Port Macquarie – an Aussie surprise

Aerial of Hastings River with views across the coastal town of Port Macquarie. Destination NSW

When Port Macquarie is ready for tourists again – pack your bags and head to the coast for a special holiday where all the good things in life align.

There are fabulous beaches, great nature walks, gourmet food, classy wineries and lots of things to see and do.

Here’s a list to tick off.

Walk the Boardwalk

Coastal views of the Port Macquarie break wall. Destination NSW

Expect to be distracted as you wander along Port Macquarie’s boardwalk where graffiti on the rocks has become an artform. For years residents and visitors alike have been leaving their stamp and artistic flair on the boulders along the popular walk.

There are lots of declarations of love and friendship, tributes to pets and private messages emblazoned on the rocks and it makes great reading.

Fabulous beaches and coastline

There are 17 great beaches where you can roll out your beach towel and take to the water.

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to selecting a beach here, whether you want to be alone, hone your surfing skills or take the dog for a walk, there’s something to suit everyone.

Beach fishing is very popular with locals and tourists who head to Rocky Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Rainbow Beach and Grant Beach to try their luck.

For surfing, the best spots are Town, Flynns, Lighthouse, Rainbow and North Haven beaches.

A great way to start the day is a spot of beach yoga — a one-hour yoga class is held at Town Beach near the Lifeguard Tower.

It’s a combination of gentle stretches and relaxation and anyone can join in regardless of age or experience.

Get out and walk

Couple enjoying a visit to the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, Port Macquarie. Destination NSW

Pack your runners.

The best way to enjoy the stunning scenery in all its glory is to stride out on the coastal walk – a nine-kilometre easy-grade track that takes in beaches, headlands, historic sites, rainforests and great views.

Starting at Westport Park in town, it goes to Tacking Point Lighthouse and takes about 31/2 hours.

For nearly three kilometres it runs along the coastal boundary of the Sea Acres Nature Reserve. The nature reserve has a wonderful board walk through a pretty rain forest.

Check out its history

Town Beach, Port Macquarie. Destination NSW

Named by John Oxley in 1818 after Governor Macquarie, it was a convict town until 1847 when it became a free settlement.

The Port Macquarie Historical Society and Museum is a great place to get a sense of history of the early days and the Maritime Museum. Built as Pilot Cottages in 1896, it houses a great display of scale model ships, charts, maps and historical maritime photographs.

Koala capital

Resident koala at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. Destination NSW

Port Macquarie is also known as the koala capital of the world.

It is home to the first Koala Hospital dedicated to the care and preservation of koalas. The hospital has a treatment room, six intensive care units and offers a 24-hour rescue service.

Drop by at feeding time, which is 3pm daily, to see these cute Aussie icons.

Dolphins and whales

Between May and November about 6000 humpback whales leave their summer feeding grounds in Antarctica and make their way north to tropical waters. It’s a wonderful sight spotting these marine animals having the time of their lives.

Greater Port Macquarie region

No trip to Port Macquarie is complete without exploring the greater region, which includes lots of cute coastal towns and the hinterland.

Camden South is the collective name for communities scattered along the Camden Haven River including Laurieton, North Haven and Dunbogan at the mouth of the river, stretching to Kew, Kendall, Lorne and Comboyne further inland.

The town of Wauchope has some interesting shops and a riverside park.

National Parks

The region is home to four national parks and 26 state forests.

You can also do a trail ride through the vines at Cassegrain Wines, Port Macquarie’s largest winery, located 10 minutes from the city — see portmacquariehorseriding.com.au.

For a spot of paddle-boarding and kayaking along the calm Camden Haven River, try Dunbogan Boatshed, 25 minutes drive south of Port Macquarie. See dunboganboatshed.com.


Albacore tuna sashimi from The Stunned Mullet Restaurant & Bar, Port Macquarie. Destination NSW

There’s a buoyant dining scene in Port Macquarie including the hatted Stunned Mullet restaurant that opened in 2005 which has an eclectic menu. The signature toothfish has a great following plus there’s an excellent wine menu.

Whalers is another favourite plus Botanica Wine and Sails Resort are also popular.

Try the new craft breweries that have popped up recently and for great coffee check out the local surf clubs including Town Beach, Flynn’s Beach, Light House and Bonney Hills.

At Red Cafe at Ricardoes Tomatoes, you can pick your own strawberries and tomatoes.

Billabong Zoo

Resident koala at Billabong Zoo in Port Macquarie. Destination NSW

For a fun outing head to the Billabong Zoo which is great for kids and adults. There’s an exciting African Exhibit with lion cubs and cheetahs plus the JUrassic Pond exhibit which is home to a monster 4.6 metre crocodile called Shrek.

Hop on a Camel

Port Macquarie Safari’s Camel Tour on Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie. Destination NSW

Take a camel ride along Lighthouse Beach for 30 minutes and check out the scenery.

The Details

For more information visit portmacquarieinfo.com