Port Macquarie is no longer overlooked by road-trippers making a beeline for Brisbane or Sydney.
Initially conceived as Australia’s third largest penal settlement, the town is now liberated by a chain of beautiful beaches, stunning hinterland, waterfalls and views. Whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat, a holiday home with space for the whole crew, or a hotel with river views, Port Macquarie has a multitude of options to lure visitors away from the hum of the highway.
Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 places to stay in Port Macquarie.
Ana Mandara Luxury Bed & Breakfast
Keen anglers will be the first to cast a line in at dawn from the front lawn of Ana Mandara’s shiny new luxury bed and breakfast, located on a bend of the Hastings River. Three of the luxurious rooms feature private balconies and views over the river so you can step outside your private guestroom and shout ‘G’day’ to passing kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders gliding past.
Best bit: the Hastings River haven has a resident chef who creates three-course gourmet breakfasts each day.
Akuna Luxury Waterfront Retreat
Akuna Luxury Waterfront Retreat reads like an ad for riverside living in Port Macquarie. While the contemporary two-guestroom retreat is positioned to encourage visitors to get out and explore, it’s also very enticing to just stay put. Pick up a dozen oysters to enjoy with a bottle of local Cassegrain wine on the bushland balcony where you can keep watch for dolphins.
Inside, you can sit around the open fireplace and stay toasty warm over winter; in summer, open the louvres and let the breeze flow into the indoor lounge area. To get to Akuna, you must travel via ferry from Settlement Point.
Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges
Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges is so close to the Hastings River you may as well be on a lilo. The revamped hotel reads like an ode to the river with an open-plan foyer, infinity pool and large windows designed to enable guests to appreciate the water from different angles. Sails has personality plus while remaining pared back, and the airy coastal-themed rooms make a stay here feel like a breeze.
Curl up on a chair on the balcony and read a book, or head for the heated spa, which looks out onto the water. Enjoy breakfast at the Boathouse Bar & Restaurant, then hire a paddleboard and head upriver.
Port Macquarie has 17 beaches. And you will overlook quite a few of them when you book a stay at Blue Vista luxury beachfront apartment. Spend your time exploring the rock pools, walking along the coastal path, enjoying a bracing dunk in the sea and watching the waves roll to shore from the three-bedroom apartment, which is swathed in glass in a low-rise complex directly opposite Town Beach. Inside, the apartment is all soothing whites and turquoise tones with ocean-inspired artworks. Thumbs up.
Flynn’s Beach Resort
One of the perks of staying at Flynn’s Beach Resort in Port Macquarie is the easy access to Flynn’s Beach. Families return again and again to the deluxe two-bedroom apartments, which tick all the boxes on parents’ and kids’ wish lists.
In addition to the comfortable lounge room and fully equipped kitchen, Flynn’s Beach Resort features family-friendly facilities such as two heated pools, BBQ cabanas and a tennis court. Look out for the resident koalas who lives in the grove of gum trees near the resort.
Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat
Guests staying at this eco-friendly retreat sandwiched between the Camden Haven River and the sea will wake up to a chorus of birdsong while staying in one of the treehouses on the five-hectare property. There’s free wi-fi. But most guests at Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat want to switch off and relax in the luxury treehouses, which have well-appointed kitchens. Tread lightly by exploring the waterways in a canoe or wandering over the wetlands on purpose-built walkways.
The Mid Pacific
The boutique Mid Pacific Port Macquarie has nailed what you need during a holiday on the Hastings River. And it’s worth making the pilgrimage to Port just to stay in the Pacific Suite at the mid-range motel, which also overlooks the Town Green.
The motel is also a short walk to the beaches and shops and a top spot to hole up in while binging on the complimentary Foxtel and wi-fi. The rooms are bright and airy and there is a heated outdoor pool and spas with water views.
Macquarie Waters Boutique Apartment Hotel
One of the best ways to get to know the Mid North Coast NSW town of Port Macquarie is to live like a local for a week. This multi-award-winning 4.5-star boutique apartment hotel lets you do just that, providing a comfortable base in the heart of the city that has been curated with comfort and convenience in mind.
The apartments at Macquarie Waters Boutique Apartment Hotel has an onsite restaurant and roof deck with a hot tub and you can even enjoy dive-in movies over summer.
The Arthouse Loft
This small but perfectly formed loft-style apartment is filled with hand-crafted furniture and quirky objects such as old suitcases, antique brass scales, bits of driftwood and potted plants. It has personality in spades. And, best of all, it feels like home, albeit in your wildest fantasies.
The stand-alone accommodation has only basic cooking facilities and a small fridge so secure a spot on the sofa under the arty light installation and order Uber Eats to enjoy in The Arthouse Loft, which is located in the heart of town.
Rydges Port Macquarie.
Guests staying at the Rydges Port Macquarie can walk right out of their airy room and onto the waterfront in a matter of minutes. The low-key hotel, which has undergone extensive renovations, is in a prime location in the heart of the CBD, and in terms of accommodation, it has a lot to offer, from economy rooms to deluxe king rooms.
While the colour palette in the interior of the hotel is quite restrained, the view from the first-floor pool overlooking the waterfront pops in technicolour blue.