Port Macquarie New South Wales isn't a hidden gem by any means. Oh, it's a gem alright, just not hidden. Saying it's an attractive place for caravanners isn't exactly accurate, there are all sorts of visitors to Port Macquarie, and not limited to a traveller type. Due to the immense variation of activities and sights, this place is packed with tourists during the summer months.
If you're planning a Port Macquarie caravanning adventure, make sure you're booking ahead of time, and considering what you might focus on. Weather is mild all year long, so choosing a time to visit shouldn't be an issue. However, if you're looking to make the most of the beaches within Port Macquarie (which you should), then maybe summer is the ideal time.
Port Macquarie is approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane, the perfect holiday escape from either of the main cities. Or if you're travelling from Melbourne, it's about a 12-hour drive up the Hume and onward.
While the place is a coastal township with beaches a plenty, there are more than just water activities available in this tourist hub. Since we're already referencing the ocean, there are some great spots to swim and frolic.
Follow Stewart Street
As the name suggests, Town Beach is nestled within the main centre of Port Macquarie. Due to the walking distance from town, this beach is extremely popular with locals and tourists. If you're heading down to the beach, you'll most likely find some casual paddleboarders and families galore. You'd describe this beach as leisurely, laid back, peaceful – and perfect for an afternoon stroll. It's not a wave beach as such and you won't find any dedicated surfing activities afoot.
Matthew Flinders Dr, Port Macquarie NSW
In stark contrast to the humble Town Beach, Lighthouse Beach is more active and populated. Approximately a 12-minute drive south and you'll happen upon this stunning beachscape. Bright turquoise ocean views, crashing waves, and a rocky surrounding landscape, this is the best of the coast.
Climb up the rocky hills, either by car, or walking, and you'll find a subtle lighthouse at the very top. Tacking Point Lighthouse is a popular spot for whale and dolphin watching, a mesmerising addition to visiting Lighthouse Beach.
When you're about to embark on your Port Macquarie caravanning adventure don't worry too much about how you're going to fill your itinerary, as you're bound to find the obvious attractions without a guide. However, if you want to know about every option available, make sure you consider these elements and undertake further research at your own discretion.
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One of the popular offshore activities in Port Macquarie are the various fishing charters. If you're someone who enjoys catching a fishing session everywhere you travel, getting on board a fishing charter will satisfy your cravings. Not everyone will enjoy fishing, but those who do should definitely take this opportunity. Sometimes the best thing you can do is enjoy the calm elusive waters and let your fishing adrenaline take hold.
Lord Street and Roto Place, Port Macquarie
Koalas, the cutest little creatures we did ever see. Visiting Port Macquarie will keep you thoroughly entertained with all the social activity, walking trails, beaches, and highly regarded restaurants, but what about a dose of animal connection? At the highly renowned Koala Hospital, you get a snapshot of a whole different life, one that involves volunteers joining to save some Australian beauties.
Run by the Koala Preservation Society of Australia Incorporated, this hospital rehabilitates Koalas, who are in a dire health condition. Koalas live in this man-made facility until they're healthy enough to rejoin friends in their natural habitat. It's truly heart wrenching, and deeply satisfying, to see these dedicated volunteers at work. Not your typical holiday excursion, but merely unforgettable, and unmissable.
Tours: 3 pm daily (in line with the Koala's feeding time)
You can adopt a Koala from the Koala Hospital, in which your money goes towards rescue and treatment of sick Koalas.
Lake Innes Ruins
History of Port Macquarie is fascinating, dating back to origins as a penal settlement in 1821, as the area was considered a difficult place to escape. Once free settlers started arriving in the 1830's, the penal settlement closed.
Which provides context to the heritage leftovers of Lake Innes Ruins, the old residence of colonial entrepreneur Major Archibald Clunes Innes.
‘During the 1830s and 1840s, Major Innes acquired substantial land holdings and businesses throughout the Hastings and New England areas.'
You either love old buildings, or you don't, but this historical artefact is a little bewildering. History is always an escape, which is exactly the objective of the caravanning community.
To book tours of Lake Innes Ruins contact Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centre – 1300 303 155 (within Australia only) or +61 02 6581 8000.
Wednesday tours available.
Places To Eat
Due to the wild popularity of Port Macquarie, there are endless eateries in the area. Whether you're looking for a hearty fish and chips on the beach, or something a little more upmarket, Port Macquarie serves up a vast menu of goodness. Finding a delectable coffee is simple, as this tourist abode is populated with many cafes.
The Rainforest Cafe
Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie
Have you ever wanted to eat in luxury directly amongst nature? Well, without going off into the secluded woodlands, you can eat restaurant meals at The Rainforest Cafe. You'll be sitting within a restaurant located directly in Sea Acres Rainforest Centre – with windows filled with a rainforest backdrop. You're more than just enjoying a meal out when you dine at this unique eatery.
- ✓ Eggs
- ✓ Gourmet Sandwiches
- ✓ Steaks
- ✓ Pasta
- ✓ French Chef Jean-Louis Tostivint
11 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie
Breakfast, lunch, or tea – The Corner Resturant boasts the freshest produce and modern cuisines. Appearance isn't everything, but this restaurant is buzzing with life and dishes up masterpieces. You can enjoy a meal inside or head to the beautifully set-up alfresco dining area. During summer and mild weather, the alfresco dining is the way to go.
- ✓ Pancakes
- ✓ Fritters
- ✓ Duck
- ✓ Prawns
- ✓ Salads
- ✓ Vegetarian options
Cnr Clarence & Murray Street, Port Macquarie
When you're Port Macquarie caravanning you'll need a local coffee bar as your regular stop, even just for a snack. Casualties Expresso is one of the many cafes in the area, and it's taken up the position of an old ambulance station, an interesting structural point of interest for those looking for their next coffee. Casualties carries its own personality, why not see if you're compatible?
- ✓ Coffees
- ✓ Cold Drinks
- ✓ Snacks & Light Meals
For latest updates on Casualties Expresso Bar – check out their Facebook page!
124 Horton Street, Port Macquarie
Are you a bit adventurous with your food? Someone who hangs on every episode of every Aussie cooking show? Well, have we got the restaurant for your tricky tastebuds. If you're not scared to have various flavour combinations fused into a meal, then strongly consider this dining experience. You know this restaurant is little obscure when it has a personalised Glossary of terminology to assist diners.
Not everyone will be suited to the menu, but don't be scared, you're a fearless caravanner right?
Places To Stay:
Lighthouse Beach Holiday Village
140 Matthew Flinders Dr, Port Macquarie NSW
Located further south of central Port Macquarie is the Lighthouse Beach Holiday Village. You can enjoy the beach bliss of Port Macquarie from this location and stay out of the of the main bustle of the town.
- ✓ Powered Sites
- ✓ Unpowered Sites
- ✓ BBQ Area
- ✓ Play Area
- ✓ 100 Metres from the Beach
1 Munster St, Port Macquarie NSW
Located in the heart of Port Macquarie is the Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park. You'll find it's close to many restaurants and activities, perfect for those looking for the ultimate convenience.
- ✓ Powered Sites
- ✓ Unpowered Sites
- ✓ Pet-Friendly Powered Sites
- ✓ 2 minute walk to the Town Green
- ✓ 7 minute walk to Port Central Shopping Centre
2 Ocean St, Port Macquarie NSW 2444
If you're looking for the convenience of being close to the main centre of Port Macquarie, but don't necessarily want to feel like you're in the middle of everything, Flynn's Beach Caravan Park brings together the best of two worlds. You'll feel like you're in bush habitat but merely only 3.5km walk from Port Macquarie central.
- ✓ Powered Sites
- ✓ Unpowered Sites
- ✓ Free Wifi
- ✓ Camp Kitchen