About 20km north of Kempsey, the small Macleay River village of Smithtown is at the heart of a dairy region that is becoming increasingly reliant on a burgeoning tourism industry.
The district offers surf beaches, river and ocean fishing, a chain of reserves and conservation parks and submarine caves to attract the scuba-divers.
It also has an unusual history. For starters, Kempsey began as a private town and port built in the 1830s by Enoch Rudder to service the cedar-cutting industry. Rudder, who named his town after Kempsey in his native Worcestershire, also owned and operated a river punt.
To Smithtown’s north lies South West Rocks and Trial Bay Gaol which was built by prisoners in the 1880s and used to secure German internees during World War I.
The Bay was named after the ship Trial that was wrecked off the beach in 1816 after it had been stolen by convicts who were attempting to escape to south-east Asia. When Captain Thomas Whyte found the wreck in 1817 there was no trace of the convicts and it was assumed they had either starved to death or been killed by the local Aborigines.