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Travel Review: Manning Valley and Forster NSW

Nabiac NSW

Photo: Morning mist Nabiac

I'm writing this review because I actually have family in this area so I'm up here quite frequently. I love visiting the Manning Valley it's really beautiful and there are plenty of things to do up here.

Manning Valley covers the towns of Taree, Old Bar, Manning Point, Wingham, Tinonee, Nabiac and Hallidays Point, taking in Black Head, Tallwoods, Red Head and Diamond Beach.


I'm dog sitting as I write this and spending two weeks up here looking after Bundy, who belongs to my daughter and her beau while they are cruising. The photo of Bundy below is of him enjoying the river view at a private jetty where my dad lives in Coolongolook which is about 12 minutes before Nabiac if you are heading up North from Sydney, it's not in the Manning Valley though it's in the Great Lakes area.

Border Collie

Nabiac is a small town, it has a very popular pub, a cafe, takeaway, two butchers, gift shops, bakery (known for great pies), supermarket, rural supplies and bric a brac shops. It's a lovely part of NSW with some beautiful walks including one down to the river. The photo below is a one I took early morning and seriously the water was like glass, hence you can see the beautiful reflections. There were plenty of fish jumping around too. We don't let Bundy swim in the river because it is known to have Bull Sharks, but it's a fabulous place to take a boat out.

Nabiac NSW

Nabiac Farmer's Market is held on the last Saturday of the month. I've been many times and my daughter, Emma, never misses going to the market. it's a fantastic place to buy country-grown food and home made crafts. I can't resist the bacon and egg rolls at the market they are very good.

One of the famous destinations of Nabiac is The National Motorcycle Museum of Australia. The museum is owned by the Kelleher family and has around 800 motorcycles on display and a huge range of memorabilia, toys and an extensive gift shop.

Greenhouse cafe Nabiac

Although this post isn't about the businesses in the area I do want to give a shoutout to the Greenhouse Cafe - I've been coming here for years and they make the best hamburger and chips.

Villa d’Esta Vineyard is the local winery and is a trip to add to your things to do in Manning Valley. This scenic winery is made up of 12 acres of grapes in a beautiful location.

Honeycomb Valley Farm is a ‘little farm and a great place to take the kids to meet the friendly farm animals, learn about stingless native bees. There is also a shop to stock up on all things bees and more.

The photos below (click to enlarge) are others that I have taken when walking Bundy. In fact I was lucky not to break my ankle here when another dog came along with his owner and Bundy got boisterous and sent me airborne resulting in me landing on my ankle trying to control him...ouch! Would have made a great photo.

Nabiac NSW

Coolongolook, where my dad lives is home to many kangaroos and wallabies. Waking up to many of them in the garden is a usual occurrence.

Kangaroos in NSW


One of the highlights visiting my family is going to Forster (pronounced Foster). Forster is actually in the Great Lakes Region not Manning Valley. It's a gorgeous little town, where you can buy fish from the co-op and eat at some fantastic restaurants. You will find lots of fabulous boutique shops in the village, which has that 'holiday vibe'. For more 'suburban' shopping there is a centre with larger chain stores such as K-Mart.

Fish and Chips Forster NSW

On a clear day the water is as blue and aqua as you see on those tropical paradise photos in exotic locations. It's not unusual to spot dolphins showing off in the bay and along the beach. Whale watching tours are also available.

Forster NSW

Forster sits between Wallis Lake and the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by National and Marine Parks and no wonder in summer it is packed with tourists. Forster is known for its oysters and is the largest provider of Sydney Rock Oysters in Australia. If you love seafood Forster is the place to visit.


At the southern end of the Manning Valley is Hallidays Point, consisting of Black Head, Tallwoods, Red Head and Diamond Beach.

Black Head Beach

The photo above I took on a beautiful morning. It's from the bridge that crosses this river leading to the beach.

Black Head beach which is patrolled during the summer months is stunning and it is my favourite beach in the area. During the week there is hardly a soul to be seen (not so during holiday season) and whilst staying here I've been taking Bundy for a walk on the beach which he loves.

Black Head beach also has an ocean pool, excellent fishing, picnic and BBQ areas under shady Norfolk pines. One of the other reasons I love Black Head beach there is a beautiful rainforest walk alongside so you can enjoy both beach and bush walking on one visit!

Photo: Black Head Beach

The area also has a golf course, bowling club and the Big Buzz Fun Park.

Diamond Beach is even longer than Black Head and it has a little village up the road for take away, beauty salon, and a bottle shop.


Further up from Old Bar is Manning Point. If it is endless beaches you are after then this is your dream come true. I was all alone when I took the photo below and to be honest it was a bit creepy. After about 20 minutes I noticed a number of four wheel drive vehicles coming and going along the beach. All vehicles driving on Manning Point Beach need a beach permit issued by either Greater Taree City Council or Great Lakes Council so if you intend to join in that sort of fun you will need to organise this. It's really a spectacular beach to visit spanning over 10km.

Manning Point Beach

Between the beach and the Manning River there is bushland with a nature walk. I walked through the bush and came out alongside the river which was very pretty. I probably shouldn't have been walking in the bush in thongs in February though with snakes about.

Old Bar Beach is the closest surfing beach to Taree and it will take just ten minutes from the Pacific Highway. This location is perfect for fishing, water sports and boating. The Old Bar Beach Festival is also held each October long weekend, attracting thousands of visitors to the region for two action-packed days of festivities.

Photo of Manning River


Wingham is a historical little town ten minutes drive west of Taree and was settled in 1853. The town has many National Trust listed Federation buildings. The Historical Museum is open 7 days with significant collection of memorabilia.

There are some lovely boutique stores and cafes to dine at. My favourite, and my daughter Emma's favourite, is Bent on Food which sells beautiful home made produce and the food is great. Dining is inside or outside in the garden.

Wingham NSW

Wingham Brush is a 10 hectare subtropical floodplain rainforest, it is one of only a few remnants of this rare rainforest type in Australia. I feel so happy when I walk on this boardwalk through this gift of nature. You will notice Giant Moreton Bay figs and a large colony of endangered grey-headed flying foxes which I took a photo of below.

Each weekend Wingham has a market where you can buy fresh, locally grown produce, hand crafted gifts, clothes, candles and more!

In October is the Wingham Akoostik Festival attracts music lovers to the town for three days of live entertainment, workshops and food and market stalls.

Click to zoom in


Tinonee a picturesque little town next to the Manning River. Here you will find the historical museum, a bustling general store, café and artisan gallery.

Brushy Cutting Lookout has gorgeous panoramic views over the surrounding valley as you can see from my photo below.

Tinonnee NSW


Taree is the biggest town in the area with an airport, supermarkets, restaurants and boutiques. Taree has a beautiful river and dining at the Sailo's Club on the riverbank is great value with wonderful views and good food. In Spring it becomes a canvas of Jacaranda trees.

Taree also has a hospital where my mother passed away in 2015, so I haven't written too much about Taree because it makes me a bit sad. I will say this though, I will never forget you of the palliative nurses that made mum's passing so much easier. You gem! x

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As for my dog minding skills - I did really well - especially when it comes to playing tennis with this clever dog! Watch Instagram Video.



These photos were just taken with my iPhone 6 - I didn't have my camera

Allow 3.5 - 4 hours from Sydney. Flights Sydney to Taree take around 50 minutes, they are about $190 each way. From experience if you are travelling up here in peak seasons i.e. long weekends, Christmas and Easter use your common sense and don't go when everyone else is. Night travelling isn't that bad. I've seen cars queuing for km after km because I always travel in the opposite direction of peak times. Believe me it's horrendous.

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