning at the skate park

If you’ve got kids who love skating or scootering, you can’t beat a session at one of the Macleay Valley Coast’s skate parks. The kids will meet new friends and burn off some energy while you relax. Alternatively, you can have a go yourself! There are excellent skate park facilities in Kempsey, Stuarts Point and South West Rocks.

2. A day at the park

The Macleay Valley Coast is blessed with some wonderful parks for kids. One of the best is the Kempsey Riverside Park, which boasts a flying fox, challenging climbing frame, a rope swing and water features. The park is also home to the wonderful Kempsey Riverside Markets, held on the first Saturday of the month.

The Horseshoe Bay Park in South West Rocks is another gem that has a flying fox, climbing frame, plenty of swings and more to keep the kids entertained for hours. When you’re done, wander across to Horseshoe Bay or Main Beach for a swim in the calm waters of South West Rocks.

View from Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park_South West Rocks_Macleay Valley Coast
Horseshoe Bay Park

3. Go for a bushwalk

One of the best ways to make the most out of your holiday to our region just happens to be free – bushwalking. The Macleay Valley Coast’s untouched national parks give you the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the pristine bushland and deserted beaches that make our region unique. Find out more about walks in the Macleay Valley Coast.

4. Explore our galleries

Want a taste of culture without spending a thing? Wander the village of Gladstone to check out the village’s numerous galleries and art studios or visit the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery in Kempsey for an insight into our region’s rich indigenous history and culture. Entry into all of the galleries is free, but be warned, you may be tempted to spend once you see the quality of the artwork!

Green Island Walking Track_Macleay Valley Coast
Korogoro Creek Walk
Macleay Valley Community Art Gallery_Couple Looking_Macleay Valley Coast
Macleay Valley Community Art Gallery

5. Ride the Kalateenee Mountain Bike Trails

If you’re in possession of a decent mountain bike, the Kalateenee Mountain bike trails are not to be missed. Enjoy a day of exploring the 25 kilometres of well-maintained trails that meander through the Kalateenee State Forest. Ranging from easy to challenging, the trails will suit everyone from beginners to advanced riders.

Rocky Trail Shimano GP, Kempsey, 2020
Mountain Biking in the Kalateenee Trails

6. Visit the Library

Community libraries offer a surprisingly rich experience for visitors – particularly those with children – and the Kempsey Library is no exception. With a range of books, jigsaw puzzles and toys for kids, it’s the perfect place to spend a rainy morning or to simply relax and read books together. Check out the library website to find out about Children’s Storytime and free holiday workshops for kids.

7. Start birdwatching

You don’t need special binoculars to discover the amazing array of bird life in the Macleay. Visit the Boyters Lane Bird Hide near South West Rocks to spot rare wetland birds or visit our bird watching page here to download birdwatching brochure to record your findings.

8. Swimming

Macleay Valley Coast_south West Rocks

It seems obvious, but swimming at the beach is anything but ordinary on the Macleay Valley Coast, where the beaches are beyond incredible. Some of our favourite safe swimming spots include Horseshoe Bay, Main Beach and Trial Bay in South West Rocks, Korogoro Creek in Hat Head and Killick Creek in Crescent Head. Expect crystal-clear waters, calm conditions, gorgeous white sand and plenty of fun – none of which costs a dime, check out our beaches here

9. Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Macleay Valley Coast_Hero Banner_Smoky Cape
Trial Bay Gaol

The walk from the carpark to Smoky Cape Lighthouse is enough to get your heart started but the views when you get there are definitely worth it. Kids and adults will love immersing themselves in the history of the lighthouse and are likely to spot a whale or two in season. It’s also the perfect place for a picnic and there are several bushwalks that head out from the lighthouse.

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