Welcome to Kempsey
Two absolute icons of Australiana originated in 'town' – the Akubra hat and the late country-music legend Slim Dusty. Sadly the Akubra factory is closed to the public, but the Slim Dusty Centre has recently reopened.
If you've time for a scenic detour, leave the highway at Kempsey and take Crescent Head Rd to the coast. From here the road to Gladstone edges leafy Hat Head National Park before following the Belmore River to its junction with the Macleay River. The drive to South West Rocks follows the Macleay, its banks lined with dense reeds, old farmhouses and vintage shacks built on stilts, its verdant flood plains stretching as far as the eye can see.