Set on the sparkling mid-north coast of New South Wales, Port Macquarie is a bustling riverside town surrounded by pristine beaches, a thriving café and restaurant scene and a huge range of family friendly activities. Here’s our guide to experiencing the best Port Macquarie has to offer.
It won’t take you long to feel at home at NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park. Whether you’ve set up on a site or chose the ease of cabin, the park is the perfect base to relax in comfort at night after a long day of exploring the local area.
Uncover the region’s historic past at the Port Macquarie Museum and browse exhibits showcasing colonial life, our pick is the costume gallery for a real step back in time.
If all that knowledge has made you a little hungry stroll into town for a bite to eat, our dining guide in reception is filled with staff recommendations to the best spots in town. You’ll be spoilt for choice with everything from fish and chips to wine bars, and even our very own hatted restaurant, The Stunned Mullet (https://thestunnedmullet.com.au/), or if you’d prefer a casual night in, pick up some supplies and head back to the park for an afternoon barbecue overlooking the Breakwall.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and at our local cafes it’s also the most delicious. Enjoy a short stroll from the park to LV’s on Clarence or the Bandwagon Café and start your day off the right way.
After breakfast head to Kooloonbung Creek Nature Reserve, set on more than 52 hectares, there are plenty of walking trails waiting to be explored. Wildlife is often sighted in the reserve with koalas, water dragons, blue tongue lizards, flying foxes, turtles and over 160 species of bird life common to the area.
Our next stop is Bago Vineyards. Whether you prefer to sample local wines and chocolates, devour a cheese platter, or explore the biggest hedge maze in New South Wales, this place has it all. If you’re visiting during February, you can’t miss the age-old tradition of grape stomping!
Image source – Bago
For dinner, we highly recommend The Burger Rebellion located in the centre of town. Voted one of the top 10 burgers restaurants in Australia, you can’t leave town without trying one of their moth watering burgers.
With so much to see and do throughout the region, day three is a trip down the coastline. Head 30 minutes south to Laurieton, here you can hire a kayak and explore the waterway or if dry land is more your style, wander through the shady grove of the Perpendicular Walking Track to the point. From the lookout, you’ll be able to see right back to Port Macquarie and down to Diamond Head.
For lunch head to the Dunbogan Boat Shed on the banks of the Camden Haven River.
Image source – Dunbogan Boat Shed
Your day isn’t over yet. It’s time to hit the road and take a short drive to the top of North Brother Mountain, part of the Brother Mountain ranges, for spectacular 360-degree views.
On your way back to the park take the easy drive back along Ocean Drive and pop into the Tacking Point Tavern for dinner.
Start your day with a relaxed breakfast by the ocean at Shelly Beach, 2km from the park, before heading off on the 2.7km Shelly Beach to Tacking Point Lighthouse walking trail. If you’re visiting between May and November, you’ll often spot whales on their annual migration.
Tucked away amongst the Sea Acres National Park, you’ll find your lunch spot for the day at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre. Soak up the serenity of the natural bush setting while you enjoy their delicious range of food and coffee.
Image Source – National Parks NSW
For a uniquely Australian experience, head to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital after lunch, where you can take a guided tour at 3:00pm daily.
Since you’ve had a big day out in the sunshine, why not call Black Box Pizza and have dinner delivered to your door.
The perfect way to start day five is with a picnic in Mrs York’s garden. This beautiful headland garden overlooks the river mouth and can be found just two minutes’ walk from the park.
After breakfast it’s time to learn a little more about Port Macquarie’s rich Maritime history at the Mid–North Coast Maritime Museum. A 10-minute walk or 5-minute drive from the park, the Museum consists of two cottages originally built in 1896 and hosts a huge collection of maritime memorabilia.
After you’ve spent some time at the Maritime Museum, you should be ready to captain your own boat. Hire a barbecue boat for lunch and begin your venture up the Hastings River. Anchor up and swim in the clear waters or cast a line and catch your lunch.
Back on land, take a quick 20-minute drive to Ricardo’s Tomatoes and enjoy an afternoon of picking your own strawberries. Armed with a bucket, pick your own berries or just stop by to pick up some of the award-winning jam, sold on site.
After getting back to town pick up some dinner before heading to the Astronomical Observatory. Open Wednesday and Sunday nights, the observatory is the perfect place to learn about space, the cosmos and take a look into the universe.
Image source – AAO
Today you’re off to Wauchope. The township is well known for its rural charm and hospitality as well as being home to the largest Red Bloodwood Tree in the southern hemisphere, the girth of the tree is 16m wide and its estimated age is 200 years old. Spend your time strolling through the boutique shops before stopping off for lunch at the Watermans Café for a delicious meal overlooking Bains Park.
Image source – Visit NSW
Once you’re full and content head back to Port Macquarie. If you’re visiting during the summer, we recommend taking a surfing lesson at the Port Macquarie Surf School on Flynn’s Beach. They have lessons from beginners right through to high-performance coaching. For those in town during the cooler months, head out onto the water for a whale watching tour with Port Jet. Located at the cruise terminal in town, join them for a once in a lifetime experience spotting these majestic creatures up close. For dinner we highly suggest you visit Reyhana’s Turkish Restaurant for an authentic dining experience. The restaurant is BYO and from 7pm on Friday and Saturday nights guests can enjoy belly dancing entertainment.
Wake up early and pack a backpack for a day you won’t forget.
Your first stop of the day is 15 minutes from the park at the award-winning Billabong Zoo. Get close and personal with over 80 species of animals, reptiles and birds, or book an unforgettable animal experience and feed a koala, hold a snake or cuddle a red panda.
Image source – Billabong Zoo
Next, head over to the Glasshouse Gallery located in the centre of town. Home to more than 25 diverse exhibitions each year, including contemporary, Indigenous and historical, traditional, design and sculptural works, it’s a must do for lovers of art.
Your Port Macquarie adventure awaits...
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