Your Ultimate Guide to Port Macquarie
5th March 2021
Port Macquarie has one of the best year-round climates in Australia. In close proximity to multiple wineries, and hosting a generous selection of cafes and restaurants, it’s the perfect destination for a weekend escape. Found at the mouth of the Hastings River, only four hours north of Sydney, the alluring seaside town of Port Macquarie awaits you!
Relaxing nature and a vibrant culture
With unspoiled natural landscapes, national parks, rainforests, secluded beaches, friendly locals and laidback vibes; this is unsurprisingly one of New South Wales’ most popular destinations. Naturally, if you’re after pristine scenery and relaxation, you might just love it here. Share your weekend escape with bottlenose Dolphins frolicking in the estuary and whales swimming past the coast throughout winter. Slip away to the lush hinterlands of Port Macquarie and escape to the countryside. Find local wildlife in the national parks and explore tiny quaint villages as you drive through the soothing landscape.
However, don’t be fooled. Whilst Port Macquarie is tranquil and serene, there is also a very vibrant side to the coastal town. An array of annual events including music festivals, arts and sporting events brighten up the seaside town around the calendar. On top of that, the township itself offers a high-quality selection of eateries, coffee spots and opportunities for shopping. Established as a penal settlement in 1821, the town also has a rich history visible today through heritage walks and museums.
Port Macquarie will keep you entertained for a whole weekend – and much more. So book a room at one of the hotels in Port Macquarie and head over next weekend. Use this Ultimate Guide as a tool to put together your perfect weekend escape. Here are some of the best things to see, do, eat and drink in Port Macquarie.
Things to do in Port Macquarie
Pop into some wineries
Port Macquarie has no shortage of wineries. With French roots which go back to 17th-century France, Cassegrain Wines is one of the most famous wineries in Port Macquarie. Pairing French wine making with Australian landscapes, Cassegrain has crafted wonderful wines over the years. Take a wander through the estate gardens or choose to take a tour of the vineyards. Once you’re done, sip on some of the estate’s finest vintages and relax with a view of the gardens.
Douglas Vale Historic Homestead and Vineyard should also be on your list of must-visit wineries in Port Macquarie. Established in 1859, the homestead is now not only a historic building and museum, but a space for a variety of events. World-class wines can be found at this winery. Crisp whites and roses are plentiful and the serene gardens and vineyard views are totally romantic.
Little Fish Cafe and Vineyard is a fabulous choice for those seeking some peace and quiet. Overlooking lush vineyards framed by Jacaranda and Magnolia trees, the winery hosts a stunning restaurant and cafe. Try an excellent range of local wines served on the verandah and soak up the ultimate romantic Port Macquarie experience at Little Fish.
Take the kids to Roses Vineyard and Animal Farm
Explore the 100-acre estate of Roses Vineyard on a wholesome day out with the family. A petting farm gives kids the chance to enjoy the company of farm animals. Horses, rabbits, ducks, cows, chickens, pigs and goats all wandering around the farm make this place ideal for animal lovers. Visit the cellar door and taste some sparkling rose, before grabbing a bite to eat at the vineyard’s cafe. Savour the pretty lakeside views as you enjoy your lunch.
Splash about at Stoney Aqua Park
The kids will go crazy for this one – and you might too. Visit Stoney Aqua Park and join the kids, running wild on inflatables set upon the lake sourced with fresh rain water. Slides, trampolines, swings and balance beams are just a few of the obstacles you will face here floating on the surface of the water. Stay for a barbecue or picnic after your time is up and enjoy the sandy lakeside views.
Go surfing in Port Macquarie
If you’re a seasoned surfer you’ll know that there are plenty of opportunities for surfing in Port Macquarie. Town Beach in Port Macquarie as well as Grants Beach, offer pretty consistent waves. New to surfing? Why not drop by Soul Surfing and take the plunge. Personalised surf lessons with qualified instructors will give you the confidence you need to ride the waves.
Visit some pristine Port Macquarie beaches
Port Macquarie boasts some gorgeous beaches. Turquoise waters and small coves are dotted along the coastline. The NSW town is the perfect place to enjoy some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. Pilot Beach is a beautifully tranquil beach at the mouth of the Camden Haven river. Situated between two break walls, it is protected from the ocean and ideal for families with young kids.
Flynns Beach, situated just south of Port Macquarie offers new surfers an excellent place to learn. Nestled between two rocky headlands which jut into the sea, this beach is also well protected from the winds. Rainbow Beach, running for 2.5km along the stunning New South Wales coastline is lifeguarded during the school holidays. The sweeping sand stretching into the distance here is also home to a surf school as well as a park and picnic area.
Go hiking or take a walk
Botanic walk is the perfect way to discover the rainforests just outside of Port Macquarie. Tall glossy green palms and unique ferns dominate the striking landscape here. This walk is only short, but allows you time to stretch your legs and brings you closer to nature. For those who are looking for a little more exercise, a number of national parks in the vicinity allow for excellent hiking opportunities.
Werrikimbe National Park provides visitors with an awesome opportunity to explore World Heritage rainforest and has a selection of great trails. The wilderness at Werrikimbe National Park is totally serene and pristine. Towering eucalypt forests, rugged rocky gullies and numerous waterfalls describe the environment here. Less dramatic in terms of its topography, Kattang Nature Reserve offers stunning views, gorgeous wildflowers and the possibility for casual walking, family picnicking as well as fishing and whale watching.
Finally, Port Macquarie coastal walk is certainly one of the best things to do in Port Macquarie. Absorb the dramatic views of the Port Macquarie beaches as you wander along the 9km trail which follows the coast. Starting right in the centre of town and heading towards Tacking Point Lighthouse, you’ll pass multiple historic sites as well as rainforest scenery, secluded coves and long sandy beaches. If you’re looking to learn about the history of the town and really grasp the extent of its natural beauty in just one day, this coastal walk is absolutely one of the best things to do in Port Macquarie.
Go mountain biking
Mountain bikers among us will be enthralled by the potential for mountain biking in Port Macquarie. Only 20 minutes south of Port Macquarie, Jolly Nose Mountain Bike Park offers 60 kilometres of single track mountain bike trails. With different levels of difficultly, the park caters for just about anyone who wants to give mountain biking a go. Jolly nose Mountain Bike Bath is located in Queens Lake State Forest Bonny Hills. Known as a lakeside haven for people and wildlife alike, the nature reserve is beautiful for a lake swim as well as fishing, picnicking and birdwatching. Whether you’re a serious mountain biker or not, you’ll enjoy the trip here regardless.
Visit a Port Macquarie brewery
Beer fans will be completely delighted at the brewery on offer at Port Macquarie. Drop into The Black Duck Brewery to sample some the best craft beer around. The relaxing and super friendly venue will satisfy just about anyone’s beer cravings. Changing beers on tap as well as platters comprised of fresh local produce can be found here. Nibble as you sample some beers, or opt for a tour and learn a little about the brewing and history of The Black Duck Brewery. Pop into the shop and ensure that you leave with a canned souvenir.
Drop into the zoo with the kids
Initially a koala breeding centre in 1986, Billabong Zoo now has plenty of animals to show off to its visitors. Visit for the day and wander around the zoo enjoying the diverse range of Australian and exotic animals and birds. Make sure you are around for one or two of the zoo talks throughout the day and learn a little about Australian mammals, reptiles and birds. Billabong Zoo prides itself on being an ambassador for wildlife and truly believes in conservation through education. Kids here can pat, stroke, feed and hold a number of the 80 species, making it an absolute favourite attraction in Port Macquarie for kids.
Visit a winery with a twist
Bago Vineyards is the perfect place to spend the afternoon with kids in Port Macquarie. Home to a huge maze, copious amounts of space, and endless paths intertwining through the grounds, Bago Vineyards is certainly a place for the kids. However, it’s absolutely necessary to stop for some wine here too. After enjoying the stunning vineyard views and stretching your legs, you’ll also be able to try some reds and whites and even grab a hearty cheese platter. Try the winery’s excellent Sparkling Pinot Noir or crisp chardonnay and look out over the stunning greenery outside, sculpted to perfection.
On your way out, pop into Baba Lila – an exquisite chocolate shop – and learn about the chocolate-making process. At certain points in the month, live music fills the air with a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere. When it comes to things to do in Port Macquarie, you don’t want to miss a trip to Bago Vineyards.
Opt for an afternoon of art and culture
Port Macquarie also does a pretty good job of showcasing the work of local artists. So if you enjoy perusing through art galleries, you’re in luck. At Long Point Vineyard and Art Gallery spend some time looking through a collection of art work created by local people. Alternatively, take a trip to Glasshouse Regional Gallery to discover the works of contemporary, indigenous, historical and traditional art. The gallery houses approximately 20 to 25 exhibitions each year. For those creatives among us, you might also be lucky enough to time your visit with an artist talk or a workshop.
Enjoy a helicopter ride
Travel in style during your trip to Port Macquarie and grasp another perspective of the seaside paradise. Opt for Port Macquarie Helicopters and take to the skies in comfort, in a state-of-the-art helicopter. Spectacular panoramic views of the endless coastline and views down to the towns and villages below will absolutely captivate you. Choose a 30 minute scenic flight along the coast to witness the Port Macquarie beaches from above, or opt for 45 minutes to fly up to South West Rocks. For the ultimate Port Macquarie experience, choose the Cassegrain lunch and wine tasting option, including a short coastal flight and a lavish lunch. In terms of things to do in Port Macquarie, a helicopter ride is certainly the most breathtaking.
Take a boat trip
Port Jet Cruise Adventures offer a whole lot of fun with their various water-based experiences. Sit back and relax on a river cruise which takes you along the Hasting River. Spot dolphins as you weave around the surrounding waterways. Alternatively, if it’s whales you came to see, pack your camera and take a short trip from shore to see the annual whale migration (only from May to November). Top off for trip and get up close, watching the beautiful creatures as they travel up and down the coast. At Port Jet, you can also hire and drive a jet ski. One of the only jet ski parks in new South Wales with this is possible – without a licence – it’s worth a go whilst you’re there!
Enjoy a horse ride through a vineyard
If you’re looking to enjoy the piece and quiet of nature, drop into Port Macquarie Horse Riding Centre. Take a ride through the gorgeous Cassegrain Winery Estate and soak up the rolling landscapes blanketed with vines. You don’t need to be an expert to take part either. Complete beginners are welcome to take part in this family-friendly activity.
Get a birds eye view from a seaplane
Take off from the water and capture a birds eye view of Port Macquarie by sea plane. This has to be the most exciting of things to do in Port Macquarie. Take in the beautiful scenery of the coastline and waterways. The planes are super small and seat three passengers so you’re guaranteed a first class experience. Soar over the coast before landing back on the water – there’s no better experience in Port Macquarie.
Cafes and restaurants in Port Macquarie
Set within a vineyard environment, Little Fish Cafe is a totally picturesque dining option. More than just a cafe, Little Fish Cafe oozes with passion for cooking and serves up fresh seasonal produce. Plus, it’s certainly got one of the most divine views as far as restaurants in Port Macquarie go. Sitting on the verandah with a glass of wine in hand and vibrant dishes upon your table, you could be in France. Alternatively, Bar Florian – originally established in Venice, Italy – has a retro 60s Italian theme. The bar offers an indulgent menu packed with cured meats, cheese, fine wines and boutique beers. A relaxing and spirited atmosphere at Bar Florian makes it the ideal spot for a long lunch or evening wine-down.
The Stunned Mullet is undoubtedly one of the most fantastic restaurants in Port Macquarie. High-quality food, tasty local wines, friendly service and laid back ocean vibes make this restaurant pretty irresistible. Initially established in 2005, The Stunned Mullet has won multiple awards and is known for its wine list. With views over Town Beach, you’ll feel totally at ease here.
Book your trip to Port Macquarie
With the drive from Sydney to Port Macquarie taking just over four hours, a New South Wales Weekend Escape here might be just what you’ve been looking for. Packed with diverse and interesting natural landscapes and with endless possibilities for wining and dining, a trip to this New South Wales coastal gem will satisfy all your getaway needs. Make your stay truly special and book a room at one the most centrally located and modern hotels in Port Macquarie this winter.
Ibis Styles in Port Macquarie offers an idyllic beachfront location, an outdoor pool, breakfast lounge and fresh, comfortable rooms. Add a touch of luxury to your getaway by choosing a recently refurbish ocean view room. Stepping into your chic and polished hotel room and admiring the ocean view, you’ll soon realise you’re at one of the most conveniently located hotels in Port Macquarie.
Spend a weekend exploring this charming New South Wales coastal town and base yourself at Ibis Styles for one weekend this winter.
Click here to book a room or apartment at Ibis Styles.