A guide to Port Macquarie’s beaches & surf

The Port Macquarie region is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, and with 17 to choose from in the immediate vicinity, you are bound to find one that’s perfect for you. Surf, swim, hike or simply take in the pretty views.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Apr 2024 -
min read

Top surfing spots 

With world-class breaks and consistent swell, Port Macquarie’s beaches are a surfer’s delight. Popular spots to jump on a board include the Breakwall atTown Beach, which is right near the centre of town and comes with plenty of facilities. Other wave riders love Grants Beach in North Haven, Flynns Beach and Shelly Beach

Surfers catching a wave off Town Beach, Port Macquarie

Town Beach, Port Macquarie

If you’re keen to try surfing but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Learn to surf at accredited schools such as Soul Surfing and Port Macquarie Surf School. Both are great for beginners, and also cater to those looking to polish their skills.  

Alternatively, head to the renowned kite-surfing spot Lighthouse Beach, which curls for 9km south of the heritage-listed Tacking Point Lighthouse, built in 1879. The point is a great spot for whale watching during the migratory season (May through November). 

Scenic views across the Port Macquarie coastline, North Coast

Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie

Must-try beach activities 

Riding ‘the ship of the desert’ along the rippled sand of Lighthouse Beach with  Port Macquarie Camel Safaris is a fun and unique family activity, with safaris operating Sunday through Friday between 9.30am and 1pm (no bookings, just come on down – and cash only).  

Visitors enjoying a camel experience with Port Macquarie Camel Safari's on Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie - Credit: Destination North Coast

There are eight dog-friendly beaches in the area, including all ofNobby’s BeachLighthouse and Lake Cathie Beach. You can also take 4WDs on some beaches – just make sure you have a permit. 

Coastal views looking south towards Nobbys Head - Port Macquarie

Nobbys Head, Port Macquarie

Stunning coastal walks 

For breathtaking views, the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk from the town centre to Tacking Point Lighthouse is a wonderful trail that winds past a number of stunning beaches, including Town, Flynns and Shelly, and through Sea Acres National Park. The walking track is 9km one-way and can be broken into four smaller sections. Picnic tables and barbecue facilities are located along your route at Flynns Beach, Shelly Beach, Lake Cathie Beach, Rainbow Beach, south of Duchess Creek, Grants Beach and Pilot Beach, Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit.  

Slightly shorter at 7km and just to the south of Port Macquarie proper, the Grants Beach Coastal Walk takes you through native forest and woodlands, as well as along dramatic cliffs. It begins at North Haven alongside the Camden River, passes by Grants Beach and ends at Grants Headland at Bonny Hills. 

Wooden stairs descend from Tacking Point to Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Lace-up your shoes to tackle the 4.3km Diamond Head Loop Walk, which introduces you to the exceptional beauty of the Crowdy Bay National Park. The trail begins at Diamond Head campground and weaves through forest before landing you at vantages like Kylie’s Lookout – a great place for dolphin and whale spotting. 

Scenic coastal views across Diamond Head Beach, Crowdy Bay National Park

Scenic coastal views across Diamond Head Campground and Diamond Head Beach, Crowdy Bay National Park

Beachfront cafes & restaurants 

Port Macquarie boasts some charming beach-front cafes where you can soak up the sun and take in the beach action, including dolphins riding the surf. Just along from the Town Green, Little Shack is a popular breakfast spot where you can indulge in morning tacos, burgers and churros; the spot is also open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.  

Salty Crew Kiosk enjoys magnificent views of Town Beach and is the perfect spot to refuel with a super smoothie after a morning walk – there are also more substantial breakfast offerings for those with an appetite. Not far away is Breakwall HQ, offering equally dramatic views and coffee you’ll want to linger over.  

Aerial of people enjoying a sunny day at Town Beach in Port Macquarie, North Coast

Town Beach, Port Macquarie

The Beach House is one of Port Mac’s most legendary waterside establishments. Come here for lunch and dinner treats like juniper-smoked lamb, grilled mahi mahi and all manner of burgers. And On the Edge Restaurant features dazzling water views only outshone by dishes like barbecued prawns, crispy fried soft-shell crab and pumpkin gnocchi. There’s a dedicated menu for little diners. While it’s not on the beach, per se, Whalebone Wharf offers unparalleled water views – this time over the Hastings River.  

The interior of the Whalebone Wharf seafood restaurant with views across Hastings River, Port Macquarie, North Coast

Whalebone Wharf, Port Macquarie 

Accommodation with ocean views 

There are plenty of places to stay in Port Macquarie with beach views, from ritzy resorts, apartments and beach houses to camping and holiday parks, such as the NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park. 

Caravan park with view of the ocean, NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park

NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park, Port Macquarie - Credit: NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park

Check in to Country Comfort Port Macquarie Waters Edge for sleek rooms with sea views, just steps from the town’s most happening dining precincts. The Rydges Port Macquarie takes your stay up a notch with a stellar ocean outlook, whether from your room with private patio or from the restaurant. If you’re travelling with a group, you’ll want to book Drift Beach House, replete with five bedrooms, an outdoor pool and stunning Pacific vistas. You can also walk to restaurants and cafes in town.  

Other places to check in with beach views include the Ibis Styles; three apartments at Blue Vista, opposite Town Beach; and Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges (the pool is a hit). 

Scenic views of the Hastings River from Sails Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie

 Hastings River from Sails Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie

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