Port Macquarie has long been a hotspot for backpackers with its wonderful scenery, 17 beaches and surf lifestyle, a variety of free activities and attractions – including the much- loved Koala Hospital – and it’s a halfway stop-off to Bryon Bay from Sydney.
CAMPSITES WITH WATER VIEWS
For million dollar water views on a budget, you can’t beat these camping locations:
• Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park
• Edgewater Holiday Park
• Bonny Hills Caravan Park
• Diamond Waters Caravan Park • Jacaranda Caravan Park
‘FREE’ ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
• The Koala Hospital – the world’s first hospital dedicated to the care and preservation of the koala offers free entry. Join the ‘Feed, Walk and Talk’ tour every afternoon at 3.00pm
• The Coastal Walk – pack a picnic and do the 9km Coastal Walk from the town centre to Lighthouse Beach.
• Convict Trail – an insight into Port’s convict heritage from 1821 to 1847, a six kilometre trail takes in 13 sites including the Historical Society Museum and St Thomas’ Church.
• Galleries and Art – over 600 artists, designers and creative groups offer galleries and studios to browse, public art displays, markets and craft centres.
• North Brother Mountain – head to the top for 360 degree views, accessible lookouts, and a BBQ lunch followed by a 30 minute Rainforest Loop walk.
• Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park – 3km of walking trails and boardwalks though different ecosystems just a short walk from town, ideal for bird watching with 165 different species
Other attractions with a small entry fee or cost:
• Bush-Tucker tour at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre • Golf or Indoor Bowling
• Swim, cycle and run on a Triathlon course
• Water-ski or jet-ski at Stoney Park Watersports and Recreation Centre
• Horse-riding at Bellrowan Valley, bush-walking and guided tours.
TOP THREE SCENIC DAY TRIPS:
Port Macquarie offers two very different worlds – a pretty coastline with 17 beaches and 40,000 hectares of lush green valleys and forests in the hinterland. Pick up a free ‘Glovebox Trails Guide’ and maps with suggested stop-offs from the Visitor Information Centre and head to Camden Haven in the South and Wauchope in the West
1. Hinterland Villages and Spectacular Waterfalls – a three-hour discovery drive of rolling green hills and ‘country treats’ at Byabarra, Comboyne and Ellenborough Falls.
2. Explore the Camden Haven – a half-day drive to picturesque and quiet coastal villages of Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills, majestic North Brother Mountain and Dunbogan.
3. Wauchope – The Timbertown – a half-day loop drive to the rural township of Wauchope with its heritage theme park, Bago State Forest, two local wineries and Lake Cathie.
GETTING TO PORT:
Easy turn-off halfway to Bryon Bay from Sydney Located halfway between Sydney and Byron Bay on the Mid North Coast of NSW, Port Macquarie is an ideal stopover. It is a four hour drive north of Sydney or a seven hour drive south of Brisbane. The town centre is a 15-minute turn off from the Pacific Highway, so it’s a short detour before hitting the road again.