The charming town of North Haven sits at the mouth of the Camden Haven Inlet, 30min south of Port Macquarie. Surrounded by beautiful waterways, gorgeous beaches and rugged wilderness, it’s a nature-based escape where you can spot koalas and dolphins, explore surrounding national parks and enjoy watersports on sparkling Queens Lake.
Picnic on the lake
The pristine lake, surrounded by a Nature Reserve, is an ideal destination for a day of picnicking, swimming, fishing and boating. It’s also a popular spot for windsurfing, and families will love the tranquil waters where the kids can play. There’s even a small wharf where you can launch a kayak or boat for an afternoon of peaceful paddling.
The surrounding old-growth forests are home to over 200 species of animals, making this reserve perfect for wildlife and birdwatching. While looking to the treetops, you might even spot a koala dozing in the branches, including some that have been released into the wild after being cared for at the nearby Koala Hospital.
On the water
Hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board from original 1940s Dunbogan Boatshed and meander up the Camden Haven River, looking for dolphins, stingrays and turtles in the estuary or birds of prey soaring overhead.
Grants Beach (also known as North Haven Beach) is a beautiful 3.5km stretch of sand on the north side of the river mouth. The beach is paralleled by a lovely walking track that passes through wildflower-strewn heathland melaleuca swamp and eucalyptus forest to Grants Head, a great vantage spot for whale watching between May and November.
West across Stingray Creek from North Haven are Laurieton and the Dooragan National Park, where the North Brother lookout offers sweeping views of the waterways and beyond. South across the river mouth is Perpendicular Point, another top location for spotting humpbacks and other whales.
Adrenaline-loving teens will also love the Jolly Nose Mountain Bike Park in the Queens Lake State Forest Bonny Hills, with 50km of single track mountain bike trails from beginner to advanced.
Getting there & where to stay
North Haven is a four-hour drive north of Sydney, six hours south of Brisbane and just 30min from Port Macquarie. Interstate trains stop at nearby Kendall and Wauchope stations and the journey takes around 6hr 30min. Or fly into Port Macquarie Airport and hire a car to explore the region.
Accommodation options around North Haven range from oceanfront holiday parks to beach houses and motels. For a unique stay with local heritage, the Camden Head Pilot Station is a fully self-contained cottage set in a bushland reserve.