The Macleay Valley Coast is a special place where relaxation is the order of the day. It is easy to access this beautiful area located in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Blessed with the mighty Macleay River and many creeks and rivers, mountains, tranquil rural settings, pristine beaches, protected National Parks, historic buildings, industry, art and various cultural events.
Hinterland hideaways…. Bellbrook and beyond
In the ‘cradle of Australian country music’, where the Macleay River and sparkling creeks collide, bellbirds still tinkle in forested mountains and time has gone fishing. Heritage-listed Bellbrook’s turn-of-the-20th-century architecture reflects an era when bullock teams laboured down Main Street and cedar getters felled huge trees with two pit saws riveted together.
For countless generations this magical valley sung with more than just the call of ‘timber’, it echoed with Thunghutti didgeridoos and tap sticks, and later the guitar strumming of country music legends Slim Dusty and his mate Shorty Ranger. Driving out to Slim’s boyhood farm along the Slim Dusty Way Scenic Drive, past jagged mountains, rolling hills and transparent Nulla Nulla Creek, it is easy to see where their inspiration came from.
Feel like a pioneer on an historic walk past Bellbrook’s perfectly-restored residential homes, hotel, café, general store and a Community Craft Centre. Accommodation ranges from riverside cabins to farmhouses, campgrounds and mountain health retreats.
At riverside Blackbird Flat Public Recreation Reserve’s free, car-based and dog-friendly campgrounds, west of Bellbrook, happy campers fish, canoe, mountain bike and cook perch or bass on the barbeque.
Historic Willawarrin has been a rest stop for travellers for centuries and there has been a pub here since 1893. Take a scenic drive back to Kempsey through state forest to Collombatti Lookout and Cedar Park Picnic Area beside the pristine Stockyard Creek. A pleasant walk leads through cool rainforest at the Ngambaa Nature Reserve.
En route to Kookaburra and Daisy Plains, undulating farmland and forested hills soon give way to razorback ridges and plunging valleys. Inaccessible by road until 1943, Kookaburra and Daisy Plains once sustained a small timber industry. Remnants of these communities are still visible and it is possible to stay overnight in rustic accommodation. Awake to infinite wildlife and birdsong. At Marys View lookout eagles soar by at eye level and the Macleay Gorges Wilderness Area stretches toward infinity.