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THE small coastal town of Old Bar offers the Manning Valley’s closest beaches to Taree and some great dining options for locals and visitors alike.
As soon as you enter the 50km zone on Old Bar Road things, at least the power poles, get very colourful indeed. You’re in Kombi country where many of the locals surf, swim or walk the beach each day.
There’s a growing tribe of local makers in and around Old Bar and many of their wares can be found in the local stores.
This and That Local Homewares is one of the fi rst shops you will come to as you drive into town. Situated next to the video shop it is a little gem of a spot with a modern, beachy vibe.
The newsagents offers homewares too and every Saturday is maker’s day at fashion store Birdtree, a local goldmine for “beautiful things for beautiful women and little ladies.”
Friday nights and Sunday afternoons are about fi ne dining and live music at Flow Bar, situated at the Boogie Woogie Beach House on David Street.
You can also enjoy yoga on the deck here on Wednesday mornings.
A walking track opposite will take you straight to Badger’s Beach with views south to Cape Hawke and north to Crowdy Head. This is where you can hook a line for a spot of fishing or walk the dog without a lead.
Actually you can walk your dogs off the lead on all Old Bar beaches and you’ll find the locals a friendly bunch. Head north on the beach, or wind your way through the streets to main beach to find the crowds, seasonal patrols, a children’s play park, skate park and a funky little food kiosk.
Blowfish off ers fresh local seafood and produce dubbing it street food for the beach.
Old Bar also boasts two Thai restaurants depending on your budget. For something a little more special book a table at Sai Thai Table and Tea and order from their delicious modern menu.
There is convenience shopping a plenty in Old Bar with a supermarket, bakery, pharmacy and butchers catering to the everyday needs of locals.
But for tourists looking for the hot spots you can’t go past a drive out to Saltwater Point.
Driving five minutes west of Old Bar you’ll find Saltwater Road on the left. Take this to the residential area of Wallabi Point where you can check out some of the large beach houses and their stunning views.
Keep driving though (mind the speed bumps) through to Saltwater National Park (no dogs allowed) and park up on the headland to watch the surfers catching the point break.
A lovely walking trail will take you around the headland. The back beach at Saltwater has a lagoon which when flowing fresh is great for kids and Khappinghat Creek is ideal for flat water canoes and kayaks.
The shady rainforest canopy provides the perfect spot for a picnic.
This article was first published in Mid North Coast Now, issue 8