If you love the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. The Macleay Valley Coast offers world-class diving, fishing and golfing experiences and the hinterland features off-the beaten-track bush walks, fishing and kayaking in the Macleay River and exciting mountain bike trails just waiting to be explored.
1. The Kalateenee Mountain Bike Trails
Adventure seekers will be in heaven on the Kalateenee Mountain Bike Trails – 25 kilometres of tracks that loop through stunning bush scenery of towering eucalypts, ironbark and brushbox trees. The trails are graded and well-maintained, featuring plenty of fun obstacles and challenges, though most are suitable for young enthusiasts and beginners. The trails are located behind the Kempsey Golf Club. Explore them on your way in or out of the hinterland.
The bushwalks of the Macleay Valley hinterland require an adventurous spirit and a bit of creativity. Take off on a stroll from Nulla Nulla or Blackbird Flat into the heart of the Australian bush to take in the beauty of the crystal clear creeks, rocky outcrops and towering eucalypts of the upper Macleay River.
Along the coast, you’ll find the best bushwalks, from easy to challenging, in the Arakoon and Hat Head National Parks that surround South West Rocks. Tackle the 10-kilometre track from Little Bay to Smoky Cape if you’re after a challenging hike or wander the shorter trails fthat lead out from Trial Bay Gaol. Near Crescent Head, you’ll find short headland walks in Limeburners and Goolawah National Parks. Another beautiful rainforest walk sets out from The Pines Picnic Area in Yarriabini National Park and, nearby, there’s a great coastal headland trail around Grassy Head.
3. Kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding
If you’re in possession of your own watercraft, the Macleay Valley Coast hinterland is your oyster! Put in at Kempsey or further up the Macleay River at Blackbird Flat and explore the vast Macleay River, whose pristine upper reaches need to be seen to be believed.
Kayaks can be hired from Stuarts Point Holiday Park or the Big 4 NRMA in South West Rocks and SWR SUP offers paddleboard hire and tours of beautiful Back Creek, whose clear waters abound with rays, dolphins and an array of colourful fish.
4. 4WDing and Birdwatching in the Macleay
From outback off-roading to 4WD beach driving, The Macleay Valley has an abundance of terrain and trails to explore. Drive through our beautiful Hinterland or grab yourself a beach permit and get yourself onto one of the many 4WD accessible beaches.
5. Surfing in Crescent Head
The beaches around Crescent Head have been a mecca for surfers for generations, and it’s easy to see why. With breaks to suit both beginners and advanced surfers, there’s a beach here to accommodate all conditions, though locals aren’t quick to tell anyone about their favourite locations! Our suggestion is, grab your board and explore the beaches along Point Plomer Road or try your luck at the Point with everyone else – even if you only get one wave, it’s sure to be a cracker.
If you’re a beginner, pick up some lessons with the friendly crew at On Point Surf School.
6. Joy Flights with City and Country Air Charters
In the mood for something really different? Book a joy flight with City and Country Air Charters to see the beautiful Macleay Valley Coast from a new perspective, spotting whales from above and experiencing the majesty of Smoky Cape and Hat Head from up close. It’s also possible to book a romantic sunset flight or an overnight stay at a completely secluded location. Flights operate out of Kempsey Airport and promise a once in a lifetime experience!
7. Play a scenic game of golf
The golf courses on the Macleay Valley Coast offer immaculately manicured greens, challenging fairways and stunning natural surrounds for an unsurpassed golfing experience. For a short yet scenic game, tee off at the Crescent Head Country Club, a six-hole course with spectacular coastal views or the fun nine-hole Frederickton Golf Club. Longer games can be enjoyed at the Kempsey Golf Club (be sure to dodge the plentiful kangaroos!) or the challenging South West Rocks Country Club.
8. Dive in the crystal-clear waters around South West Rocks
Whether you’re an adrenaline seeker looking to test your ability in a maze of caves beneath the surface or you’re simply looking to discover an underwater world filled with an abundance of marine life, Fish Rock at South West Rocks is a world-class diving destination. To explore any of the reef systems, we recommend joining a scuba charter with one of the highly regarded local operators.
10. Book a fishing charter
The Macleay Valley Coast abounds with excellent fishing opportunities in both the ocean and waterways.
With deep coastal waters on the edge of the continental shelf, South West Rocks offers a high-class fishing experience and is home to several fishing charter operators who guarantee a fishing experience you’re not likely to forget! Hat Head, Stuarts Point and Grassy Head are also popular fishing spots.