Port Macquarie is a beautiful coastal town located in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. The town is known for its scenic beaches, national parks, and a rich history that dates back to the early colonial period. While there are many attractions in Port Macquarie that require an admission fee, there are also plenty of free activities that visitors can enjoy. In this post, we will take a look at the best free things to do in Port Macquarie.
Note: Each year between May and November the annual Humpback Whale migration passes Port Macquarie and can be seen from rocky cliffs like the Port Macquarie lighthouse.
Walk the Coastal Walk
The Coastal Walk is a 9-kilometer scenic walk that follows the coastline from the town center to Tacking Point Lighthouse. The walk takes you past stunning beaches, rocky headlands, and offers breathtaking views of the ocean. The Coastal Walk is suitable for all fitness levels, and there are plenty of rest stops and benches along the way.
Visit the Koala Hospital
The Koala Hospital is a rehabilitation center for sick and injured koalas. The hospital is open to the public, and visitors can take a self-guided tour to learn about the koalas and their rehabilitation process. The hospital is staffed by volunteers, and donations are welcome.
Explore the Historic Cemetery
The Historic Cemetery is located on the hill behind the town center and offers a fascinating insight into the town’s past. The cemetery contains the graves of some of Port Macquarie’s earliest settlers, including convicts and soldiers. There are also several notable graves, including the grave of Major Archibald Clunes Innes, who founded Port Macquarie in 1821.
Relax on the Beaches
Port Macquarie is home to several beautiful beaches that are free to access. Town Beach is the most popular and is patrolled during the summer months. Other beaches include Flynn’s Beach, Lighthouse Beach, and Shelly Beach. All of the beaches offer great swimming, surfing, and sunbathing opportunities.
Explore the Rainforest
The Sea Acres Rainforest Centre is located just south of Port Macquarie and offers visitors the chance to explore a beautiful rainforest for free. The rainforest is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, including the endangered Hastings River Mouse. The center offers free guided tours, and there are several walking trails that visitors can explore on their own.
Visit the Glasshouse Regional Gallery
The Glasshouse Regional Gallery is located in the heart of Port Macquarie and offers free admission to its exhibitions. The gallery features works by local and national artists and has a focus on contemporary art. The gallery also features a shop where visitors can purchase unique gifts and souvenirs.
Check out the Public Art Trail
Port Macquarie has a vibrant public art scene, and visitors can explore the town’s art trail for free. The trail features over 50 artworks, including sculptures, murals, and installations. The artworks are located throughout the town, and visitors can download a map from the town’s website to guide them on their tour.
Walk the Breakwall
The breakwall is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The breakwall is a 1.3-kilometer-long walk that extends from the town center to the mouth of the Hastings River. The breakwall is adorned with colorful graffiti and offers fantastic views of the ocean and the town.
Visit the Hastings River
The Hastings River is a beautiful waterway that runs through Port Macquarie. Visitors can explore the river for free by taking a walk along the riverbank or hiring a kayak or paddleboard. The river is home to an abundance of wildlife, including dolphins, turtles, and various bird species.
Port Macquarie is often over-looked by travellers on their way to Byron or Sydney but I have lived in Port Macquarie for a number of months and can say its well worth a visit. This town has something to offer anyone and can provide a great weekend trip or extended holiday location year-round.
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