Port Macquarie is a coastal town worth a short visit. More populated than most of the other towns along the coast, there are lots of shops and the town caters to the tourists who flock to the seaside and beaches all year round. Trying to order a coconut (well we were on holidays) iced coffee proved too difficult for the busy barista who twice gave us drinks devoid of any coconut. Nevertheless, there are plenty of places to choose to eat and drink and most looked reasonable albeit catering to the mass tourist market.
Lighthouse Beach and Tacking Point Lighthouse
Lighthouse Beach is a beautiful surf beach offering protection from the summer north easterlies. The beach picks up all available swell so it's great for the intermediate surfer and above, with short powerful rides. If surfing is not your thing then it’s also great for a long beach stroll in the morning or evening. The beach is patrolled during the school holidays and the surf club has yummy food and drinks available to refresh the weary beach goer.
Tacking Point Lighthouse is Australia's 3rd oldest lighthouse. It was built on a rocky headland in 1879 to warn passing ships of nearby rocks. There are several lighthouses in the area that are worth visiting including Smoky Cape Lighthouse at South West Rocks, to the north, and Crowdy Head Light, to the south. A car park next to the lighthouse but the lighthouse itself is not open to the public. If you’re short on time or don’t particularly fancy a walk along the coast, the car park itself has stunning views of the coast line and worth the visit. If you visit from May to November you will likely see whales migrating up and down the coastline.
Coastal Walks, Roto House and Koala Hospital
As mentioned, there is a nice coastal walk which goes from the lighthouse. It has a well maintained track and stair system which takes you down to a small beach and then up to the next ridge. It’s a moderate walk as it is up and down and probably not best suited to a summers day but it does offer viewing platforms which provide breath taking views of the coast and perfect picture opportunities of the lighthouse.
The biggest attraction in Port Macquarie for us was Koala Hospital. The Hospital is run by dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers and is rightly considered the top attraction of the area. We loved it so much that decided to write a separate post which you can read here.
Other notable attractions include Roto house and the koala hospital (they are 30m away from one another). Definitely worth packing your binoculars to see birds and koalas which populate the surrounding bush land.
Roto House is an old restored house built by local surveyor John Flynn in 1891. It has 11 rooms and was constructed using local red mahogany. You are able to walk around each room and see artefact from many years ago when it was occupied. Entry is free and it is staffed by volunteers who are friendly and happy to share the history and insights into the lives of the people who lived there. Definitely worth visiting as part of a trip to the Koala Hospital next door.
Rating: Tourist town which comes across a little tacky at times but has some nice gems like the views from the lighthouse and the Koala Hospital. 3.5/5