10 Things To Do in Port Macquarie

Posted by Noleen Arendse on

Planning a trip to New South Wales? Your itinerary should include a stop at the historic and beautiful Port Macquarie, or as it’s known around the North Coast, “Port.” 

This coastal town is brimming with fresh seafood, hip art galleries, and thoughtfully designed museums. It is part beach escape and part history weekend … part foodie paradise and part adventure hub. Port Macquarie retains a unique charm that isn’t replicated elsewhere in Australia. 

If you’re looking for some of the best things to do in Port Macquarie and the Hastings district, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are our top ten activities in Port Macquarie, presented with some tips for getting the most out of your trip. 

Best Things To Do in Port Macquarie, NSW 

Try the Legendary Seafood  

The North Cost of New South Wales boasts some of the finest seafood in the entire country. Port Macquarie has developed a reputation for fine seafood over the last few decades. 

Fresh-shucked oysters, tuna steaks, and many fresh-caught delicacies, enjoyed while gazing out over the tranquil mouth of the Hastings River.  And yes, they still do fish & chips … some of the finest that you’ll ever wrap your mouth around!

Foodie Tip: The Fat Fish is our pick for the best dinner menu. Try their Cajun Herb Fish Cakes! 

Catch a Show at the Port Macquarie Glasshouse

NSW certainly has its fair share of impressive architecture, and Port Macquarie is no exception. The Glasshouse, a modern glass structure,  is a multi-purpose center with several theaters, an art gallery, and the tourist information center. 

The theaters at the Glasshouse are always busy, so there’s a good chance that you can catch a show while you are in town. You can see what’s on by visiting Glasshouse Port Macquarie.

Pro Tip: The Botanic Wine Garden is not far from the Glasshouse, and it’s as awesome as it sounds. 

Visit One of Port Macquarie Museums (Or All of Them)

The town Port Macquarie has a very interesting history, as do their towns that began as other penal colony settlements in the 19th century. The small, local museums are the best place to learn what makes Port Macquarie’s history a unique story.

The Port Macquarie Museum is the largest and best funded museum in the area. This is where to go to get a comprehensive educational experience focused on the history of Port Macquarie and the North Coast area. 

The Roto House, built in 1890, seems like a time machine taking you back to the late 19th century. Cross the picket fence and you suddenly find yourself in the world of historical figure, John Flynn. It’s a delightful experience for kids and adults alike. 

The Mid North Coast Maritime Museum is a niche museum that tells the story of the late 19th century shipping industry in Australia. Anyone with a curiosity about nautical history will find this place fascinating. 

Support the Koala Hospital

The Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie cares for sick and  injured koalas as they recover. Every year, the Koala Hospital saves hundreds of koalas; the passion and dedication  of the caregiver’s is heartwarming.

Visitors can enjoy a free tour, where they will be able to feed a koala and learn what can be done to help this struggling species stay strong in the face of habitat loss, wildfires, and the many other dangers they face.

Pro Tip: The Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie receives no government funding. It relies on donations from the public; consider making a contribution. 

Explore Burrawan State Forest and See “Old Bottlebutt”

Located on Bogo Road on the way to Wauchope, Burrawan State Forest is where people come to see “Old Bottlebutt”, the most massive redwood in the entire southern hemisphere. This 200-year-old giant is most certainly worth checking out. 

The Old Bottlebutt Walking Track is a lovely, easy-to-walk, 600 meter  loop that winds through the forest and over bubbling creeks. Educational signage along the way provides interesting historical information.

After checking out the tree, enjoy refreshments at the picnic area before continuing on with your adventure. 

WATCH: Old Bottlebutt [YouTube]

Complete the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk  

The long golden coasts of Port Macquarie are an excellent place to get some fresh air and exercise. Try the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk, a 9 km walk through Sea Acres National Park. You will pass by noted historic sites and take in stunning scenery as you meander through this thriving rainforest. 

The whole walk takes between 3 and 5 hours. Rest or take a dip in the water along the way. Just don’t forget closed shoes for hiking,  flip-flips for resting, and a few litres of fresh water.

Whale Watching Tip: The Port Macquarie Coastal Walk is a particularly memorable experience in May through November. This is the annual whale migration season, and you’ll see dozens, if not hundreds of whales at a time. 

Navigate the Largest Hedge Maze in New South Wales (& Celebrate with Wine) 

Right next to Wauchope, not far from Port Macquarie,  you might be surprised to find a well-manicured hedge maze! Most people take about  20 minutes to find their way through the maze.

Emergency exits are strategically placed if you get frustrated.  But not to worry — Bago Wines is right there to offer you a glass of  one of their Chardonnay or Chambourcin wines! 

Wine Tip: The Norton Red is one of their more acclaimed labels. They sell out quickly, so pick up a bottle or two while you can!

Take That Camel Safari That You’re Always Talking About 

Lighthouse Beach in Port Macquarie can best be seen by cruising it on the back of a camel! These Australian camels and their experienced “Cameleers” will take you on a ride you will always remember!

You can’t leave Port Macquarie until you get a picture of yourself atop a camel. Your grandmother would love it!

Booking Tip: Port Macquarie Camels does not take bookings or reservations; simply head on down to Lighthouse Beach and you’ll see them. They’ll get you on the next available ride, weather permitting. 

Get Some Culture at an Evening Art Festival 

Port Macquarie calls it ArtWalk. This event features local artists, crafters, food vendors, and musicians who converge to create the longest footpath art gallery you have ever seen!

At the same time, a number of smaller satellite events are held around town — everything from concerts to food pairings!  

Scheduling Tip: ArtWalk is usually held in October, but it changes a bit every year. You can stay up to date by visiting the Port Macquarie Hastings Council Website.

Get Hooked on “Hydro Golf”

One very popular attraction in Port Macquarie is Hydro Golf & Putt-Putt. This beautiful facility is home to a driving range built on the water, where golfers of all ages can aim for floating targets. Some of these targets offer prizes and cash jackpots to the person who lands a ball on one of them!

Kids and adults alike can enjoy the more traditional 27-hole Putt-Putt course with its imaginative, super creative holes.

Dinner Tip: If your family or group has worked up an appetite after a rousing afternoon of putt-putt, check out Riverside Fusion Bistro, right next door. It’s a Chinese restaurant with an excellent buffet that can feed a lot of people fast! 

Conclusion: The Best Things to do in Port Macquarie, NSW

The northern coast of New South Wales can compete with any place in the country when it comes to weekend getaways or luxury escapes.

There are plenty of things to do in Port Macquarie. Stroll the beaches, enjoy a wonderful seafood dinner, hike the beautiful rolling hills. A trip to “Port” offers everything a beach destination should for much less. Whether you are looking to escape Melbourne or Sydney for the weekend, or you’re experiencing Australia for the first time, Port Macquarie makes for a great addition to the itinerary. 


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