Manning River Trail

The Manning River starts high in the Barrington Tops National Park area and travels some 261 kilometres to flow into the Pacific Ocean at both Harrington and Old Bar. It descends from the mountains through rural farmlands to the picturesque town of Wingham which was chosen in the 1840’s as a location for a government settlement because supply boats could not proceed any further up the Manning River. The river continues its journey past Tinonee to reach Taree as a majestic setting for now the largest town on the river. From here it splits and the southern arm flows into the Pacific Ocean at Old Bar while a northern arm is joined by the Dawson River and the Landsdowne River to flow to the ocean at Harrington. Indeed the Manning River is the only double delta river in the southern Hemisphere and the only permanent multiple entrance river in the world other than the Nile in Egypt. Such changing and varied riverscapes offers locals and visitors alike many opportunities to use and enjoy the river for many leisure activities today.

Here are our Top Ten ways to discover and experience the Manning River and its history today.

Manning Valley Historical Society Museum

Latitude -31.870905°
Longitude 152.373983°
  • 12 Farquhar St
  • Wingham NSW
  • 2429

Located on the edge of the magnificent Town Square in Wingham, the Manning Valley Historical Society Museum is housed in what was once a grocery and produce store, circa 1880. The museum is jam-packed with treasures telling the stories of the Manning Valley. The whole museum exudes the magic of yesteryear across the different periods of local history. With an extensive & eclectic collection the enchanting detail of this museum is one of its most defining features.

Open daily 10am to 4pm call 02 6553 5823 view their website here.

Wingham Wharf

Latitude -31.871254463°
Longitude 152.381615762°
  • Farquhar Street
  • Wingham, NSW
  • 2429

The recently restored historic wharf at Wingham is a magnificent reminder of how important the river was to the establishment of the Manning Valley – everything came by boat and the wharf was a centre of activity with large ships unloading goods and passengers. While that is no longer the case today the backdrop of the Wingham Brush Reserve has not changed and the picturesque townscape creates a great precinct for visitors today.

Brushy Cutting Lookout

Latitude -31.936808°
Longitude 152.413639°
  • 32 Manchester St,
  • Tinonee, NSW
  • 2430

South of Wingham there are breathtaking views of the river and valleys from both the Apex and Brushy Cutting Lookouts. Combine with a visit to the historic river town of Tinonee,a great place for coffee or to explore several galleries and the local museum. The Tinonee Museum has much to offer. For further information give them a call on 6553 1571 or visit their website for further details.

John Churton Walk

Latitude -31.914969°
Longitude 152.459979°
  • 2 Pultney Street
  • Taree

By the time the Manning River reaches Taree it is a majestic river and the perfect setting to relax as you walk along the redeveloped foreshore in the centre of town. The foreshore now features new wide pathways, exercise equipment, enhanced playgrounds and new seating.

The opening of the John Churton Walk is commemorated by a plaque now mounted alongside the massive pulley wheels which were once high atop the Martin Bridge to open it for ships passing through. The river is also still home to rowing, sailing and other river based events reminiscent of regattas of old

Regattas on the River

Latitude -31.8886442°
Longitude 152.5605127°

While sailing and rowing were historically the main sporting activities on the river today that has expanded to also include Dragon Boat and Power Boat racing. Events throughout the year ensure numerous visitors on the river and its river banks, creating new traditions.

Manning Point

Latitude -31.895141°
Longitude 152.6615106°
  • Main Street,
  • Manning Point, NSW
  • 2430

Located on the northern branch of the Manning River, Manning Point is especially suited to fishing and boating enthusiasts. The Manning River offers 150kms of saltwater estuary and 1500kms of fresh water for recreational anglers. It is also suitable for kayaking and safe family swimming. While you might not notice visitors actually cross a series of islands and tributaries to get to this quiet hideaway. The local marina has boats for hire as well as an extensive range of fishing equipment and supplies. Manning Point is also a major centre for local oyster production.

Harrington Breakwater

Latitude -31.8735193632°
Longitude 152.688726087°

No one should return home from Harrington without walking the Harrington Breakwater Begun in 1885 to improve the safety at the dangerous mouth of the river rocks were quarried at the southern side of the Crowdy Headland and transported by rail to Harrington. The wall extends approximately 2km upstream and 1km seaward.  The construction took 33 year to build. Today the breakwater is popular for fishing, walking and just taking in the panoramic view.

Harrington

Latitude -31.8715149°
Longitude 152.6834475°

The history of Harrington is captured in the very unique carved bollards that are located along the river foreshore. These capture some of the stories of the people that have made Harrington what it is today. While some represent actual individuals others are more descriptive of people and times, but all add to the very special character of Harrington.

Pilot Hill

Latitude -31.871412°
Longitude 152.69119°
  • 18 High Street,
  • Harrington NSW
  • 2427

The entrance to the Manning River has long presented problems for navigation and as the river was so important to early trade a Pilot Station was established as early as 1860 on the headland to the north of what is now Harrington. It was manned for nearly a century. Known as Pilot Hill there is no longer any evidence of the Pilot Station other than a monument and a small cemetery. It is understood that those buried here were several employees of the pilot service and members of their families.

Crowdy Head

Latitude -31.8424028°
Longitude 152.7512424°

Although a pilot station was established in 1860 it was not until 1878 that a lighthouse was built at Crowdy Head to provide further navigational assistance. It was the last of a series of small lighthouses designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet, who was responsible for many now historic buildings in Sydney. The original light was staffed by one lightkeeper. In 1928 the apparatus was converted to an automatic operation and finally converted to mains electricity in June 1972.Today the lighthouse is a very popular place for visitors to take in breathtaking 360 degree views of ocean, bay and hinterland.  Interpretative signage at the site provides extensive information about the history of the lighthouse.