The gateway to the New South Wales Holiday Coast is Port Macquarie, home to some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches and some of the best waterways on the continent. This smart resort is also blessed with plenty to do and see, from art galleries to nature reserves, wineries to golf courses.
Port Macquarie also offers an excellent range of holiday rentals to suit all budgets and with its other attractions – including a terrific climate – it’s hard to beat as a New South Wales destination.
Port Macquarie is around 240 miles north of Sydney and sits at the mouth of the Hastings River. The town can date its history back to the early 19th century when it was established as a penal settlement before becoming the first place in Australia to be planted with sugar cane. The area thrived as new settlers arrived to take advantage of its fine natural resources, including timber and fishing.
Today Port Macquarie counts itself as one of the premier resorts on the NSW Holiday Coast, thanks to its nine beaches, its excellent bar, restaurant and shopping facilities, and its expansive range of holiday accommodation, including pet-friendly and family-friendly options.
The beaches all offer different days out. Some, such as Rocky Beach, are not swimmer or sunbather friendly, while others – including Town and Oxley are sheltered and excellent for family days out. The most popular beach is Flynn’s, which has excellent surfing conditions, barbecue facilities and a surf club patrol for safety.
Water sports in Port Macquarie are not confined to the beaches. The Hastings River, on which the town sits, offers diving, deep sea and game fishing, windsurfing, parasailing, river cruising and jet skiing, so adventure seekers won’t have far to look for their kind of fun.
For more gentle fun, don’t miss a visit to the town’s Koala Hospital where these endearing little creatures are treated. Free tours where visitors can feed the koalas take place daily.
While there’s nothing criminal about Port Macquarie today, the town’s colourful history is certainly worth exploring. Walking tours take holidaymakers round the most interesting monuments while Port Macquarie Historical Museum is well worth a visit. A few miles from the town is Wauchope where a historical theme park known as Timbertown tells the story of the area’s logging industry past.
Australia’s outstanding natural flora and fauna can been in the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre in Port Macquarie. A rare example of a coastal subtropical rainforest, Sea Acres allows visitors a different view of this natural habitat from an elevated boardwalk. Wilson’s River Primitive Reserve, near Wauchope, is one of the best forests to explore in the area, too, with three different walks for tourists.
For Australian culture of a different kind, travellers pitching up in Port Macquarie during December should head for the Festival of the Sun music event that takes place every year on Town Beach. The festival is considered one of the best for showcasing new talent alongside more established names.
This region is renowned for its wineries and several offer open cellar doors for those keen to taste and test the latest from the grape. Tours can be arranged when visitors are booking their Port Macquarie holiday accommodation.
The climate of Port Macquarie is a humid subtropical one and the town enjoys marvellous sunny weather, particularly during the summer months from January to March. Average daily temperatures then are between 20-30°C. The temperatures rarely drop below 10°C even in winter, making this a super all-year-round destination. Port Macquarie’s excellent climate means it is a popular retirement spot as well as offering super holiday rentals for those keen to spend some time on its great beaches.
UK travellers heading for New South Wales will fly into Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport – there are direct flights from London’s Heathrow Airport with some of the biggest airlines, including BA, Qantas and Virgin. Port Macquarie is some 240 miles north of Sydney and with excellent road links, car rental is one of the best ways to reach your holiday accommodation. Connecting flights from Sydney go to the town’s airport, while train services run to nearby Wauchope and there are regular bus services for those on a tighter budget.