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How, When, and Where - Getting the Most Out of Your Port Macquarie Vacation

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Port Macquarie has long been one of Australia’s favorite vacation destinations. Miles of pristine ocean beaches, spectacular scenery, and plenty of attractions geared to travellers of all ages mean you’ll find something here for all the family. Blessed with one of the most livable climates in Australia, the town is agreeably buzzing with locals and out-of-towners, no matter the season.

Best time to travel

 

Average temperatures in Port Macquarie range from 7 degrees C (45 F) to 19 degrees C (66 F) in July, and 18 degrees C (64 F) to 28 degrees C (82 F) in January. February is usually the wettest month. The school vacation season in December and January is peak time for visitors to Port Macquarie. You’ll probably find the water too cold for swimming during winter, but there’s enough to see and do to make a visit worthwhile.

Not to miss

 

A walk along the 9-kilometer track that takes you along the coast past 8 beaches to Tacking Point Lighthouse offers unsurpassed views of Port Macquarie’s dramatic coastline. A camel ride is great way to experience the endless expanse of Lighthouse Beach. Animal lovers can cuddle koalas and feed kangaroos at Billabong Koala And Wildlife Park, and you’ll often see playful dolphins near the mouth of the picturesque Hastings River. You can experience Port Macquarie’s pioneer past firsthand at Timbertown Heritage Theme Park.

 

Getting around

 

Port Macquarie is on the coast at the mouth of the Hastings River, around 4 hours’ drive from Sydney and 6 from Brisbane. Port Macquarie airport (PQQ) welcomes several flights daily from Sydney and Brisbane. There’s no railway station in Port Macquarie, but trains stop at Wauchope, and a 20-minute bus ride brings you to the city. Long-haul buses also connect to Sydney and Brisbane. Port Macquarie has a compact city centre, and you’ll have no trouble getting to beaches, shopping, and restaurants on foot. That said, a car will give you the freedom to explore further afield.

 

Cuisine

 

Port Macquarie is an angler’s paradise, and you’ll often find freshly caught bream, whiting, and bluefish, known here as "tailor," as well as locally cultivated oysters, on the menu. Many restaurants pride themselves on serving farm-to-table food from the fertile hinterland, accompanied by wines from renowned local vintners. Port Macquarie is a family-friendly destination, so you’ll find plenty of restaurants that offer kids’ menus. There are lots of laid-back cafés where you can stop for a coffee or a delicious deli-style meal, or a relaxed beachside breakfast.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Australians are renowned for their easy-going attitude, and social etiquette amounts to common good manners. Port Macquarie has always been a family destination, and children are welcome almost everywhere. The dress code is normally smart and casual, though some restaurants may insist on proper footwear rather than flip-flops. Tipping for services is not mandatory in Australia, although rounding up the bill by 10 to 15 percent is customary in restaurants. Australia has extremely strict tobacco laws; smoking is banned in most public places, including surrounding outdoor areas. Check ahead if you need a fishing license before casting off.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 42000
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  • Spoken languages: English
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  • Electrical: 230 volts, 50 Hz, plug type I
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  • Phone calling code: +61 2
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  • Emergency number: 000; 112 on cell phone