The Best In Port Macquarie With Kids
Where is Port Macquarie?
Port Macquarie is a seaside town in the mid-North coast of New South Wales, Australia. The Australian coastal town boasts a long stretch of spectacular beaches; as well as, a plethora of shops, fabulous cafes, bars and restaurants.
The popular Koala Hospital and Bago Maze and Winery are not to missed, for children and adults alike. The sight seeing opportunities in and outside the hub of Port Macquarie and the Hastings River, are endless. Keep reading below to find out the top things to do in Port Macquarie with kids!
What to do in Port Macquarie.
Hasting River and Town Beach
Central Port Macquarie
The spectacular Hastings River is the perfect spot to start your Port Macquarie explorations. The bustling walking path oozes a relaxed, healthy and happy feel. The path is lined by a very colourful display of creative rock art all the way to Town Beach Park.
Keep an eye out for dolphins in the River, you will often see them coming in and out of the water and if you’re lucky, come right in near the shore. It was a magnificent sight and well worth constantly scouring our eyes over the top of the water for.
Riverside, there is a fabulous cafe called Little Shack, they make great coffee (with several milk selections) and offered a relaxed and trendy stop with a delicious menu. A place you could stay for hours and watch the world go by!
Town Beach Park has a popular skate park, playground, path suitable for wheels and feet! Town Beach itself offered spectacular coastline, patrolled beach, rocks for the kids to scramble over and pools to splash in; as well as, beach side parking, toilets and the very convenient, yummy and well priced Salty Crew Kiosk.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
Central Port Macquarie
You will find the Koala Hospital in the Macquarie Nature Reserve, a beautiful green natural parkland. Established in 1973, the Hospital came together as a place to rescue, care for and treat injured or unwell koalas; staffed by a number of paid professionals as well as 200 volunteers. They have 14 intensive care units (8 outdoors) and 33 rehabilitation yards which include large gum trees where they learn to climb again as part of the rehabilitation programs.
The Koala Hospital has been pivotal in the recovery and relief for these beautiful native animals to Australia, in the 2019/2020 bush fire disaster.
The stories we were told and read are a great lesson. Our children were very concerned about the cuddly koalas and were very intrigued to hear why they were each there. Some were due to being in car accidents, dog attacks, chlamydia, fires. Each enclosure had a story about why they were there, as well as explanations about the process of how they’re released into the wild.
This little guy (pictured) is a repeat offender, he was back this time with a bacterial infection in his eye. The care, love and dedication to the koalas is very visible.
Kids will be entertained by the fun facts dotted around the hospital – do you know how many poos does a koala do every day? You’ll have to go to find out the answer!
Tacking Point Lighthouse
Eleven minutes south of Port Macquarie centre
Tacking Point Lighthouse, Little Bay and Lighthouse Beach. The Lighthouse, is Australia’s thirteenth oldest and is situated just 8km south of Port Macquarie. Drive to the stunning headland, or walk the distance along the coastal walk from Town Green Foreshore in Port Macquarie.
From Tacking Point Lighthouse you will enjoy panoramic views of the mid-north coast of Australia. To the south you can wander down to Lighthouse Beach, to the north you can explore the rugged coastline and rocks of Little Bay. There is hours of fun to be had at Little Bay climbing over the rocks, searching for starfish, crabs and fish and watching the crashing waves of the expansive Pacific Ocean.
Lighthouse Beach has an extensive 7km stretch of sand, a brilliant location for those of you who love to walk on a beach. Simply stunning coastline! Enter the beach near to the impressive Watonga Rocks, for the impressive outlook and exploration opportunities for the kids.
The squeaky sand, shells and array of coloured rocks that wash in make a beach wander very enjoyable. This is not a patrolled swimming beach so care must be taken when swimming. If you’re lucky, you may find that you have the beach almost to yourselves!
Shelly Beach – meet the resident goanna!
Seven minutes south of Port Macquarie
Yet another one of the several beautiful beaches along the Coastal Walk from Port Macquarie Town Beach to Tacking Point Lighthouse. If you are intrigued by a bit of wildlife, get yourself to Shelly Beach and keep an eye out for a goanna! While he is not to be fed, you may be lucky to have this beauty wandering around under your feet while your eating lunch.
There are picnic tables, a toilet block and plenty of parking to go with this lovely little beach. Explore the rocks, look out for sea life, splash in the rock pools and enjoy natures playground.
Port Macquarie region and beyond
Bago Maze and Winery a great outing for the whole family
Twenty-five minute drive from Port Macquarie
A visit to Bago should be on every family itinerary when visiting Port Macquarie. If you love food, wine and a bit of fun adventure – your visit will have something for everyone, in fact more than that, it will be fantastic! Have fun getting lost in the 2km, well cared for hedge maze. Enjoy a BYO picnic on the massive grassed area under a shady tree. Sample the cheese platter featuring local produce and do some tastings of the unique range of whites, reds and fortified wines. Children can run around on the grass and play in the cubby house. They have live music once a month and Baba Lila Handmade Chocolates is also onsite! You cannot go wrong with a visit here!
While you’re on the road to or from Bago, take the short drive into the Burrawan State Forest, the home of the ‘Old Bottlebutt’. Enjoy the 600m rainforest loop to see the ancient Red Bloodwood tree, which is astonishingly the biggest recorded species of it in the world. Children will be highly amused by the name, as well as the enormity!
Dunbogan – take a break and enjoy a meal at the Boat Shed and Marina
Thirty-eight minute drive south of Port Macquarie
Oh what a beautiful News South Wales town, Dunbogan is! You’ll instantly fall in love with this coastal town on the Camden Haven Inlet. The quiet town has stunning views of the river, loads of picnic spots, a well constructed walking path and the fabulous Dunbogan Boat Shed and Marina.
Make sure you enjoy a coffee or meal at the Boat Shed, it is such a beautiful setting. You can hire boats, kayaks and stand up paddle boards and they are fully stocked for all of your fishing needs.
When you visit, be sure to look at the thousands of fish, if the light is shining nicely, you will see some beautiful coloured fish. Keep an eye out for the graceful dolphins that frequent the Inlet, too.
North Brother Mountain – views, trails and picnics
Thirty-three minute drive south of Port Macquarie
North Brother Mountain is located in the Dooragan National Park and offers some stunning views of the area in Camden Haven Inlet, Camden Haven River and down to Crowdy Head in the south.
For a challenging walk, you can access the Laurieton Track at the base. Or drive to the car park at the top of the mountain where you will find toilets, picnic tables and some easier walking tracks for the whole family.
The vast views from the top are stunning. The trails of the rain forest loop were great and took us to several look outs to enjoy views to the north west and west of the mountain. It is well worth the trip to gain some perspective of the area and the spectacular outlook.
Hat Head, a hidden gem on the coast
Fifty-nine minute drive north of Port Macquarie
If there was ever a beach town to visit for a complete unwind, low key, family, beach town getaway on the mid-north coast – this place would be it! About an hours north of Port Macquarie, through the Macleay Valley, you will find the most exquisite beach town, Hat Head.
Hat Head Gap was simply stunning – rocks to scramble and climb, lookouts, crystal clear waters, walking paths and views to die for! Do yourself a favour and walk from The Gap to Connor’s Beach, the views are beautiful, it is such a peaceful place and like so many other beaches on the coast, you will barely see another person. Pack a picnic lunch and lap up the peace and calm of this sensational part of Australia !
The main swimming beach at Hat Head was breathtaking, you could spend hours there, days there! The gentle waves are glorious, fantastic for all aged children and adults alike. The water was clear, the temperature was perfect, you could surf, swim, SUP, float or play!
The town itself consists of a holiday park, several holiday rentals, a general store, boat access and a fish cleaning area, the pristine Korogoro Creek and the native surrounds of Hat Head National Park.
Crowdy Head – beaches, views and 4WD
Fifty-six minutes south of Port Macquarie
The coastline along the mid-north coast of Australia, is undoubtedly stunning and this trip will be no exception. Crowdy Head, is another hidden gem along the eastern coast of Australia and well worth a visit! For visitors convenience there were public toilets and Sunsets Cafe, attached to the Crowdy Head Surf Life Saving Club. Enjoy a sensational feed in a stunning and quiet location.
Be sure to visit Crowdy Head Lighthouse and expect to be completely ‘beach-struck’ to the south. All you can see are masses of sand and surf! The Lighthouse also boasts a great spot for sighting whales during the right season.
Harrington Beach State Park is a great spot for 4WD and for having a quiet beach to yourselves! Swimming would be a little precarious and perhaps not recommended, however, running in and out of the shallows of big crashing can be a bit of fun (with close parental supervision). The extensive sand, water and tranquillity is incredible!
Miss Nellie’s Cafe – homemade and delicious in beautiful Kendall
Twenty-five minutes south of Port Macquarie
The home of homemade greatness, Miss Nellie’s Cafe boasts a beautiful setting, in the small country town of Kendall; if you’re a sweet tooth, it is a sure stop! It is only minutes off the Pacific Hwy, so if you’re driving past, do yourself a favour!
Miss Nellie’s is a country-style cafe, serving homemade cakes, delicious coffee, light meals, a kids menu and cosy comfortable table and chairs indoors and outdoors. The customer service, dedication and commitment to their business was impressive. Try their ‘ruby chocolate’ treats for something a little different – the ruby chocolate cheesecake is divine.
Where to stay in Port Macquarie.
Accommodation options for families in Port Macquarie are endless! Hotels cater so well for families these days, that you’ll find it difficult to choose between the great choices. Check out the latest prices and details on a great range of Port Macquarie accommodation.
Recommended is Ultiqa Village Resort, which is home of 32 luxury three-bedroom bungalows. The Resort has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, clubhouse, gym, tennis courts, mini-golf, canoeing on the lake and fish feeding. There are BBQ facilities, outdoor lounges, free WiFi, games rooms and board games/puzzles/toys/DVDs all available from reception. Bungalows are spacious and offer the ease of a home-away-from-home feel.
Amenities are at your finger tips reducing expenses while in Port Macquarie. The lake area has a lovely feel, is very relaxing in the mornings and full of life later in the day. Get comfortable by the lake in the evenings, where you can continue to swim, feed the fish or enjoy happy hour as you watch the sun set. The Resort is very family friendly and the service is impeccable, with staff on deck to attend to needs very efficiently.
Where to next from Port Macquarie?
Do yourself a favour and arrange some time in Coffs Harbour. There is so much on offer for the whole family on the coast and inland.