Located on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, just 3 hours north of Sydney, 2 hours north of Newcastle and 1 hour south of Port Macquarie, the Local Government Area of Midcoast Council encompasses an area of 10,060 sq km and a population of nearly 95,000 residents.
The Manning Valley is home to a range of some of the best beaches in Australia and features some 11 beach areas all offering a range of different beach experiences from surfing to swimming in protected and patrolled areas and some great beach walks. The area is surrounded by magnificent national parks.
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The Manning River is rare because it's Australia's only double delta river system with two entrances at Harrington and Old Bar. It also offers visitors 150kms of navigable waterways in which to enjoy boating, water sports and fishing. The Manning River used to be the economic lifeblood of the Mid North Coast region, being used as a transportation link for timber and agricultural products to ports in Sydney. Today, its importance is more of an environmental and recreational one, offering local residents and visitors the opportunity to use and enjoy it for leisure activities. The Manning River is a recreational fishing haven, offering 150kms of saltwater estuary and 1500kms of fresh water in the Manning River and its tributaries available for recreational anglers.
The two major branches of the river create three very large islands: Dumaresq Island, Oxley Island and Mitchells Island. The associated river and creeks: the Lansdowne River, the Dawson River, Scotts Creek, Cattai Creek and Ghinni Ghinni Creek result in the creation of a number of other islands including Jones Island, Cabbage Tree Island and Charlies Island. All of these rivers and creeks are navigable by boat. The Manning River System contains an increasing number of public ramps, wharves, pontoons, riverside parks and commercial tourist destinations.
Black Head Beach- Black Head Beach was named "Australia's Friendliest Beach" in 2003 as part of the Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beach Challenge. This is a protected beach which is excellent for families. There is a surf lifesaving club at the beach, shaded areas for BBQs and picnics and the well established Norfolk pines are a feature of the area. There is also a rainforest walk and two headlands with lookouts at Black Head and Red Head for adventurous visitors.
Crowdy Head Beach- Crowdy Head Beach on the southern side, is a quiet beach area ideal for relaxing strolls. Nearby Crowdy Head lighthouse provides panoramic views of the coastline and the Brother Mountains. Four wheel drive access is available south of Crowdy Head, opposite rutile works. On the northern side of Crowdy Head, there is a second beach that is more family friendly with a Surf Life Saving Club, kiosk and great picnic spots.
Diamond Beach- Diamond Beach is a quiet beach area, ideal for relaxing strolls and is located on Diamond Drive in the Halliday's Point area between Taree and Forster. This beach is ideal for fishing, surfing or walking just 10 minutes out of Taree.
Harrington Beach- Harrington beach is a quiet beach area idea for relaxing strolls. The Harrington break wall is ideal for walking and taking in the views of the ocean. The Lagoon off beach area which is great for swimming, has four wheel drive access for 5.8 kms, entry north of Harrington Beach Holiday Park. Beach Attractions include: bushwalking, nearby camping, fishing, lookouts, surfing, water sports, and whales/dolphin watching.
Wingham Brush Nature Reserve
Wingham Brush Nature Reserve represents part of the last 10 hectares of sub-tropical floodplain rainforest in NSW. Located on Tourist Drive Eight at Wingham, 10 minutes drive west of Taree; Wingham Brush Nature Reserve is situated adjacent to the Manning River. The Brush includes Moreton Bay Figs that are hundreds of years old. The rainforest canopy provides a home for a large population of grey headed flying foxes and includes walking trails with interpretive signposting, barbecue and picnic areas, boat launching and swimming in the river.
Situated at the northern end of the main business centre of Taree, the gardens reflect the luxuriant appearance of the dense forest which once covered the rich soils of the Manning River Valley. Many of the trees and shrubs were donated as a tribute to the pioneer settlers. This a very popular place for wedding ceremonies. There is no vehicular access into the Gardens.
Big Buzz Fun Park
The Big Buzz Fun Park is a great day out for all the family with activities including: toboggan run, three open waterslides, jumbo slide, toddlers slide, kamakaze slide, BMX and mountain bikes (enclosed footwear required), speed karts (enclosed footwear required), mountain boards, tricycles, shoot for the basket, half tennis court, swimming pool, beach volleyball, trampolines, swings, 9 hole chip and putt short course golf, kiosk, plenty of undercover seating and free gas barbecues with shaded picnic area.
Coorabakh National Park Drive
Coorabakh National Park Drive is a scenic forest drive leaving the highway at Moorland, with numerous lookout spots, cliffs, picnic areas, mountain views, eucalyptus forests and some rainforests. The drive takes in the following scenic sites:
- Newbys Creek walk to Newbys Cave. This is a 5-minute walk to a large overhanging rock formation. Newbys Lookout sits on the edge of the Lansdowne escarpment offering a magnificent view over the Manning Valley.
- Starrs Creek Rainforest Area which has a short boardwalk to allow a wander amongst the beautiful rainforest.
- Big Nellie Mountain which is a large volcanic plug rising 542m.
- Flat Rock Lookout is perched on top of a breathtaking 500m drop with beautiful views of Coxcombe, Goonook & Killabakh Nature Reserves.
Deepwater Shark Gallery
Deep Water Shark Gallery showcases sculptures, paintings and wood carvings hand designed by artists Russell and Raechel Saunders. Russell is a Koori artist from the Biripi people and is a gifted artist and sculptor, as is his daughter Raechel. Inspired by the local Biripi people and land, Russell specialises in Australian animals and reptiles whilst Raechel's clay masks, along with her geckoes and snakes are highly sought after.
The falls are a spectacular sight as they plunge from plateau level into a vertical walled box gorge 200 metres below. There is a viewing platform just a short distance from the car parking area. A designated timber walkway is provided for those who would like to walk to the bottom of the falls and a walking track is provided to view the falls from across the gorge. Barbecues, picnic tables, water and toilet facilities are also provided. A kiosk is also open Friday-Sunday between 10am- 4pm and every day in school holidays.
Halliday's Point Rainforest Nature Walk
There are five scenic walks in Hallidays Point each of which encompasses coastal landforms, rainforest, wetlands and lagoon areas. The Walk 5 track extends from Blackhead and Pebbly Beach to Redhead and Shelly Beach, both areas of rainforest, with Black Head Beach in between. There are lookouts and a picnic area at Blackhead and parking at both sites. Pebbly Beach features interesting geological formations and the site of early Aboriginal occupation in the area. There are many examples of interesting vegetation and fauna to be seen. The land through which the walk passes is fragile rainforest, which can be easily damaged, particularly by loss of the forest canopy. For this reason it is necessary to keep to the marked track and refrain from disturbing the vegetation, as this can lead to dieback caused by the intrusion of wind and salt air.
Middle Brother Mountain National Park
Middle Brother Mountain is one of the 'Three Brothers' along with North Brother and South Brother Mountains. These three coastal mountains are a prominent feature of the Camden Haven valley. Middle Brother Mountain National Park is located approximately 40 minutes drive from Taree. The main attractions include picnic areas, walking trails, lookouts and the bird tree and benaroon, which are the two largest Blackbutt trees known in the state.
Villa d'Esta Vineyard- Villa d'Esta Vineyard is a unique European vineyard, producing high quality wines from grapes grown only on their vines. Using an absolute minimum of pesticides and preservatives results in incredible, smooth, full flavoured wines that are easy drinking and highly enjoyable.
Ghinni Wines- Ghinni Wines is a boutique winery specialising in fruit and vegetable style wines such as raspberry, blueberry, chilli and pumpkin. The winery is located just off the Pacific Highway, five kilometres north of Taree. The winery is located in a pristine area of the Manning Valley on the banks of the Manning River and Ghinni Ghinni Creek.