Kempsey’s location between Sydney and the Queensland border makes it a popular stopping point for those making long trips on the Pacific Highway. However, this thriving rural town is much more than a rest stop – it’s a destination. Kempsey is best known for two things: it is where Akubra hats are made, and it is close to where Australian music legend Slim Dusty grew up. The scenic town is located by the beautiful Macleay River, and close to stunning beaches and spectacular national parks, providing plenty of activities.

Kempsey is a cultural town and the attractions here reflect that. Visit the Slim Dusty Centre to learn all about the musician and see fascinating exhibitions and memorabilia. Soak up some more culture at the Val Melville Centre, which houses both the Kempsey Museum and the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery. The museum showcases the history of the Macleay Valley, from Aboriginal settlement to European arrivals, to present day. The art gallery features incredible artwork from local Aboriginal artists. The centre is located in the lovely South Kempsey Park, which also offers a kids playground, an off-leash dogs’ area, and barbeque facilities. Indulge in a lesson in food heritage at the Wigay Aboriginal Culture Park, a large bushtucker garden housing plenty of native plants. Learn all about traditional food and bush medicine.

After a morning of cultural education, why not spend a relaxing afternoon cruising the gorgeous river, or catching fish for dinner? When the time comes to rest your head, there are accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences.