|port macquarie||wauchope||lake cathie||bonny hills||camden haven|
Blessed with an idyllic climate and stunning beaches, Port Macquarie is a must visit for a short break or a well desrved holiday.
The Koala Hospital adjacent to Roto House is the world's first hospital dedicated solely to the care and preservation of koalas. Operated by the Koala Preservation Society of Australia Inc., the hospital has a treatment room, six intensive care units, a 24 hour rescue and treatment operation and multiple recovery yards. A good time to visit is during feeding at 3pm.
Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park (entry through the historic cemetery) covering 52 hectares, the Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park preserves an area of natural bushland with 3kms of walking tracks, boardwalks, and a new 600-metre cycleway. Here visitors can wander and enjoy the beauty of the area and its eco-systems.
Settlement Point Reserve located just five minutes drive from Port Macquarie Town Centre is a great spot to take in the Hastings River. Facilities include picnic tables, BBQs, a playground, lots of parking and a nearby cafe. You can even take the short ferry ride over to the North Shore from here. Dolphins are frequently spotted along the shore as they frolic in the shallows of the river. Be sure to look out for them!
Lake Innes Ruins - Located in Lake Innes Nature Reserve, these ruins represent a significant part of Australia's colonial heritage. The grand home, Lake Innes House was built in the1830s and 1840s and was home to the colonial entrepreneur Major Archibald Innes and his wife Margaret Macleay. This historic site is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and public access to the site across private property is via guided tour only. Tours operate Wednesday 10am - 12pm weather permitting. Bookings are essential, phone (02) 6581 8000.
Tacking Point was named by Matthew Flinders in July 1802. The lighthouse is the third oldest in the country and has recently been restored. It was built in 1879 to warn ships of the rocks near the shore and was converted to automatic operation in 1919. Apart from the interest of the lighthouse itself, Tacking Point with its elevation above the surrounding coastline offers superb views to both the north and the south in October and November be sure to look out for whales.
Pronounced war-hope, is located 20 minutes west of Port Macquarie. Surrounded by Australia's most extensive blackbutt forest, it was here in the mid 1800s that pioneers made the town famous as a timber town.
The Wauchope Farmers' Markets are held at the Wauchope Showground on the 4th Saturday of the month. This is a fantastic opportunity to taste some of the region's fresh and tasty produce that's grown right here in the Greater Port Macquarie region. Fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, chicken, gourmet jams and preserves, cheeses, macadamia nuts, fresh homemade breads and lots more.
Hinterland - To the west of Port Macquarie is true paradise, with breathtaking scenery of rolling hills and lush rainforest. The Hinterland is a truly spectacular sight and is popular with bush walkers, four-wheel drive enthusiasts or those just keen to explore. Take time to discover this region with a day trip or two. Perhaps stay overnight in one of the many cottages or B&B's scattered along the way. We have outlined some trails you may like to try, or you may prefer to make up your own, but whatever you do don't miss this vast area of natural beauty. Bellrowan Valley Horseriding has some wonderful trails if you want to take in the breathtaking views on horseback located in Beechwood, just north of Wauchope.
Comboyne is a tranquil place of rolling green pastures, forests, streams and waterfalls about a one hour drive from Port Macquarie. Here you'll find the Boorganna Nature Reserve, a large remnant of the forest that once covered the whole plateau. There is a fantastic 2.7km walking track that starts at the picnic area where you can see many differing bird species and lush rainforest plants. Allow a few hours for this.
While in Comboyne, you must drive a further 25kms to visit Ellenborough Falls in the Manning Valley - a truly amazing sight as water plunges into a gorge 200m below. There is a viewing platform and a timber walkway for those who would like to walk to the bottom of the falls. Whilst the road is mostly unsealed, it is definitely worth the trip (allow around 45 minutes for the drive from Comboyne). They have 2 walks, one 500m to the lower falls, and another 700m to the knoll plus there is a Kiosk and picnic facilities which makes it a great lunchtime stop.
Lorne and Kendall, whilst a part of the Camden Haven, also forms part of the Hinterland. Kendall 'The Poets Village' - is a quiet village with a population of 250 people located just off the Pacific Highway, at Kew. Its vibrancy, diversity and charm fuel Kendall's community spirit and have earned it a reputation as a great place to live and visit. Named after the Australian poet Henry Kendall it is a growing community, with its famous golf course, craft and antique stores as well as numerous other tourist attractions.
Pronounced Lake cat-eye, is located midway between Port Macquarie and Laurieton, Lake Cathie is centered on a large toddler-friendly saltwater lake and is perfect for young families.
With fishing and swimming, picnic tables, BBQ facilities and a playground, it is an ideal spot to spend a day. Cathie Beach adjoins the Lake and is a popular swimming beach. There is also a wonderful walking track that takes in both the lake and the ocean.
Located south of Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills boasts some of the best coastal views in the region. It is home to the stunning Rainbow Beach, a huge expanse of white sand that goes on forever. The beach is patrolled during summer and has a fantastic picnic and BBQ area with playground equipment. Not only popular for swimming, Rainbow Beach is also an excellent surfing beach for both body boarders and surfers.
The collective name given for the communities scattered along the Camden Haven River including Laurieton, North Haven and Dunbogan at the mouth of the river, stretching to Kew, Kendall, Lorne and Comboyne further inland.
With cafes and shopping combined with local charm, the Camden Haven is a wonderful place for a day or a week. It is all about water activities and the lake and river provide plenty of opportunity for fishing, boating and walking along the foreshores. Enjoy the peace and quiet on this magnificent river or grab your fishing rod and throw a line in, you'll certainly attract the attention of some quizzical pelicans!
North Brother Mountain overlooks Laurieton, North Haven and Dunbogan. At the summit (490 metres), in Dooragan National Park, is the North Brother Lookout (accessible via sealed roads), which is not to be missed, offering a superb view over the coastline, the lakes and the mouth of the Camden Haven River. It is one of Australia's most impressive coastal panoramas. The area is characterised by large stands of rainforest which are rich in native fauna and flora.Take a picnic as they have excellent facilities. Three walks of varying length and difficulty are available if you are feeling energetic. The mountain supports a wide range of vegetation communities, including some of the best examples of old growth blackbutt forest in NSW and pockets of sub-tropical rainforest that provide habitat for gliders, bats and koalas.
Dunbogan, just past Laurieton, is a little piece of paradise. Beautiful beaches and river fishing make it a unique location catering for everyone. This is home of Kattang Nature Reserve, which boasts the most magnificent views. Enjoy wildlife and native flowers on one of the two walking tracks.
Pilot Beach is a fantastic beach for the kids, as it is naturally protected. It also has excellent BBQ facilities and a playground area with showers to rinse off.
Crowdy Bay National Park - Take the road from Laurieton and head south and you will enter the northern section of Crowdy Bay National Park. This area of parkland was first sighted by Captain Cook in 1770. He saw Aborigines standing on what is now known as Diamond Head and named the promontory Indian Head. In more recent times a man named Ernie Metcalf lived on the headland. He was the subject of 'The Man on the Headland' written by Kylie Tennant. He built a hut for Tennant who subsequently gifted it to the park. It was restored in 1980 and is now one of the park's attractions. Diamond Head itself is quite striking. It rises 113 metres and is edged by the wetlands and heathlands of the coastal plain. The park is ideal for bushwalking, birdwatching, fishing (from the rock platforms you can catch groper, bream, tailor and drummer) and swimming.
The Camden Haven continues to the west, with Kew, Kendall, Lorne and beyond. In the rolling hills and quaint towns you'll find arts, crafts and various local delicacies that this region has to offer.