Port Macquarie Food & Drink
With access to fresh produce from both the ocean and surrounding farmland, the Port Macquarie region is increasingly becoming known as a foodie hub, celebrated for its restaurants and cafes, farm gate experiences and craft beverages. Slurp on freshly shucked oysters, pick your own strawberries, shop in farmer’s markets or dine in a restaurant overlooking a vineyard.
Whether in an award-winning seafood restaurant such as the hatted The Stunned Mullet or Bills Fishhouse and Bar, or in family-friendly casual eateries such as The Burger Rebellion or the riverview LVs on Clarence, Port Macquarie’s gourmet scene is a celebration of local and fresh. Water views are often par for the course, with venues such as The Boathouse Bar & Restaurant boasting stunning waterfront locations.
Fresh is best
You can buy local oysters harvested from the Hastings River and Camden Haven estuaries at fish shops and restaurants. You can also purchase Camden Haven oysters directly from grower near North Haven - check their website for opening times.
Pick the best strawberries you've ever tasted at Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries, a hydroponic farm near Port Macquarie. The monthly Wauchope Farmers Market and annual Slice of Haven Festival are local events that celebrate the region's produce.
In the vines
The Cassegrain family, who trace their winemaking heritage back to 1643 in France, revitalised viticulture in the area in the 1980s. Cassegrain Wines is a short drive west of Port Macquarie. You can visit the cellar door and tour the winery, and then enjoy a fabulous ‘paddock-to-plate’ meal at the highly-regarded restaurant overlooking the vines.
The is another pretty spot to graze on food and wine while surrounded by vineyards embroidered into the hills. For lovers of wine, cheese and chocolate, head to Bago Vineyards, near Wauchope, a pretty storybook of a town. The young and young at heart can play hide and seek in the twists and turns of the 2km Bago Maze.
Meanwhile, Douglas Vale Historic Homestead and Vineyard is the only volunteer-run organisation of its kind, preserving the property as a working museum and vineyard with wine tastings; while Long Point Vineyard has an art gallery and sculpture garden showcasing works from Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea, which you can enjoy with a cheese platter and homegrown wines and ginger beer.
Craft beer and spirits is also on the rise in the Port Macquarie region: check out Black Duck Brewery and Bar in Port Macquarie’s industrial area, or the new taproom at Wicked Elf. The Maria River Distillery in Crescent Head offers tours of its distillery, which includes tastings of small batch limoncello and gin products infused with home-grown botanicals.