On the Mid North Coast of New South Wales three hours north of Sydney, the Manning Valley is best described as naturally beautiful. Taree, Harrington, Old Bar, Manning Point, Wingham and Hallidays Point are the relaxed centres which link the Manning Valley experience.
The Manning River is Australia's only double delta river system with two entrances - one at Harrington and the other near Old Bar. There are 150kms of navigable waterways to enjoy boating, watersports and fishing. The river is protected and wide which makes it popular for watersports from sailing to rowing, skiing, wakeboarding and tubing.
For anglers both fresh and saltwater action is on the menu. Australian Bass (perch) are the prized quarry in local streams and in estuaries and offshore, flathead, bream and whiting are among a huge range of finned species within easy range of excellent boat ramps. The blue water experience offshore extends to snapper, kingfish, jewfish, pearl perch and marlin from launch points like Crowdy Head.
Whales bring wonder to coastal water as they migrate north to warmer waters in May to July and return during August to October on their cruise back to feeding grounds in the Antarctic.
The artistic by nature fit naturally in the Manning Valley author Di Morrissey is typical. She draws from the region in her writing.
Her award-winning novel, The Valley is based on characters in the Manning. She lives in the valley and is an environmentalist and activist. Di Morrissey is Patron of Manning Valley Tourism due to her love of the region which has many fond childhood memories.
"As a visitor you will appreciate the quality of lifestyle, the beauty, and the people that make the Manning Valley so special. I grew up here and have returned, feeling very, very lucky to call the Manning Valley home", Di Morrissey says.
The Manning Regional Art Gallery and the Manning Entertainment Centre underline support for the arts. Taree and its surrounding Manning Valley is a river and rainforest coast which includes more than 26 seaside and hinterland towns and villages that are a haven for nature and water-based activities.
There are nine National parks and reserves, rare subtropical floodplain rainforests and rare species of flora and fauna.
Wingham Brush, 10 minutes west of Taree, is 10 hectares of sub-topical floodplain rainforest in NSW.
The "Brush" includes giant 1000-year-old Moreton Bay Figs, 76 species of trees and 32 different vines.
Wingham Brush is on the Manning River at Wingham, and is a maternity site for the endangered grey-headed flying fox which can be seen taking off at sunset.
Ellenborough Falls is located on the Bulga Plateau at Elands, one hours drive north-west of Taree on Tourist Drive 8. At 200 metres, it is one of the longest single drop waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere.
A timbered walkway (641 steps) wends to the bottom of the falls, complete with rest spots, providing a comfortable 30 minute walk. There is also a 10 minute walk to The Knoll which has magnificent views looking directly across to the falls.
Visitors can drive from Wingham to the falls in about 45 minutes, but there are 15 kilometres of unsealed road from Bobin to the falls so please drive to the conditions of the unsealed road.
Experience the rich history of the area and visit the Manning Valley Historical Museum located centrally opposite the Taree town square.
In 1770, Captain Cook sailing up the Australian east coast, sighted smoke from numerous campfires but failed to see the mouth of the Manning River.
It was not until 1818 that explorer John Oxley, travelling down the coast on foot, was halted by a fast flowing opening to the sea with surf crashing into a sandbar. Not realizing that this, and a wide inlet beyond, was the northern mouth of a river he named the area Harrington Lake after a British Earl.
Crowdy Head Lighthouse and lookout provides views up and down the nearby coastline.
There are also beaches for swimming at Crowdy Head, just a five minute drive from Harrington. Crowdy Bay beach on the northern side is patrolled by Lifesavers during the summer months. Crowdy Head South beach attracts surfers and bodyboarders.
Crowdy Bay National Park draws bushwalking, surfing and camping. Access to the park at the southern end is gained by turning off the Pacific Highway at Moorland, Kylies Beach Camping Area and Kylie's Hut. Australian author, journalist, editor, union organiser, playwright, critic, biographer and historian Kylie Tennant wrote realistic, positive portrayals of underprivileged Australians.
Kylie Tennant's hut is located within Crowdy Bay National Park. Kylie's Hut may be seen during a short loop walk which starts at Kylie's beach Camping Area. There are forested glades of black wattle oak, scentless rosewood and cheese tree. Visitors can return via a loop to Kylies Beach Camping Area or continue north to Indian Head Camping Area.
The Norfolk Pines that make Blackhead beach such an attractive feature are over 80 years old.
Patrolled during summer Blackhead Beach is regarded as among one of the best swimming beaches in the Manning Valley.
At Blackhead Beach there are rock pools to explore Tallwoods Village is home to a world class 18 hole championship golf course.
The headland walks of the area are a must for nature lovers and offer some excellent vantage points for photography.
Both Redhead and Blackhead are classed as Littoral Rainforest and are examples of what the Eastern Australian coastline looked like before European settlement.
Walking tracks are of an easy grade and pose no problems for those interested in a short stroll.
There are many flora and fauna species, some rare. Visitors should stay on the designated walkways.
The Manning River is well worth exploring. The majority of the river is now a declared recreational fishing area and is a regular venue for fishing championships and special events.
The river is also the focus of the Easter power boat regatta, one the biggest regattas on the Australian powerboat calendar.
Taree, known as the river city, has a significant and diverse shopping centre as well as the Manning Regional Art Gallery centrally located in Macquarie Street, Taree, or the Manning Entertainment Centre, with world class shows. These blend with outdoor eating facilities in leafy paved surrounds together with pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and night clubs.
Another great way to enjoy the river is Parkside's on the river foreshore. Enjoy some of the best fish and chips on the North Coast from one of Taree's great seafood outlets and a riverside picnic at Queen Elizabeth Park. Visitors can explore Taree's many heritage buildings and sites by picking up a heritage walk map from the Visitors Centre.
Some of the best views over the Manning Valley can be found from lookouts within Coorabakh National Park, an easily accessible loop drive just 25 minutes north of Taree and accessed off the highway from Moorland. Great scenic views can be found in the Park from Flat Rock and Newby's Lookout.
The historic airstrip at Old Bar has a heritage listing and was re-opened officially as an airstrip in April 2000.
Famous aviators such as Charles Kingsford Smith and Nancy Bird Walton used the airstrip on their early pioneering flights.
A portrait of Australia's famous female aviator Nancy Bird Walton, who grew up in the Manning Valley, hangs in the foyer of the Taree Airport.
Saltwater Beach and reserve is a five minute drive from Old Bar Beach. Saltwater is protected for swimming and nearby Wallaby Point is popular with surfers. There is even a saltwater lagoon which suits family outings.
There are bushwalking trails through the 360 acre Old Bar Park which lead to the river and then back along the beach.
The sea and the north arm of the Manning River meet at Manning Point on the coastline of the Manning Valley. The ocean provides protected sandy beaches for swimming, whilst the river provides excellent fishing facilities.
Manning Point, the principal village on the 'Islands of Paradise' Oxley, Mitchell's and Cabbage Tree, is located 26km (30 min.) east of Taree at the mouth of the Manning River.
The river provides bream, whiting, tailor and jewfish. Harrington is only 10 minutes by boat across the Manning River which dolphins frequent during the summer months. Swimming, surfing, body boarding, water skiing, jet skiing and canoeing are all enjoyed at Manning Point.
For those less skilled at fishing and watersports the islands have many oyster farms and provide a rich seafood harvest.
Four wheel drive vehicles driving on the beach gives access not only to the Point itself, to the north but also to Farquhar Inlet, 14km to the south.
On the southern drive visitors discover tidal lagoons for either fishing or swimming. Michelle's Island features cafe facilities allowing leisurely browsing of displays of local arts and crafts.
The Manning Valley can make the weight of the world disappear as you discover the unspoiled Valley.
The lush Manning Valley is the perfect place to unwind.
Drive or walk in one of the nine National Parks and reserves and discover the natural beauty with a bushwalk
Take a self-guided heritage walks through the historic towns of the Manning.
Located at Elands in the hinterland behind Taree, the legendary Ellenborough Falls is recorded as the second longest single drop waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere and is definitely worth the scenic drive.
The Manning Valley is a fisherman and golfers paradise. Fish the pristine freshwater streams for Australian Bass, the estuaries for quality flathead, bream and whiting and for the land based angler choose from any one of the endless kilometres of deserted beaches and headlands.
For golfing, visit one of the Valley's top rated championship golf courses.
The Manning Regional Art Gallery showcases unique exhibitions.
Step back in time at one of the three museums.
Take in a vibrant show at the state or the art Manning Entertainment Centre.
A trip to Manning Point on the south side or to Harrington on the north and on to Crowdy Bay Head Lighthouse is a must. There is fine seafood available along the way and 360 views of the valley from the lighthouse.
Explore the historic town of Wingham, experience its unique cafe culture and visit the National Tourism Award winning cafe, Bent on Food.
Coastal villages and hinterland towns are waiting for you: visitmanningvalley.com.au/ for more info.
Caravan and Holiday Parks in the region provide diverse accommodation options for example fishing and family are well covered.
Camping and Caravan Parks in the region
The Manning Valley Visitor Information Centre located at 21 Manning River Drive, Taree North is open seven days a week from 9am-4.30pm.
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