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Manning Valley


Taree and its surrounding Manning Valley is a river and rainforest coast located just over a three hour drive north of Sydney on the Mid North Coast of NSW. The Manning Valley offers a breathtaking combination of rivers, mountains, forests and beaches, taking in more than 26 seaside and hinterland towns and villages that are a haven for nature and water-based activities. Major towns include Taree, Wingham, Old Bar Beach, Manning Point, Harrington and Hallidays Point.


1 Crowdy Head and Crowdy Bay National Park. Crowdy Head Lighthouse and Lookout provides fabulous views up and down the nearby coastline and superb whale watching opportunities during the migration season. There's also some great beaches for swimming at Crowdy Head, just a 5 minute drive from Harrington. Best swimming beach is Crowdy Bay Beach on the northern side where there's a surf life saving club and is patrolled throughout the summer months.


Crowdy Bay National Park is a great spot for bushwalking, surfing and camping. Access to the Park at the southern end is gained by turning off the Pacific Highway at Moorland or alternatively off Crowdy Road just before entering the village of Crowdy Head. Camping areas include Kylies Beach and Diamond Head. Australian author Kylie Tennant's hut is located within Crowdy Bay National Park which is located during a short and delightful loop walk starting at Kylie's beach Camping Area. It passes through forested glades of black wattle oak, scentless rosewood and cheesetree.


2. Wingham Brush Nature Reserve, 10 minutes drive west of Taree is a rare sub-tropical floodplain rainforest reserve regenerated over past 20 years to become an internationally acclaimed 7 hectare site of interest to landcare groups, environmentalists, holidaymakers and day visitors who derive enjoyment from the huge canopy of trees and the large population of grey headed flying foxes. This Nature Reserve includes boardwalks and interpretive signposting detailing the history of regenerating this rainforest area. There is a nearby riverside aquatic area featuring picnic facilities and toilets.


3. Ellenborough Falls. A 200 metre single drop waterfall, reputed to be the second longest in the Southern Hemisphere, is located 1 hours drive north-west of Taree on Tourist Drive 8. Ellenborough Falls also features barbecue and picnic areas, viewing platforms, walking trails and steps and seating to the bottom of the Falls.  


4. Coorabakh National Park. 30 minutes north of Taree off the Pacific Highway is the National Park located between Taree and Port Macquarie featuring a number of lookouts and short walks including Flat Rock Lookout, Starrs Creek Rainforest Walk, Newby's Lookout and caves. It is an ideal loop drive departing the highway at Moorland and rejoining it at Hannam Vale.  


5. Tapin Tops National Park. Located 45 minutes drive north west of Taree at the intersection of Dingo Tops and Knodingbul Road. Features of this park include Rowley's Rock Lookout providing panoramic views to Taree and the ocean beyond and Dingo Tops Rest Area which includes picnic areas, toilets and a nature walk off the picnic area.


6. The Manning River. Located across the landscape of the Manning Valley inland from Taree, Wingham and its upper reaches out to the seaside villages of Harrington and Old Bar.  This is one of the rarest rivers in Australia for its delta river system status featuring two mouths out to the ocean. In total 150km of navigable waterways provide visitors with ideal opportunities for boating and fishing. The Manning River is also a recreational fishing haven.  


7. Brimbin Nature Reserve. Just 10 minutes from Taree accessed off the Wingham Road this Nature Reserve is located adjacent to the Dawson River and includes nature walks, picnic tables, shelters, gas barbecues and toilets.

With over 6 national parks and nature reserves, rare subtropical floodplain rainforests, 150km of river, rare species of flora and fauna, one of the largest single drop waterfalls in the southern hemisphere and some fantastic and unspoilt stretches of coastline makes the Manning Valley a great   from the city areas when heading north.


Key attractions in the Manning Valley include:

• Wingham Brush Nature Reserve. This rainforest remnant is part of the last remaining 10 per cent of sub-tropical floodplain rainforest in NSW. The "Brush" as its affectionately called in the local area includes giant 1000 year old Moreton Bay figs, 76 species of trees and 32 different vines. "The Brush" is also one of the most significant maternity sites in NSW for the grey-headed flying fox. As many as 100,000 of these fascinating creatures hang in the Brush's huge Moreton Bay Fig trees during the summer. Wingham Brush is located on the Manning River at Wingham, 10 minutes west of Taree.

• Ellenborough Falls: a 200 metre waterfall and a further 30 minutes drive from Wingham on the scenic tourist drive 8 drive linking Taree to Port Macquarie. Features superb viewing platforms, timbered walkway to the base of the falls, BBQ and picnic facilities together with a food kiosk that operates on weekends and public holidays.

• National Parks - Coorabakh between Coopernook and Hannam Vale, Tapin Tops north-west of Wingham,, Middle Brother north of Johns River and Saltwater between Taree and Old Bar.

• The Manning River - 150kms of navigable waterways to enjoy boating, fishing and recreational activities.

• Miles and miles of beaches - 11 beach areas to enjoy including the award-winning Black Head, Crowdy Head , Crowdy Head South, Diamond Beach, Diamond Head, Harrington, Manning Point, Old Bar, Red Head, Saltwater and Wallabi Point.

• Heritage and arts and crafts - The Manning Valley has a rich European and indigenous heritage to explore including walking tours around the heritage town of Wingham. Immerse yourself in the many arts and craft outlets dotted around the Manning Valley’s many seaside and hinterlands towns and villages.

• Vibrant events and festivals: The Manning Valley is the home to an exciting year-long calendar of sporting and cultural events including Craftathon (January), the Manning River Summer Festival incorporating round one of the Australian Formula One Superboat Series (January), Manning Beef Week (April-May), Manning Powerboat Racing & Aquatic Festival (Easter long weekend), Taree Arts Festival (bi-ennial June), Flair Fashion Awards (August), Comboyne Spring Festival (September), the Non Conventional Homes Eco Tour , Old Bar Festival and the Skies the Limit Kite Flying Festival at Hallidays Point ( October long weekend) and Killabakh Day in the Country (November).


Principal towns in region:

• Taree - (population 20,000)

• Wingham - (population 5000)

• Old Bar - seaside (population 3200)

• Halliday’s Point/Diamond Beach - seaside (population 2300)

• Harrington/Crowdy Head - seaside (population 1500)

• Tinonee - riverside

• Manning Point and its surrounding islands (riverside and seaside)



Distance: 309 km north of Sydney

By car: 3- 3.5 hours drive north of Sydney

By coach: 5 hours from Sydney with Greyhound/Pioneer, Premier Motor Service and McCafferty’s Coaches, all offering daily services.

By rail: 5 hours from Sydney on Countrylink.

By air: 50 minutes by Big Sky Express Airlines from Sydney. Weekday morning and evening flight services and weekend services. Phone 1800 008 759.

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