Kempsey | Macleay Valley Coast Destination Guide

We invite you to explore the beautiful Macleay Valley Coast while you’re in the region for our event – Kempsey has so much to offer! What is there to do in a coastal region when the weather turns chilly? The answer is, plenty, especially when winter in the Macleay is mostly blue clear skies and crisp, cooler days. Here are our top ways to enjoy winter on the Macleay Valley Coast in winter.

About the event

The Shimano MTB GP’s events are all about “seriously fun” racing! Podium chasers can line up with Australia’s elites and experienced amateur endurance racers plus casual racers will have a blast, all feeling safe and part of an inspiring community.

Supported by Kempsey Shire Council this will be the first time that cross-country racing with Rocky Trail will be happening at the Kalateenee MTB Trails. Race for four (GP4) or seven (GP7) hours solo, in relay pairs or teams of three. There are age-group and eBike categories. Expect less of a winners-only-focused competition, but a positive and inclusive experience for all racers.

With temporary COVID-19 event rules active, we have a participant limit in place – please check the event website for all the details. Competitors must sign up online. This event is tracking all participants and any non-racing spectator or supporter must register online for an event accreditation at no charge.

This is XC lap racing at its best! From the first time between the tape to people that have spent a lifetime training for power output, we have you covered when you line up at the Rocky Trail start line!

#rockytrailjourney: Kempsey

We can’t wait to put on our first ever cross-country race at Kalateenee MTB Trails, which is a favourite with the local riders. We designed the Shimano MTB GP event format as a perfect opportunity to make it a weekend getaway with family, friends, your mates and your special someone!

Race Saturday, Explore Sunday

…it’s what the Shimano MTB GP is all about!

Scroll down for visitor information such as accommodation options, What’s On in the region off the race track. There are lots of ideas for what your fambam can get up to while you race, plus some of our favourite experiences you can have together before or after the race.


Kalateenee MTB Trails – 330 Macleay Valley Way, South Kempsey NSW 2440

The event centre is at the Kempsey Golf Course, so track side camping won’t be possible. You can, however, drive along West Street and camp in the State Forest there; plus there is the Kempsey Motor Inn Motel right next to the Golf Course and a Caravan Park right across the road, the Kempsey Tourist Village.

Stay & Play!

Where to Stay

The Macleay Valley Coast has a diverse range of accommodation avilable for all budgets. Find out more information and search by category to view all listings. Find out more…

Camping: From beachfront and creekside caravan parks to the space and tranquillity of one of our National Parks and Reserves to the picturesque hinterland, you’ll find a range of camping options in the Macleay Valley Coast. Find out more in the camping guide…

What’s On

The Gladstone Markets will be on the Sunday 16 August from 9am – 1pm. The market hosts quality, local, hand-picked stallholders featuring artists, ceramics, photographer; gourmet/fine foods including jams, local farm fresh produce, preserves, chutneys and locally made muesli style products; as well as handmade soaps and locally produced organic body products and native plants. Find out more…

Things to Do

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Kempsey and the surrounding region has so much to offer. Here are the top things to do with some insider tips from the locals!

Go whale watching!Winter just happens to be whale season on the Macleay Valley Coast, so don’t miss the opportunity to spot these gentle giants making their way along our shores. Get your camera ready and capture the whales breaching and feeding in pods from the vantage points of Crescent Head, Smoky Cape, or Hat Head.
Suit up at the beach!Winter on the Macleay Valley Coast means mild temperatures, offshore winds, crisp mornings and, often, perfect surf conditions. Don a wetsuit and paddle board in the calm waters of Trial Bay, surf glassy waves in Crescent Head, or dive off South West Rocks. Fishing is another great way to get out on the water at this time of year, with endless options including beach, rock, reef, deep sea, river and estuary fishing.
Get your culture fix!Gladstone is one of those villages that keeps going from strength to strength, led by a devoted community of artists, creative business people and foodies. Winter is a lovely time to visit any one (or all!) of the riverside cafes, or to spend a Sunday perusing the various artist’s studios tucked inside heritage buildings.

There are also local, professionally produced barista coffee. Another taste temptation is gourmet ready to-eat pies. There will also be entertainment provided by talented, local musicians and performers as well as entertainment for the children including face-painting and jumping castle. Come along and enjoy a day full of fun, atmosphere and guaranteed quality produce on the riverbank in the unique, historical village of Gladstone.
Do a tourist drive!Beginning at Crescent Head, the incredibly scenic Tourist Drive 12 takes you through lush farmland along the Belmore River, passing through Gladstone on its way to South West Rocks.
Take a walk on the wild side!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 that lead out from the 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.
Eat and drink!We know how much you have been waiting to have a laugh and reconnect with friends and family over some delicious food and drink after being stuck at home for so long. Lucky because our cafes and restaurants are opening back up and are looking forward to having you. Please contact businesses directly to check on their offerings right now.
Escape to the HinterlandGo for a drive West of Kempsey to discover magical views of the mighty Macleay River meandering through ancient valleys, then stop at the Bellbrook Hotel for a beer. Experience real old-fashioned country hospitality in the spectacular natural surrounds.
Visit Smoky Cape LighthouseIt’s a steep walk up to the most elevated lighthouse in NSW, but the views are worth it, extending from Hat Head in the south to Green Island in the north. As you walk up the hill, check out the information boards located at the old stables to learn about the history of the lighthouse and its keepers. Further along, you’ll come to the old Lighthouse Keeper’s cottages, which have been turned into luxury accommodation.


Download the PDF brochure now…

There are so many experiences that await,
here are just a few to get you started:

Share your stories, tag
Official Rocky Trail hashtags:
#rockytrailracer #rockytrailentertainment