You’ll find the best of both worlds at Port Macquarie. Spot playful pods of bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the Hastings River as you walk the length of the artfully-decorated Breakwall, take a dip at one of the 17 blissfully-uncrowded beaches, trek the numerous walking trails located in the region’s stunning national parks, dine at award-winning restaurants and pay a visit to the famous Koala Hospital before settling into your own seaside campsite for the night – a Port Macquarie holiday has all this and more to offer.
Tucked away on the NSW mid North Coast, Port Macquarie is an easy four-hour drive north of Sydney or a six-hour drive south of Brisbane. You can also fly direct into Port Macquarie Airport, which is located just 4.5km from the town centre, or travel by interstate trains and disembark at nearby Kendall and Wauchope stations.
A Port Macquarie holiday will deliver an endless supply of natural and man-made attractions to keep you coming back for more.
If it’s sun, sand and saltwater you crave you’ll be well catered for in Port Macquarie with 17 pristine beaches to choose from. For the best surfing beaches visit Town Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Grants Beach or Rainbow Beach. Families looking to make a day of it should visit Lake Cathie Beach which is equipped with picnic facilities, a playground and takeaway shops; alternatively, Flynns Beach is patrolled and has plenty of shaded picnic areas and a kiosk.
Explore Port Macquarie’s coastline, national parks and lush rainforests on foot with our guide to the best hikes. The famous Town Beach Breakwall walk starts at the Town Green, ends at the skate park and offers views of the Hastings River, but it’s the graffiti messages and artworks painted onto the walls of rocks that line the trail that make this walk so memorable. It also forms part of the nine-kilometre Port Macquarie Coastal Walk out to Tacking Point Lighthouse. The full trail will take you around the coast past Town, Flynns and Shelly Beach and the Sea Acres National Park before ending at Lighthouse Beach.
For a short but rewarding option take the Old Bottlebutt 600-metre loop walk through the Burrawan State Forest to see the biggest ancient Red Bloodwood tree on record. For something a little more strenuous take the Diamond Head Loop Walk through Crowdy Bay National Park. The 4.3-kilometre loop begins at the campground and will guide you through dense forest and out onto dramatic headlands to reveal panoramic views of Crowdy Bay.
Looking for the best things for kids to do in Port Macquarie? As the home of the famous Koala Hospital, the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail and the Billabong Zoo, getting up close and personal with our eucalypt-loving koala bears should be at the top of every visitor’s activity list, not just the kids. Adventurous adults and older kids should visit Port Macquarie’s outdoor go karting centre, or for a completely different experience, head to Lighthouse Beach to find the famous Port Macquarie Camel Safaris and climb atop these curious creatures for a meander along the shore.
The Hastings River Wine region has plenty of top notch cellar doors worthy of a visit. Stop by Cassegrain Wines for a winery tour and tasting of their award-winning wines. Enjoy a local cheese platter at Bago Vineyards while the kids get lost in Bago Maze. Or dine on French-inspired cuisine overlooking the vibrant vineyards of Innes Lake Estate at Little Fish Restaurant and Vineyard.
If it is fresh local produce you seek, take a drive to Wauchope Farmers Markets (every fourth Saturday of the month). If you prefer to stay in town you can collect a new treasure at The Artist Markets (every fourth Sunday), or soak up the ambience at The Foreshore Market every second Saturday.
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The Waters Edge Port Macquarie is situated on the edge of the Hastings River and nestled between Settlement City and Port Central Shopping Centre. Offering guests the ideal location for those looking to be in the centre of it all.
Flynns on Surf Beach Villas offers all the comforts of home but with the added bliss of having access to Flynns Beach right outside your front door.
Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges is a 10-minute drive from the town centre in Pelican Bay. It’s perfect for visitors in search of a quieter location with superb service and a resort-like experience.
Mantra The Observatory is perfect for families or large groups preferring serviced apartments over a standard hotel.
The NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park is centrally located on the waterfront in town with excellent camping and caravan facilities. They also have a number of cabins available to book. Kids will be well looked after with a swimming pool, playground, TV room, free Wi-Fi and a kids club available in school holidays.
Set up camp alongside the beach at Diamond Head Camp Ground. It is equipped to service motorhomes, camper vans, camper trailers and tents.
While Mount Bass State Forest is a more secluded option that still provides BBQ facilities, toilets and a waterhole for swimming.
Reflections Holiday Parks Bonny Hills offers a more luxurious glamping experience overlooking Rainbow Beach. Alternatively, you can spend the night in a bell tent set up for you by Flourish Tents.
Find more great Port Macquarie camping spots here.
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The Flinders Ranges – one of the great walking destinations in Australia.
Discover the magic of Wilpena Pound with a glamping experience in the cultural heartland of the Flinders Ranges.
World Heritage Sites like Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are just the entrée to this deep dive into the Northern Territory. Explore ancient structures and culture on this tour, and eat a lot of food along the way. Image credit: Tourism NT
Explore majestic Far North Queensland with experienced guides by your side. Ride from Cairns to Cape York experiencing nature at its finest during the day, and resting in luxury at night.
Return Qantaslink flights from Sydney, 7 nights accommodation at Ocean View Apartments plus free use of snorkelling gear & stand-up paddle boards.
3 nights at Tangalooma including desert safari, scenic heli flight, wild dolphin feeding & more! Valid now – 31 August.
Enjoy a complimentary upgrade from a dinner bed and breakfast rate to an all-inclusive getaway at Spicers Tower Lodge.
Experience some of NSW’s best scenery, museums, and regional producers in our 1960s sleeping train.
Don’t head out on the road without a dash cam! Navman’s 3 newest models – 20% off – built for Australian conditions. Evidence in Full HD and packed with features. Choose the right model for your style of drive.
Stay at Wilson Island for 3 nights or more & enjoy a bonus FREE night of accommodation at Heron Island.
The Stunned Mullet combines relaxed coastal ambience with award-winning food and perfectly-paired wines to deliver a fine dining experience to remember. Dine on the freshest available seafood in the region while overlooking the Hastings River at Whalebone Wharf.
The iconic toucan-themed Pancake Place is a firm family favourite that delivers delicious pancakes and crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Burger Rebellion serves up the best burgers in town while Zebu is your go-to for satisfying a pizza craving. Both Drury Lane and Milk Bar will please the brunch-loving crowd, while those more interested in caffeine should visit the graffiti-covered Social Grounds for the best brew in town. Blackfish and Peak Coffee follow closely behind. Or discover more of the best places to eat and drink here, or opt to visit the nearby cellar doors and wineries.
Get your cocktail fix at Bar Florian or the Botanic Wine Garden, stop by at Black Duck for a tasting paddle of their local brews, followed by Wicked Elf to sample their award-winning beers. And read our guide to the best bars and pubs for more tips.
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Learn to surf at Port Macquarie’s accredited schools – Soul Surfing and Port Macquarie Surf School are two standout options.
Boat tours depart daily during whale watching season from May to November. Port Jet Cruise Adventures will take you the short trip from the shore to see these mammals in action. Humpback whales are the stars of the season but you might also spot the rarer southern right whales and pods of dolphins can be seen all year round.
There are a number of fishing charters available to book to suit novices and the more experienced, including Port Macquarie Fishing Charters and Fish Port Macquarie.
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