Things to do in Port Macquarie
Ideally situated at the mouth of the Hastings River and the blue Pacific Ocean, Port Macquarie is a popular mecca for water lovers with surfing, swimming, fishing, river cruises and whale and dolphin watching. There are kilometres of beautiful surf beaches, sheltered coves, magnificent farming country and lush hinterland. The world's largest urban population of koalas can also be found around the area.
Port Macquarie boasts lots of fun activities for the whole family with great shopping and fantastic restaurants. It has a rich artist community and is also one of the oldest towns in NSW dating from 1821 with historic buildings and fascinating museums.
Where is it and how do you get there?
Port Macquarie is located midway between Sydney and Brisbane on the North Coast of NSW, approximately 420 kilometres from Sydney and 510 kilometres from Brisbane.
The Grafton XPT runs daily from Sydney and stops at Wauchope with a connecting coach to Port Macquarie.
To check times, use the booking form on the left.
Discovering the sights of Port Macquarie is straightforward with a local bus service, taxi services, car hire companies and coach tour operators.
What to do and see
With its abundance of stunning beaches, Port Macquarie is a sun lovers’ and surfers’ paradise. The popular Town Beach is right in front of the city centre; Oxley Beach and Rocky Beach to the south are known for great surfing conditions; Flynn's Beach has good protection from westerly and southerly winds and Nobby Head is perfect for swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling.
For a relaxing time on the water, join a lunch cruise on the picturesque Hastings River and from May to November, take a whale watching boat trip to see migrating Humpback whales and playful dolphins.
Cuddle a koala at the Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park, only 12 kilometres from town, and home to other native animals including wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, monkeys, quolls, crocodiles, lizards, snakes and lots of colourful birds.
Visit recovering koalas at the Koala Hospital located in the grounds of the Macquarie Nature Reserve where visitors are welcome anytime during the day but can join a ‘Feed, Walk and Talk’ tour in the afternoon. During the guided tour a volunteer discusses why each koala patient has been admitted to the hospital and their course of treatment.
Just 30 minutes from the coast of Port Macquarie is a rolling hinterland with stunning natural attractions, National Parks and welcoming villages. Wander through the rainforest canopy at Sea Acres Nature Reserve and experience the elevated 1.3km rainforest boardwalk at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre which is wheelchair accessible, pram and stroller friendly. Fish along Limeburners Nature Reserve and explore the wilderness in Werrikimbe National Park, a World Heritage listed site.
Explore the Kattang Nature Reserve and the magnificent Perpendicular Point with its amazing vertical cliffs dropping 40 metres to the sea below. Keep a look out for koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, platypus, reptiles, more than 340 species of birds, and as you stroll along the coast, playful dolphins.
Step back in time with a visit to Timbertown Wauchope, an entire village re-created to demonstrate life in the 1880’s. Set amongst 87 acres of natural forest, Timbertown has a steam train, horse drawn carriage rides, whip cracking, blacksmiths and farm yard animals including Clydesdale horses.
As the Port Macquarie area was one of Australia’s first settlements outside of Sydney, it features a number of historic buildings and sites that date back to colonial and convict days. Meander along the sign-posted heritage walking trail to see 13 of the town's most fascinating historic and archaeological sites. Historical sites that you can view include the Port Macquarie Museum showcasing the area’s history from its beginnings as a penal colony; original 1869 courthouse designed by Colonial architect James Barnet; the Lake Innes House ruins, the remains of the house built using convict labour between 1831 and 1843; and the Douglas Vale homestead and vineyard, built in 1862, which has won prizes for its wine from shows in Europe and India.
Due to its idyllic climate and setting, Greater Port Macquarie attracts artists in all genres, and was awarded the prestigious NSW 4th City of the Arts. There are around 100 arts and cultural groups in the area offering a wide range of regular performances, exhibitions and activities. Don’t miss the funky Glasshouse building that houses the regional art gallery, museum and two theatres. Exhibitions at the Port Macquarie Hastings Regional Art Gallery cover the visual arts, craft and design, including historical and contemporary themes and subjects.