Port Macquarie

With its idyllic climate, beautiful beaches, laid-back vibe and a sophisticated dining scene, Port Macquarie has become a favoured destination on the NSW mid-North Coast. Sitting at the mouth of the Hastings River, it’s a natural paradise where dolphins frolic, whales linger during their migration and koalas doze in the branches overhead. 



Koala capital

If you want to meet Australia’s cuddliest critters, you’ve come to the right place. Port Macquarie has the highest koala population on the east coast of Australia and is home to the famous Koala Hospital, which treats and rehabilitates hundreds of sick and injured koalas every year. Book online to join a guided tour of the facility, with 45-minute sessions held throughout the day – all profits go back into helping iconic Aussie wildlife. At the Billabong Zoo: Koala and Wildlife Park you can meet more koalas and take a deep dive into the sanctuary’s world-renowned breeding program. You’ll also meet monster saltwater crocodiles, kangaroos, echidnas… and so much more. 

Koala sitting in a gum tree at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie

Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie

More wildlife awaits when you follow the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail, linking more than 80 painted fibreglass koalas around the area. Each is designed by a talented artist and comes with a distinct personality.  

If you want to spot a koala in the wild, take the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk into the Sea Acres National Park and follow the 1.3km rainforest boardwalk. Be sure to look up! Or, explore the forests Queens Lake Nature Reserve at North Haven.  

Nature writ large 

Meanwhile, marine mammals love the region almost as much as its human visitors. Whales swing by on their annual migration, with optimum viewing time between May and November; great vantage points are along the Perpendicular Point Walking Track and Diamond Head Loop Walk in Crowdy Bay National Park. Meanwhile, dolphins are often spotted in the Hastings River along the Port Macquarie Breakwall or accompanying tourist boats on dolphin watch cruises. More nature awaits in the surrounding hinterland.

Coastal walking track at Perpendicular Point in the Kattang Nature Reserve, Camden Head

Perpendicular Point, Camden Head

Beach time

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. Whether for family fun in the sun, surfing, 4WDing or learning to surf, it’s easy to find an uncrowded stretch of sand to lay your towel out. 

With world-class breaks and consistent swell, the beaches are also a surfer’s delight, with popular spots including the Breakwall at Town Beach, Grants Beach in North Haven, Flynns Beach and Shelly Beach.  

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

Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Learn to surf at accredited schools such as Soul Surfing and Port Macquarie Surf School; or 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. 

Aerial view of Tacking Point at Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie

Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie

Heritage & culture 

Established as a penal settlement in 1821, Port Macquarie’s history and heritage is celebrated on the Port Macquarie Hastings Heritage Walk, with two guided tours giving insight into the town’s colourful past. You can also visit Port Macquarie Museum to glimpse artefacts from the city’s heyday, or go back millennia on a guided Aboriginal bushtucker tour at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre,  where a 1.3km boardwalk winds through a rare littoral rainforest where birds flit through the canopy and goannas and diamond pythons stalk the forest floor. 

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Port Macquarie’s regional gallery and performance space, The Glasshouse – you can also catch a show here, whether a live performance or a vibrant exhibition. Then get to know the town through various festivals, arts and sporting events that feature on the annual calendar. 

Couple enjoying a visit to the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, Port Macquarie

Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, Port Macquarie 

Family fun 

From cruises to spot dolphins and whales in the wild to kayak tours and surf schools, there are plenty of activities and attractions in Port Macquarie to keep the whole family busy. Stroll up the riverfront to Town Beach along the Breakwall, admiring rocks painted in a rainbow of colours with tributes and messages by locals and visitors.  Head to Ricardoes to pick buckets of fresh strawberries or tomatoes; ride a camel on Lighthouse Beach; or solve puzzles and mysteries as you tackle the town’s only escape room, Façade

Young boy learns how to surf at Port Macquarie Surf School at Flynn's Beach, Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie Surf School at Flynn's Beach, Port Macquarie

Wining & dining 

Hungry? Get set to indulge. Port Macquarie is a foodie paradise, with fantastic restaurants, cafes and wineries both in town and the hinterland. From award-winning restaurants such as The Stunned Mullet and twotriplefour by Bills – sister property to the fish restaurant Bills Fishhouse + Bar – to quirky waterfront cafes such as Little Shack and family favourites like Burger Rebellion, there’s something for every palette and budget in Port Macquarie. Drop in on Whalebone Wharf for ocean-fresh seafood with a view.  

Seared Scallops at The Stunned Mullet Restaurant and Bar

The Stunned Mullet, Port Macquarie

At Cassegrain Wines, you can enjoy a tasting at the cellar door and then sit down to a paddock-to-plate menu in the dining room, Deux Garden Restaurant. And then there’s Port Macquarie Distillery, where you can indulge in a tipple or two of locally crafted gin.  

Cassegrain Wines, Port Macquarie

Cassegrain Wines, Port Macquarie

Getting there & where to stay

You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in Port Macquarie, with something to suit all budgets. Choose from holiday parks, campgrounds, backpacker hostels, hotels, beach houses, waterfront apartments and quiet country retreats. 

Aerial view of Point Plomer campground in Limeburners Creek National Park, Port Macquarie

 Point Plomer campground in Limeburners Creek National Park, Port Macquarie - Credit: John Spencer/OEH

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 with Qantas and Rex into Port Macquarie Airport, just outside of the city. QantasLink operates direct flights from both Sydney and Brisbane to Port Macquarie, and Rex operates direct flights from Sydney. Fly Pelican flies direct between Canberra and Port Macquarie twice a week. 

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