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.