Whether you’re visiting sick koalas in hospital, filling a bucket with fresh fruit at Ricardo’s Tomatoes, or riding a horse along an empty beach, Port Macquarie has a range of activities designed to keep little and big kids happy.
Here’s our pick of some of the best things for kids to do in Port Macquarie.
Go horse riding in the Hastings
If you have kids aged 10 and up, you can hone your family horse-riding skills under the expert eye of Hastings River Horse Riding equestrians, who will lead you on a slow and steady ride along Grant’s Beach. While riding along the beach to the sound of crashing waves is a glorious adventure, it will also give you a love for the rugged, windswept beaches around Port Macquarie.
Wakulda, Weaving our Stories as One, is an immersive, sound and light show projected onto the façade of the Port Macquarie Historic Courthouse. The moving 10-minute projection will engage young children and help start a conversation about the Birpai people, the traditional owners of the land who are part of Port Macquarie’s rich history. Compulsory viewing.
Head to Tacking Point Lighthouse during whale watching season (from May to November) and you’ll likely be rewarded with a memorable performance from the great marine mammals as they make their way along the so-called Humpback Highway. You can also join Port Jet on a whale-watching tour to see the majestic creatures up close.
Visit the Koala Hospital
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is a world first. Established in 1973, the hospital is managed by Koala Conservation Australia whose work includes scientific research, training, koala care, rescues, home care and tree planting. Introduce your children to the plight of wild koalas at the hospital where you can visit rehabilitation yards and the intensive care unit. Billabong Zoo is also dedicated to koala conservation.
Follow the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail
Children love seeing how many of the 79 one-metre-high hand-painted fibreglass koalas they can find along the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail in Port Macquarie. Originally designed to remind visitors of the koala care and conservation work being done in the region, the permanent attraction also leads visitors to discover interesting places in and around Port Macquarie.
Bago Maze & Winery
Bago Maze & Winery is located near to Bago Bluff National Park overlooking rolling vineyards and one of the world’s largest hedge mazes. Tell the kids to ‘go and get lost’ and explore the stunning architecturally designed Lilli Pilly maze – which curls its way some 2000m around the property – while you sample some of the outstanding wines produced at the family-run vineyard.
Visit Old Bottlebutt
Families should factor in a visit to the Burrawan State Forest to see Old Bottlebutt, the largest red bloodwood tree in the southern hemisphere. The majestic old dame, which has a girth of 16 metres, has stood for more than two centuries and can be reached via a 600-metre-long track that is accessible for little legs. Don’t forget to point out the forest floor, carpeted in brilliant green mosses, to inspire the next gen of nature lovers.
Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries is a picture-perfect pick-your-own-fruit farm where you can fill a bucket or punnet with hydroponically-grown produce while strolling around the vertical gardens in the greenhouses, which are controlled by state-of-the-art computerised technology. In addition to being able to see, touch and taste the fruit, visitors can enjoy an indulgent afternoon tea of scones slathered with fresh strawberry jam.
Port Macquarie Astronomical Observatory
Teach your children about space and the cosmos by visiting the Port Macquarie Astronomical Observatory on an open night. In addition to the entertaining presentations, visitors can enjoy a tour of the night sky and look through a telescope at the moon, Jupiter and Saturn. Don’t forget to download an astronomy app ahead of your astrological adventure.
Check out the break wall
Stroll along the southern end of the Port Macquarie breakwall to read the hotch-potch of messages, tributes and memories painted onto the rocks. What began as an art competition in 1995 is now a permanent outdoor gallery that anyone can be part of. The painted section of the break-wall starts at Town Green and hugs the Hastings River toward Town Beach.