• Helen Avaient

A weekend away in Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia

Taking a weekend break can sometimes feel like a week-long holiday. It can refresh the senses, take you to a place you might never go otherwise and create great memories. You don’t need to plan extensive long breaks, sometimes an overnight stay somewhere new is perfect.


A few years ago, while working in New South Wales, Australia, I had the opportunity to weekend away in Kempsey. Located in the mid north coast region, Kempsey just over 300kms north of Sydney with a population of around 15,000. The town is situated on the Macleay River and is only 16kms inland from the Pacific Ocean. The temperature here is generally warm with an average of 18C (62F). This makes it a perfect place to visit and enjoy the gorgeous beaches.

The ocean almost sings to you with its rhythm of waves coming into the white sandy shores. A perfect place to dip your toes.

Crescent Head on the coast has a golf course with amazing views of the ocean, surfers and even migrating whales in season. It is also home to the Crescent Head National Surfing Reserve. Surfers have been coming here for over half a century and is known as the breeding ground for long board surfing.

This is truly where the mountains reach out into the welcoming ocean.

I stayed at the Netherby bed and breakfast. Built in 1922 it is often referred to as “the grandest house in Kempsey.” This gorgeous property is right on the river, and the front verandah makes the most of the view. The couches are well placed and make you want to curl up on them and read a book or just watch the river floating by. I sat on the deck that night enjoying a few drinks with a friend and met the loveliest couple from Sydney who were also staying the night. We all chatted well into the night and it was wonderful to hear how they met in WWII and were married only a week afterwards. The evening in this beautiful home passed pleasantly and in the morning we enjoyed our breakfast in the old-world dining room.

They also run a café here where you can enjoy a meal or coffee under the shade of mature trees and looking out over the river. It is such a paradise and only a five minute walk from the centre of Kempsey.


Kempsey is home to the Slim Dusty museum and the annual Slim Dusty festival. Born David Gordon Kirkpatrick in 1927, Slim was an Australian country music singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer for more than seven decades. His songs reflect the legacy of Australia, particularly bush life. He passed away in 2003. The centre is situated just out of town, in the bush Slim loved so well.

Pack an overnight bag and stay in a place you wouldn't normally travel to. You just may be surprised at how awesome it is, just as I did with Kempsey.


Happy Travels!


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