The ultimate coastal getaway, Port Macquarie is an outdoor lover's paradise. With the Hastings River to one side and a beautiful line-up of sandy beaches to the other, and foreshore parks, nature reserves and national parks sprinkled all around, this little slice of paradise on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast is a dreamy getaway.
What's more, it's packed with things to do, from strawberry picking, to hedge mazes to koala sculpture trails to surfing beaches. Plus, a burgeoning foodie scene that shines a spotlight on ocean-fresh seafood. And, with balmy summers and mild winters, this coastal town just keeps on giving year-round.
Here are our favourite, fun things to do in Port Macquarie.
Things to do in Port Macquarie: Cafés
Perfectly positioned on Town Beach, Salty Crew Kiosk is the spot to watch surfers vie for the perfect wave, spot whales migrating by, or stop after a morning swim or a heart-pumping run along the coastal walk. Here, food is done right. Think acai bowls, raw treats, cold press juices and soul food.
1/15 Elliott Way, Port Macquarie
Set right on the water's edge of Hastings River, Rivermark has earned its spot on our round-up of things to do in Port Macquarie, not only for its winning location but for the pretty dishes they plate up. Here, you can spot dolphins, watch sail and fishing boats glide by, and enjoy uninterrupted water views over breakfast or lunch. Book ahead, because this is one popular café.
261 Hastings River Drive, Port Macquarie
Tucked away in a coastal rainforest, immerse yourself in this natural wonder while tucking into a hearty breakfast. With walls made of glass and an open deck, you'll feel like your dining amongst the trees. Once you've had your fill, do the 1.3km elevated rainforest walk which starts inside the gift shop (there is a fee).
Sea Acre Rainforest, Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie
Coffee lovers will delight in this little café. This espresso bar has mastered the art of seriously good coffee. And, if you're feeling particularly peckish, they have a small lunch selection that will tie you over. Located opposite the foreshore park, grab your coffee to go while you wander the along the Breakwall to spot a dolphin or two.
3/1 Murray Street, Port Macquarie
Things to do in Port Macquarie: Restaurants
Love your seafood? Then this place is for you. The Stunned Mullet is the local go-to for a fine dining experience. It's one of our favourite things to do in Port Macquarie because both their lunch and dinner menus shine a spotlight on ocean-fresh seafood. The flight of dressed oysters are the way to start any lunch. At night though, the three-course menu is a delight with a delectable wine offering to match.
24 William Street, Port Macquarie
Set in The Garrison, opposite the Glasshouse in town, Drury Lane Eatery has earned themselves quite the reputation for their friendly staff and delicious menu, which you can either eat in at their cosy digs or grab takeaway to enjoy at Town Green. And although you'll find some classic café faves, their menu is creative and ever-evolving.
26 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie
A casual dining space in the middle of town with a focus on a sea-to-plate ethos, dining at Bill's is one of the best things to do in Port Macquarie. A dinner venue with a menu that's overflowing with ocean-fresh seafood, while the bar holds its own with a bespoke selection of cocktails and wines. If you come with a group, take our advice and go all-in with a Seafood Share. Delish.
2/18-20 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie
Smack bang in the middle of town, Burger Rebellion is the local go-to for a delicious burger. Here you can swing either way – go all-in with the healthy chickpea, red lentil and quinoa burgers with a side of rocket and red chilli slaw. Or, opt for a juicy Southern Fried Chicken burger with a side of loaded chilli cheese fries. Either way, you can't go wrong.
14/6 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie
Things to do in Port Macquarie: Drink
A waterfront hotel that really knows how to turn on the charm. Here, it is all about the views from the covered deck, a tasty dining menu, and a drink selection that covers the full shebang. It's the kind of place that you'll come for lunch and linger well into the evening, thanks to its winning location along Port Macquarie's foreshore.
1 Horton Street, Port Macquarie
A night-time venue that's all about good food and even better cocktails, Botanic Wine Garden sits across from the Glasshouse, Port Macquarie's cultural hub. Making this gem of a place well-positioned to deliver on the goods before and after a show. Our pick is a charcuterie board with a selection from their killer wine list. But, if you wanted something more substantial, their dinner menu deserves a look in.
Glasshouse Forecourt, Shop 3/26 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie
Tucked away on the outskirts of town, Moorebeer Brewing Co. opens their doors to the public every Friday and Saturday from noon. So, if you're looking for things to do in Port Macquarie on the weekend, then this is it. Their tap wall pours ten different brews, but if beer isn't your thing, they also have a great selection of wine, ciders and spirits. Live music and a food truck round out the experience in this industrial set-up.
18/35 Merrigal Road, Port Macquarie
Things to do in Port Macquarie: Arts & Culture
One of the best things to do in Port Macquarie, and it's absolutely free, is the Hello Koala Sculpture Trail. Think of it as a treasure hunt of sorts. Sprinkled around Port Macquarie and surrounding towns are 77 one-meter high koalas, uniquely hand-painted by Australian artists for you to find and snap a pic with. And while we're on the topic of Koalas, pop into the Koala Hospital to see them up close in the gum trees or being treated by vets. You'll need to book ahead. Hint: You may even spot a Hello Koala here.
Koala Hospital – Lord Street, Port Macquarie
What is traditionally one big event, has turned into a week-long celebration (Oct 1-8) across multiple locations in Port Macquarie, Laurieton and Wauchope. You can explore the diverse range of artists, from pottery to painted artworks to fashion, in pop-up gallery spaces (think shopfronts), artist markets and local making events. Footpath stickers will be located outside participating storefronts for you to follow.
Things to do in Port Macquarie: Explore
Port Macquarie Coastal walk
If you were to do one thing in Port Macquarie, then this would be it. One of the most beautiful walks on the New South Wales coastline, the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk stretches 9.1km between Tacking Point Lighthouse and Town Green foreshore park. The walk passes several swimming and surf beaches, Sea Acre Rainforest, and it has incredible vistas up and down the coast with vantage points during whale watching season (May to November).
There is a lot that Port Macquarie does well, and wineries are one. One of the best things to do in Port Macquarie pop into Cassegrain Wines (13-minutes from the town centre) whose cellar door is open daily. Relax on the deck with a cheese platter and wine at Long Point Vineyard and Art Gallery in Lake Cathie (20-minutes from town), and Bago Maze and Winery in Wauchope (25-minutes from town) is a must, just for the hedge maze alone.
Just 10-minutes out of town, Ricardoes has long been topping every list of things to do in Port Macquarie. With over 30,000 plants growing in their greenhouses, grab a bucket and pluck your own plump strawberries before relaxing in Big Red Café. Scones and strawberry jam is the order of the day, and you can also purchase some homemade condiments. If you want the low-down about the inner workings of Ricardoes, there is a free farm tour at 11 am weekdays.
221 Blackmans Point Road, Blackmans Point
Explore the beauty of Port Macquarie by hiring your own vessel. From Settlement Point, hire a kayak and paddle your way down the Hastings River, spotting playful dolphins along the way. Fancy a barbeque on the river? Hire a pontoon boat where you can fish, barbeque and cruise to your heart's content. Want to try SUP, then they have that here too. Settlement Point also happens to be a great swimming spot, especially for young families, with the added bonus of barbeque facilities and a playground.
Things to do in Port Macquarie: Stay
A waterfront hotel overlooking Port Macquarie harbour, Sails is a luxury stay that has everything you could ever want in a coastal getaway. Lush landscaping, heated pools with private cabanas, and direct access to the harbour where you can fish from their private jetty or take one their complimentary kayaks out on the water. As for the rooms, our pick is the water view suite. And although they have their own restaurant and bar, you are within walking distance to the town centre, which is overflowing with places to eat.
From $289 per night
20 Park Street, Port Macquarie
Perfectly positioned in the middle of town along the foreshore park, Rydges Port Macquarie has everything you need at your doorstep, from cafes, restaurants and bars to beaches, coastal walks and water play. Even with all this going on, Rydges gives you very little reason to leave with a heated pool and spa, an award-winning restaurant, Zebu, a day spa and waterfront rooms and apartments with private balconies.
From $191 per night
1 Hay Street, Port Macquarie
Year-round there are so many fun things to do in Port Macquarie, from local markets to festivals and even an iron man competition. There is no doubt that locals have a zest for life that holiday-goers want to tap into. If you're after more inspiration for a coastal getaway in NSW, then be sure to check out our Things to do in Newcastle – the perfect stopover on your way up from Sydney.