Greater Port Macquarie
Traditionally regarded as a convenient stopover between Sydney and Brisbane, the Port Macquarie region is now a stunning destination in its own right, luring retirees, families, couples and those looking for a nature-based holiday with serious gourmet credibility. Blessed with sparkling beaches lined with pockets of rainforest, the area is also a significant habitat for koalas, with the world-famous Koala Hospital caring for the lovable endangered creatures.
Towns & villages
Port Macquarie is the largest town in the region and bursting with restaurants, beaches, fun attractions and accommodation. To the south, the villages of North Haven, Laurieton and Kendall sit along the banks of the Camden Haven River. Further inland, Wauchope is a former timber town that’s now the gateway to lush rainforests.
A getaway in the Port Macquarie area means getting outside and enjoying the bounty of nature. From spotting dolphins from the painted breakwall on the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk, to whale watching cruises or strolling the boardwalk of the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, the unspoiled beauty of the region will dazzle. Further inland, hike the Laurieton track or visit World Heritage-listed Willi Willi National Park.
Families are well-catered for in the region: meet native furry friends at Billabong Zoo, or head to Ricardoes to pick your own strawberries. The Port Macquarie region is also one of the best spots in NSW to take to the water: try a surfing lesson, snorkel in a protected bay, and hire a stand-up paddle board, kayak or boat.
With a reputation for fresh, local produce, the Port Macquarie region is increasingly a lure for food and wine lovers. The town of Port Macquarie is jam-packed with cool cafes, restaurants and bars, from the cute tiki-style Little Shack cafe to the chef’s hatted The Stunned Mullet; while you can purchase fresh oysters directly from growers in Laurieton and North Haven.
There are also several vineyards where you can taste at the cellar door or relax in on-site restaurants, including Cassegrain Wines and its highly-regarded restaurant.
Getting there & where to stay
The Port Macquarie region is on the NSW mid North Coast, four hours’ drive north of Sydney and six hours' south of Brisbane. Trains stop daily at Kendall and Wauchope, and the journey from Sydney takes around seven hours. You can also fly into Port Macquarie Airport and hire a car to explore the region. Accommodation in Greater Port Macquarie suits various budgets and ranges from camping and holiday parks to high-end seaside resorts.