Wauchope perches prettily on the banks of the beautiful Hastings River in the Port Macquarie region of the NSW mid North Coast. The tiny hinterland town is big on personality, luring visitors with everything from its delightful rural charm and friendly laidback locals to its intriguing heritage and surrounding wilderness.
Wauchope is a short drive west of stunning beaches and surrounded by rolling farmland. It’s an ideal starting point for scenic drives to the UNESCO Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Take in the scenery from the Wilson River picnic area through to temperate rainforest on the Waterfall walk in Willi Willi National Park.
Wauchope is also a motorcycle-friendly town, supporting riders along the Oxley Highway between Wauchope and Walcha through Cottan-Bimbang National Park. Map out a route to the ancient red bloodwood tree Old Bottlebutt, to Rawson Falls walk and Ellenborough Falls, one of the highest single-drop falls in the Southern Hemisphere.
History and culture
Explore Timbertown, a hands-on heritage theme park that opened in 1976. Experience what it was like to live as a pioneer, ride a steam train, watch blacksmiths and timber craftsmen at work, and pan for gold at Cedar Creek, a replica goldfield.
Make a beeline for Bago Vineyards for fine wine, cheese and chocolate. The cellar door is a 15min drive southwest of Wauchope and close to Bago Bluff National Park. The vineyard is a great pit stop for families thanks to Bago Maze: tell your kids to get lost amid the 2km network of paths contained by a two-metre-high hedge.
Events in Wauchope
Wauchope has a jam-packed events calendar: cruise on steamboats at Timbertown Steam Fair in July; squish grapes in barrels at the Grape Stomping Championships in February; undertake a farm gate tour in June; and attend a music festival in August. The monthly Wauchope Farmers' Market and Wauchope Show in April are also worth a look.
Getting there and where to stay
Wauchope is about four hours’ drive north of Sydney, 6hr 30min south of Brisbane and just 20min from Port Macquarie. Interstate trains stop at Wauchope Station and there are regular flights to the nearby Port Macquarie Airport. Accommodation options include motels and campgrounds.