On the banks of the Hasting River, the hinterland town of Wauchope on may be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to rural charm – it’s also a great base for exploring immense national parks and state forests that surround. 



History in the making 

Just 20 minutes from Port Macquarie, Wauchope made its riches in the 19th century, when the timber trade took off. Sitting among towering blackbutts and tallowwoods on the edge of the town is Timbertown, a theme park celebrating this history and development of the town over the years – there’s also a campground onsite, if you can’t bear to leave. Then ride a genuine steam train, take a carriage ride from the stables, watch the action at the Steam Sawmill or try your hand at gold panning. 

Steam train at Timbertown Heritage Theme Park, Wauchope

Timbertown Heritage Theme Park, Wauchope - Credit: Timbertown Heritage Theme Park

The town has come a long way since its yee-haw roots, however, with its streets now lined with boutique fashion outlets, stylish homeware stores and cool cafes, all while retaining its laid-back charm. 

Aerial view of the townscape of Wauchope in Port Macquarie Area, North Coast

Townscapes, Wauchope

Hit the road

Wauchope promotes itself as ‘motorcycle-friendly’, encouraging bikers (and road-trip enthusiasts) to stop by and rest in its cafes and club before taking the iconic 300-bend ride along the Oxley Highway toward Walcha through the Cottan-Bimbang National Park. Motoring enthusiasts can also enjoy the windy country road to Byabarra and Comboyne to discover majestic escarpments, panoramic views, forests, as well as dairy and fruit farms. 

To celebrate its connection with the motorcycle community, Wauchope Motofest is held every September; the monthly Wauchope Farmers' Market is also worth a look. 

Motorcycle Riding in Wauchope, Port Macquarie, North Coast

Motorcycle riding, Wauchope

Back to nature 

Lace up your walking shoes to marvel at Old Bottlebutt, a 200-year-old bloodwood tree with a 16m girth, located in the Burrawan State Forest along beautiful Bago Road. And if you like chasing waterfalls, you’ve come to the right place – drop in on plummeting Ellenborough Falls and Rawson Falls in the Boorganna Nature Reserve, among many others.  

Take in the scenery from the Wilson River picnic area through to temperate rainforest on the Waterfall Walk in Willi Willi National Park

Couple enjoying a walk through Burrawan State Forest at Herons Creek in Port Macquarie, North Coast

Burrawan State Forest, Herons Creek

A-mazing fun

At Bago Maze and Wine, the kids can get lost in one of the world’s largest hedge mazes while the adults enjoy a wine tasting and cheese platter at the cellar door. The maze’s design is so incredible that it wins design awards around the world.  

Design of a different kind is on display in the town’s Oxley Lane, where the Walls of Wauchope project has seen artists decorate walls with eye-popping murals.  

Getting there & where to stay

Wauchope is about four hours’ drive north of Sydney, 6.5 hours south of Brisbane and just 20 minutes from Port Macquarie. Trains stop at Wauchope Station and the journey from Sydney takes just under seven hours, or you can fly into Port Macquarie Airport and hire a car to explore the region. 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. Accommodation options include motels and campgrounds. 

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