Enjoying Port Macquarie and surrounds
You don’t have to go far from The Waves to enjoy the sand and surf. Only 200 metres and you are on Flynns Beach – Port Macquarie’s most popular beach. It is patrolled by our local surf lifesavers and is perfect for surfers, families, everyone. It is overlooked by a shady grassed picnic area and a casual beach café.
Other nearby beaches include:
Town Beach, also patrolled, it attracts a lot of visitors and locals alike. It is over the road from the Observatory Resort with all its facilities so you can combine a trip to the beach with breakfast or lunch at the open air cafes.
Shelleys Beach, below Sea Acres Rainforest Reserve, is a local favourite. It isn’t patrolled and the northern end is wild and swimming is not recommended. However the southern end has a shallow rock pool area where little ones can paddle and explore. A great place for a picnic – especially if you grab the table carved to look like the caravan that Harry, a former local identity, lived in for many years. You will see the sculptural tributes to Harry acknowledging his contribution to the area.
Lighthouse Beach sits below the historic lighthouse, still in use, at Tacking Point. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the lighthouse to see the 180° view of the coast and look for dolphins and whales close to shore in migrating season. Lighthouse Beach has great surf and swimming in the patrolled section near the Tacking Point Surf Life Saving Club but is also a beautiful long stretch of beach perfect for an extended beach walk. It also has an excellent beach café attached to the surf club.
The Waves is only steps away from Port Macquarie’s unique coastal walk. It stretches 9 km from Lighthouse Beach to Settlement City, clinging to the coastal edge the whole way. Some sections have a trail along the beach, others on high cliffs overlooking the ocean and, as you get closer to town, you walk along the Hasting’s River Breakwall and through Town Green.
Flynns Beach is right in the middle of the trail so you have a choice – turn right to walk through rainforest reserve to Lighthouse Beach or turn right to head into town.
If you want to enjoy a shorter, shaded walk visit the Sea Acres Rainforest Reserve at Shelley’s Beach, right on Pacific Drive. You can enjoy a relaxed stroll along the 1.3km boardwalk which provides interpretive notes on flora, fauna and indigenous culture along the way. Like everywhere else in Port Macquarie there is an excellent café to sustain you at the end. It is open from 9am to 4.30pm daily – check for exceptions. An entry fee applies.
A short stay in Port Macquarie doesn’t allow enough time to discover all the great eating spots, whether is breakfast overlooking the surf, lunch in the sun or great dining at quality restaurants at night. There are plenty of casual and family friendly options that everyone can enjoy. You don’t have to look far for great coffee either.
The region is proud of its food and produce and you can easily buy local oysters, fresh seafood, artisan cheeses, boutique wines and locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables.
Port Macquarie has the best fish and chips on the coast – without a doubt.
Out on the Town
Port Macquarie has a thriving music/bar scene and most nights of the week you will find a venue offering live music from acoustic to laid back jazz and more. Both local talent and visiting artists perform in a number of intimate venues around town.
The Glasshouse Arts and Entertainment Centre offers a diverse program including performances by Australia’s leading companies and performers. Check out what is on while you are here. It is a beautiful theatre, worth visiting for the architecture alone, and acknowledged as Australia’s best regional performing arts centre.
A Cultural Experience
The Regional Gallery is located in The Glasshouse. It has three gallery levels showing quality exhibitions all year round.
There isn’t much standing to show off Port Macquarie’s colonial and convict past so it is worth a visit to the Historical Society Museum to find out more.
The Foreshore Markets on the banks of the Hastings River, behind the Westport Club on Williams Street, offer stalls selling fresh local produce, gourmet products and works by local artisans. It is held every SECOND Saturday of the month from 8am to 1pm.
The Hastings Farmers Market at Wauchope is a 20 minute drive from Port Macquarie. It has a great selection of fresh produce and gourmet products including Comboyne Cheese and Riccardos tomatoes. It is held every FOURTH Saturday of the month from 8am to 12noon.
A little further afield
The Greater Hastings Port Macquarie area includes some great spots to the north, south and inland.
Your stay should include a drive to Laurieton – 30 minutes south. Stop off for coffee at the the Bonnie Hills Surf Lifesaving club overlooking one of the coasts longest surf breaks. Visit the beautifully renovated Plaza Theatre to see mainstream and arthouse films in the intimate Cine Lounge. Buy excellent fish and chips, fresh prawns and oysters at the Laurieton Fishermans Co-op or hire a dinghy to explore the Camden Haven River from Dunbogan Boat Shed. Make sure you drive up to North Brother Lookout for the best view all the way back to Port Macquarie.
A round trip from Port Macquarie to Comboyne takes your through Laurieton, Kew, Kendal, Byabarra and Wauchope. Visit waterfalls, galleries, and producers of cheese, blueberries and macadamias on this scenic drive.
A bit more activity
It is easy to keep yourself active in Port Macquarie and plenty of options to keep the whole family entertained.
At the beach you can choose to join in classes run by one of the Surf Schools.
In season you must go out on a Whale Watching trip. At other times just enjoy a cruise along the Hastings River or cruise the spectacular coastline with the dolphins.
There are plenty of options for golf and tennis in town and bushwalking and horse riding in the hinterland.
For more ideas visit the Port Macquarie Tourism Information on: www.portmacquarieinfo.com.au