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With a population of over 45k, Port Macquarie in Mid-North Coast NSW not only has all the entertainment you’d expect from a city, but beautiful beaches, river activities, hiking trails and even rainforest!
I decided to spend a night there during my Sydney to Brisbane road trip, after camping in beautiful Myall Lakes National Park. It’s definitely a place I’d like to return to for a bit longer!
Read on to find out the best things to do in Port Macquarie, a fantastic holiday destination easily reached from Sydney.
Where is Port Macquarie Located?
Port Macquarie is situated in Mid-North Coast NSW, about a 4.5-hour drive north of Sydney, or a 6-hour drive south from Brisbane.
If you’re on a Sydney to Brisbane road trip, it’s a great place to stop overnight, especially if you’ve been bush camping and want to break it up with a bit of civility!
Port Macquarie Beaches
If you’re a beach lover, you’ll be spoilt for choice here. An easy walk from the shops is lovely Town Beach, popular with surfers. Slightly further south is family-friendly Flynn’s Beach, with lifeguards and shady picnic areas underneath the trees.
For a dog-friendly beach try Nobby’s Beach, just south of Flynn’s. This Port Macquarie beach guide runs through details of the many beaches in the region!
Town Green Park & Port Macquarie Breakwall
At the mouth of the Hastings River, you’ll find Town Green Park. It’s an easy walk from the city centre, and an ideal spot for a stroll or picnic.
One of my favourite features of Port Macquarie was the colourful breakwall that runs alongside the park and behind Town Beach! Each rock has been painted by locals with messages, thoughts and tributes.
It was fascinating to stroll along the waterfront, reading all the messages. It’s particularly beautiful at sunset, as you can look west across the river.
If you feel like stretching your legs, try the 9km Port Macquarie beach walk from Town Green Foreshore down to Tacking Point Lighthouse. The walk passes multiple beaches as well as lookouts, historical sites and rainforest! For less of a challenge you could always take on shorter sections.
Things to Do in Port Macquarie City
In addition to the abundance of nature here, you’ll find plenty of city entertainment to enjoy. As well as shops and cafes you can visit the Glasshouse theatre and gallery, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital or Port Macquarie cinema.
The city also has a wide range of restaurants and bars. We ate at The Beach House Bar and Restaurant, a waterfront venue with a great atmosphere and plenty of outdoor seating. Even in winter it wasn’t too cold to sit outside.
With its waterside location, Port Macquarie offers a choice of cruises both out on the ocean and along the Hastings River. You can go dolphin spotting with Cruise Port Macquarie, or even whale watching between May and November with Port Jet Cruise Adventures.
Port Macquarie Seaplanes
If you’re feeling more adventurous, try viewing the beautiful New South Wales scenery from the sky with Port Macquarie Seaplanes! You can book a scenic flight for up to three people from $149 per person.
Port Macquarie Accommodation
As it’s a major holiday destination, you can find everything from plush hotels to beachside camping in Port Macquarie. Click on the link below to search for options.
Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park
I camped at NMRA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park, which is literally on the water’s edge, with the Hastings River and Town Green Park on one side, and Town Beach on the other side.
It’s an easy stroll into town too, and you can walk to restaurants and bars at night and not worry about having to drive.
The park has powered and unpowered sites, as well as studios and cabins. There’s also a camp kitchen, TV room, children’s playground and resort-style swimming pool!
Hopefully I’ll visit Port Macquarie’s again some day! To read my whole Sydney to Brisbane road trip itinerary, complete with drive stops, distances and costs, check out the following blog post:
For more ideas on fun trips from Sydney, have a read of these posts:
If you’re heading north, read about my next destination: South West Rocks. Happy travels!
Lisa Bull, founder of Dreaming of Down Under, has been living in Australia as a British expat since 2015. After travelling to every state and territory in Australia and living in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Lisa knows from first-hand experience the best destinations to visit in Australia and the best budget travel tips. Her guides on this blog have been read by over 700k readers and helped thousands of people achieve their dream of living in or travelling Australia.