The Macleay Valley Coast is the perfect mix of coastal views and hinterland wonders. Located just 40 minutes north of Port Macquarie, it’s an ideal holiday destination for those seeking beautiful towns with classic country charm.
Beyond the rolling hills and cliffside drives, the Macleay has so many small towns with rustic charm to break up your coastal holiday.
Dine and discover in Frederickton
A must-visit along the “old highway”, Macleay Valley Way, is the small village of Frederickton which combines unique food and equally unique art. While here, visitors must stop at Fredo Pies & Cafe to try their famous crocodile pie. This iconic local spot offers a broad range of baked goods that deliver a taste of Australia, with over 25 pie flavours to choose from.
In town, visitors will be delighted by a visit to the Macleay Valley Studio. Located within the Old Cheese Factory, the gallery is run by Graeme Shevellar and displays his abstract art works. Graeme uses vibrant colours and broad strokes to create art that you won’t find anywhere else.
Also located in the Old Cheese Factory, Garden Bar and Restaurant is the perfect place to unwind after a long day. Visitors can dine on the waterfront and watch the sunset over the river. Lucky guests may even be serenaded by an acoustic band while enjoying a drink outdoors. It doesn’t get much better than that.
A cultural oasis in Gladstone
Gladstone is known as the cultural heart of the Macleay, and it’s easy to see why.
The village is home to 19 preserved historical buildings, many of which make up the Gladstone Hub, a collection of shops selling everything from wholefoods, jewellery, art, photography and clothing.
In the afternoon, visitors can stop by the Old Bank for a delicious high tea. This heritage-listed building was lovingly restored and reopened as a fine food experience. The owners use as much local produce as possible in their dishes and pride themselves on providing a relaxing and memorable experience.
If that wasn’t enough, Gladstone is also home to the Macleay Valley Community Art Gallery, a space designed for local artists to display a range of their best works. The exhibitions are constantly changing, promising a unique experience every time you visit.
To see this town in all its glory, we recommend visiting Gladstone on market day. Held on the third Sunday of every month, local artists and producers come together to share their goods and chat with locals and tourists alike.
The natural wonders of Bellbrook
For those wanting to connect with nature and breathe in the fresh air, Bellbrook has you covered.
The village offers a variety of bushwalks with breathtaking views over the surrounding valley. Whether you’re seeking an easy stroll or a challenging hike, the trails around Bellbrook cater to all levels of experience.
While in town, visitors can also stop at the Bellbrook Park Wupu Manhatinum Mosaic, a sculpture created in the memory of local elder and artist, Aunty Esther Quinn.
For those wishing to spend the night, Nulla Nulla Blacksmiths Farm provides boutique accommodation and camping. The farm exudes rustic charm with a river that surrounds the entire property like a moat, wooden bridges, and crystal-clear waters. While staying here, visitors can expect unparalleled views of the night sky, and plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature.
Pubs and parks in Willawarrin
In 1842, Willawarrin was part of the pastoral lease of Toorooka. Today, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon on your tour of the Macleay Valley Hinterland.
The Willawarrin Hotel is regarded as having the best beer in the Macleay. With live music and classic pub meals, it’s bursting with Aussie charm. After a long day, there’s nothing better than a cold drink at this local institution.
A short drive away, visitors will find the Elysian Fields Retreat. This wildlife reserve and sculpture park often displays works from local artists, as well as providing the chance for tourists to stay and sleep under the stars. Whether you’re an artist on a residency or a family after a farm stay, Elysian Fields retreat provides a quintessential outback experience.
Willawarrin is also conveniently close to Collombatti, a beautiful nature reserve. Collombatti Lookout offers 360-degree views of the countryside, with picnic and barbeque facilities for those wishing to stay a while longer.
Travel to the Macleay Valley Coast
Rex flies to Port Macquarie. Book your flights here.
For more to explore on the Macleay Valley Coast, check out the region’s best cafes and art galleries here.