The secret to experiencing the best of Port Macquarie is to venture out on foot.
Beaches, wildlife, rainforest and coastal views – all come alive with the help of a good hiking route. But when it comes to the expansive, picturesque beauty of the Hastings Region, it’s hard to know where to start. Here, find all you need to know about the best on-foot adventures to have in Port Macquarie.
Where: Port Macquarie
Distance: 4 kilometres return
What to expect: Its prime location and ease of accessibility makes Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park worthy of exploration by people of all abilities and fitness levels.
Koala’s, sugar gliders, lizards, flying foxes and over 165 known bird species have been sighted within, providing ample opportunity to for animal-spotting along the way. There is also a historic cemetery that dates back to 1821, which is home to the graves of some notable early colonisers.
The Cath Le Page Arboretum, or the Garden of Trees, also contains a number of native trees that are endemic to the area.
The Kooloonbung Creek Walk is one of the most accessible in the area.
Where: Bonny Hills
Distance: 7 kilometres return
What to expect: Beautiful, varied ecosystems reign supreme on the 3.5 kilometre Grants Beach Walk. Eucalyptus, paperbark and banksia woodlands offer plenty for nature lovers to marvel at, particularly in late winter and early spring when the native flowers are in bloom. The coastal walk begins at North Haven alongside the Camden River, passes by Grants Beach and ends at Grants Headland at Bonny Hills.
This popular trail is also a great way to kick-off your hiking experience in Port Macquarie as its considered an easier entry-level option. Ensure you take lots of water, as there are no shops or amenities along the route.
Pass Grants Beach on the 3.5 kilometre coastal walk.
Where: Sea Acres National Park
Distance: 9 kilometres one way
What to expect: The Port Macquarie Coastal Walk is as iconic as the town itself; with its breathtaking coastal scenery and spectacular views. You’ll be in good company, with friendly locals, cyclists, skaters, walkers and runners all flocking to the coastal walk daily.
The walk can be divided into four sections:
- Westport to Town Beach (2km)
- Town Beach to Flynns Beach (2.2km)
- Flynns Beach to Shelly Beach (2.2km)
- Shelly Beach to Tacking Point (2.7km)
Many opt to join the track just outside The Westport Club, and weave nine kilometres to the south along the Hastings River and the iconic Breakwall, hugging the coastline all the way to Tacking Point Lighthouse. There are plenty of spots to stop along the way, providing food, coffee and entertainment to match the views.
Hug the coast along the walk and enjoy the views.
Where: Boorganna Nature Reserve
Distance: 0.6 kilometre loop
What to expect: Old Bottlebutt is a Port Macquarie legend. This incredible tree is the largest Red Bloodwood in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Old BottleButt Walking trail will take you through rainforest, creek crossings and footbridges to meet this 200-year-old beauty. Once you arrive at the viewing area, marvel in the magic of one of the largest and most unusual trees in the world.
The Old Bottlebutt is a Port Macquarie legend.
Where: Crowdy Bay National Park
Distance: 4.3 kilometre loop
What to expect: Introduce yourself to the exceptional beauty of the Crowdy Bay National Park by way of the Diamond Head Loop Walk.
The trail begins at Diamond Head campground and links through the forest for a moderately difficult hike that is packed with highlights. Marvel at the swathes of forest and foliage as well as the quartz crystals in the cliffs, which often sparkle in the sunlight on a bright day.
Kylie’s Lookout is a great place to stop to enjoy the views – and is a famed for delivering some of the best dolphin and whale sightings from land. The headland provides panoramic views out to Crowdy Bay, north towards Perpendicular Point and south towards Crowdy Head.
Diamond Head Loop Walk is a trail that is packed full of highlights.
Where: Dooragan National Park
Distance: 6 kilometre return
What to expect: The Laurieton Track is reserved for the most intrepid of nature lovers. This rousing walk takes you atop the picturesque summit, where views rank among the best in north New South Wales.
Part of the Three Brothers Track, this easily accessible route transports will weave you through towering eucalyptus and blackbutt trees as you spot the abundant wildlife. While we recommend this walk for anyone with an affinity for the great outdoors, there are long, winding and steep sections that may be too challenging for beginners. Bushwalking experience is recommended for those who undertake the journey.
Where: Boorganna Nature Reserve
Distance: 5.5 kilometre return
What to expect: Many make the mistake of visiting the Boorganna Nature Reserve without doing the Rawson Falls Walk – don’t be that person. Instead, make the 2.5 kilometre journey down to the very bottom of the waterfall, stopping to take a dip in the deep, tranquil plunge pool at its base.
For those who don’t feel like a swim, there is a viewing platform that shortens the distance to about 3.4 kilometre return. Take in the sights and sounds of varied flora and fauna, encompassed by the 40-metre tall trees around you. Spring brings flowering orange blossoms and cinnamon orchards, which can be marvelled at while you eat a packed lunch by the picnic area.
Don’t miss out on a swim at Rawson Falls.
Where: Sea Acres National Park
Distance: 4 kilometre return
What to expect: Spend time in the serenity of this rain
The walk will guide you to the rainforest canopy, rising seven metres above the forest understorey to marvel at the magic from above.
Experience this busy habitat from the boardwalk platform, which begins at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre. Prepare to encounter rainforest birds, goannas and the mostly harmless diamond python.
On the walk, take the time to stop and read the Save Our Koalas exhibit – an educational resource signposted along the way. It showcases six koala sculptures placed at intervals along the boardwalk. You should also take the time to learn about the significance of this habitat to the Biripai people. They used the walking stick palm as a travel aid and made weapons from the python tree, which is the second hardest wood in the world.