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Summer Road Trips From Sydney: Port Macquarie

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by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun! Find me on instagram: @australianrecipesbythebay
Published September 26th 2019
A four hour drive north to paradise
Port Macquarie is located on the Mid-North Coast of NSW - a 4 hour drive north of Sydney and a 6 hour drive south of Brisbane. It is a scenic, beachside region to visit as a holiday destination in itself, or as a handy stop-off on a road trip up and down the coastline. The weather is sub-tropical, so it doesn't matter what time of year you visit, you will (usually!) be welcomed with sunny days and bright skies.

On a personal note, my family and I lived in Port Macquarie for a number of years before moving south, however, we still love to go back for holidays to see how much it has changed over the years - and how it has changed! With more people moving there to live, or going there on holidays, there are plenty of reasons to visit Port Macquarie. Here are just five...

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Get up early to enjoy the sunrise at Town Beach

1/ The Sunrise is always spectacular each morning, so ensure you get up early and enjoy the first rays of the day. If you like to go for an early morning walk, a popular route to take is along the Breakwall between Town Green and Town Beach, at the mouth of the Hastings River. The path continues further each way, so you can also make your walk as long or as short as you like. Ensure you look out for dolphins and turtles as you walk along the Breakwall and also read the messages painted on the rocks. Perhaps you would like to add your own? Then when you come back next time, you can see if it still there. Yes, there will be a next time!

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Start your walk at the Town Green and walk along the Hastings River to the Breakwall

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Walk along the Breakwall and read the messages painted on the rocks. If you have kids, they will enjoy scootering along the path and playing at the skate park at the end of the wall

2/ The Beaches are another big reason to visit this tourist town, with long, safe beaches and plenty of room to lay down the towels. The most popular beaches are Town Beach closest to the town centre, as well as Flynn's Beach and Lighthouse Beach further south. All of them have flags and lifeguards in the summer months.

Flynn's Beach is known for its iconic, volcanic rocks that protrude from out of the sand at either end of the beach. Lighthouse Beach is 9 kilometres long and has camel rides along its length. Although these are the most popular, there are also smaller beaches and coves to visit - where you may have it all to yourselves!

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Go for a swim at the scenic Flynn's Beach

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Or find your own secluded beach to walk along. (Photo taken at Shelly Beach, near Sea Acres Rainforest Centre)

3/ Cruise Boats depart from a small wharf at the end of Clarence Street, with a number of cruise companies to help you get out on the water and make the most of this unique location. Cruise the calm waters of the Hastings River and spot dolphins coming in to feed, or head out into the open sea on a jet boat that spins 360 degrees! There are also whale watching boats that take you out to watch the whale migration, between May to November. Companies to choose from include Port Jet Cruise Adventures, Cruise Port Macquarie and Port Macquarie Fishing Charters.

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Walk along the wharf and book a tour

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Go whale watching with Port Jet Cruise Adventures from May to November. Image: Port Jet Cruise Adventures Facebook (photo credit: Jodie Lowes Marine Animal Photography)

4/ Restaurants and Cafes are another good reason to visit Port Macquarie, with award-winning venues to try out and spectacular restaurants on the water. For a fine dining experience to remember, check out the Stunned Mullet and for seafood, take a drive up the river to Whalebone Wharf Seafood Restaurant. For healthy breakfast with a view try the Salty Crew Kiosk on Town Beach, for family pizza check out The Town Green Inn, for dinner and cocktails go to the Beach House and for club dining, try the Port City Bowling Club or Westport Club.

Alternatively, just take a walk up Clarence Street or through the Port Macquarie Town Centre and discover a new local favourite. For more ideas, see the article Where are the Best Cafes with Water Views in Port Macquarie? You can't go wrong with any of them!

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A table for two awaits at Whalebone. Image: Whalebone Seafood Restaurant Facebook

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Also try the popular Rivermark Cafe, located right on the water next to Whalebone

5/ Family Fun has always been a highlight of visiting Port Macquarie, with many adults who grew up in Sydney remembering childhood holidays to the seaside town. Today's children will remember their visit to Timbertown, which is a historical family attraction in Wauchope, a short drive inland. The park has been upgraded over the years, with a steam train ride, shows and interactive activities to take part in. Billabong Zoo is also a highlight for families, as well as Ricardo's Tomatoes and Strawberries - where kids can pick their own strawberries. For more ideas on what to do, see the article Top 10 Things For Families to do in Port Macquarie.

This is just a small sample of all the things there are to do in Port Macquarie. If you have an extended stay, why not follow the Hello Koala Trail, watch a show at The Glasshouse, visit a local winery or simply do none of these and take a book to the beach! Either way - a summer road trip to Port Macquarie is a "must" on any Sydney-siders list of things to do.

Why don't you hit the road this weekend?

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How many koalas will you find in Port Macquarie?

* For another road trip idea, also see the article Summer Road Trips From Sydney: Nelson Bay, Port Stephens.
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Why? Explore the NSW coastline!
When: Visit all year around
Where: Port Macquarie, NSW
Cost: See websites for details
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