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The lovely seaside town of Port Macquarie sits the mouth of the Hastings River on the NSW mid North Coast. Oyster farms necklace the pristine estuary where bottlenose dolphins are known to frolic. Explore the beautiful beaches and rainforest, then discover whale watching, award-winning restaurants and the Hastings River wine region.
Port Macquarie has the highest koala population on the east coast of Australia and is home to the famous Koala Hospital. There is a daily tour of the hospital, which treats around 250 sick or injured koalas a year. Follow the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail to find more than 50 giant koalas dotted around the area.
At the Billabong Zoo: Koala and Wildlife Park you can pat a koala and see the work of the zoo’s world-renowned breeding program. You’ll also meet monster saltwater crocodile Shrek. Take the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk into the Sea Acres National Park and follow the 1.3km rainforest boardwalk, where you might spot a koala in the wild.
History and culture
The town was established as a penal settlement in 1821 because of its distance from Sydney and that heritage is duly celebrated on the Port Macquarie Hastings Heritage walk. Visit Port Macquarie Museum to learn more about the town's colourful history or join a guided Aboriginal cultural heritage tour at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre.
Art lovers should go to the Glasshouse, an architectural gem in the cultural heart of Port Macquarie that houses the regional gallery and its engaging collection of mainly abstract and landscape works of art. Get to know Port Macquarie through various festivals, arts and sporting events that feature on the annual calendar.
Eat and drink
Enjoy the vibrant craft beer scene, buzzy bars and great places to eat around Port Macquarie. Dine on the best fresh seafood at The Stunned Mullet and Bills Fishhouse, both made famous in the Good Food Guide. Sample French-style wines at Cassegrain or pick delicious fresh produce at Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries.
Getting there and where to stay
Port Macquarie is on the NSW mid North Coast, four hours’ drive north of Sydney and six hours' south of Brisbane. Interstate trains stop at nearby Kendall and Wauchope stations. There are also daily flights into Port Macquarie Airport, just outside of the city.
You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in Port Macquarie with something to all budgets. Choose from holiday parks, campgrounds, backpacker hostels, hotels, beach houses, waterfront apartments and quiet country retreats.