I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published July 28th 2020
Connect With Port Macquarie's Rich Natural Heritage
Boasting a swathe of verdant coastal rainforest, breathtaking ocean views, and secluded, sandy coves, Sea Acres National Park is the perfect destination for nature-lovers of all ages. The park is situated just six kilometres south of Port Macquarie - an easy drive from the city, although many visitors also choose to walk or cycle there from the nearby hotels and other guest accommodation. The early morning is an especially magical time to arrive, and watching the sun rise over Shelley Beach on a warm summer morning is truly unforgettable.
If early mornings aren't your thing, another great spot to begin your national park adventure is the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, located just off Pacific Drive. This impressive interpretative centre introduces guests to the area's unique natural heritage through a range of photos, displays and artefacts. It also houses gallery space, shop, theatrette and cafe.
However, the centre's most popular family attraction is the Sea Acres Rainforest Boardwalk, which meanders for over a kilometre through the canopy of the surrounding forest. As well as gaining a rare glimpse into the fragile ecosystems of the rainforest, visitors may also be fortunate to spot some of the animals, reptiles and birds that live there such as koalas, quolls, lace monitors, and endangered fruit doves. You have the choice of taking either a guided tour, or exploring the boardwalk independently, at your own pace.
Sea Acres Rainforest Centre also highlights the culture of the Birpai people, the area's traditional custodians, in its impressive Spirit of the Land Exhibition. This permanent interactive exhibition features a range of audiovisual displays, including a film titled Welcome to Birpai Country, and traditional stories narrated through the use of sand animation. Visitors who are eager to delve deeper into the Birpai people's connection with country can also join one of the regular Sea Acres Aboriginal Bush Tucker and Discovery Tours.
Apart from the Rainforest Centre, there is still so much to see and do at Sea Acres National Park. Shelly Beach is a lovely sandy beach, which will appeal to young families, although it isn't patrolled. Its seaside park offers picnic tables, barbeques and public toilets, as well as a parking area, making it a terrific spot for an extended visit. Shelly Beach is also a great base for walkers who would like to explore the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk. This scenic trail follows the coastline, providing walkers with spectacular views over the ocean, and access to smaller beaches and coves along the way. If you're lucky, you can even spot whales and dolphins from the cliff tops.
In conclusion, whether you're a local or simply visiting Port Macquarie for a few days, Sea Acres National Park is the perfect spot to connect with nature and recharge your batteries. Although the main access point is at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre (159 Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie), you can also venture into the national park from nearby Shelly Beach, or at various points along Lighthouse Road.