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Water and Wildlife, Heritage and Culture - What to See and Do in Port Macquarie

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Port Macquarie is a classic beach-holiday destination - but it’s not only about sun, sand, and surf. There’s a wealth of wildlife waiting for you, from dingoes to dolphins, wombats to whales, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. You can discover the region’s rich and eventful history, as well as its cultural present - and all with a backdrop of pristine natural beauty.

Animal encounters in Port Macquarie

 

The remarkable diversity of the country surrounding Port Macquarie, which includes several national parks, means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with the local wildlife. You’re likely to encounter water dragons, flying foxes, and more in Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park, right in the centre of town. At Billabong Koala And Wildlife Park you can get close to koalas, kangaroos, and dingoes, as well as exotic species. The Koala Hospital nurses sick and injured koalas back to health, and provides thought-provoking tours, explaining the factors that have led to the koala becoming an endangered species.

 

  • Billabong Koala And Wildlife Park, 61 Billabong Drive, Port Macquarie NSW 2444; Tel: +61 2 6585 1060; Website: Billabong Koala And Wildlife Park
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  • The Koala Hospital, Corner Roto Place and Lord Street, Port Macquarie NSW 2444; Tel: +61 2 6584 1522; Website: The Koala Hospital

Exploring the waters of Port Macquarie

 

The Port Macquarie region has a wealth of water-based wonders waiting for you to discover. The picturesque Hastings River is a rich aquatic ecosystem, and dolphins are frequent visitors to the estuary. A kayak tour is great way to explore the waterways at your own pace. All-weather vessels let you get up close to the humpback whales that migrate off Port Macquarie’s coast April through November. If you prefer to keep your feet on terra firma, Tacking Point lighthouse is a good whale-spotting vantage point.

 

  • Kayak Adventures, Buller Street Bridge, Port Macquarie NSW 2444; Tel: +61 409 776 566 ; Website: Kayak Adventures
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  • Port Macquarie Cruise Adventures, Short Street Wharf, Port Macquarie NSW 2444; Tel: +61 414 897 444; Website: Port Macquarie Cruise Adventures

 

Going fishing in Port Macquarie

 

Mild water and air temperatures, and a rich variety of fish species, make the waters around Port Macquarie a magnet for anglers. Some of the most popular fishing spots are right in the centre of town, including the Hastings River, the Breakwall, and Town Beach. You’ll find that bream, blackfish, bluefish (known here as "tailor"), whiting, and flathead are almost always biting. There are tour operators if you’d like to try your luck at hooking snapper, pearl perch, and kingfish on the offshore reefs.

 

  • Port Macquarie Fishing Charters, Short and Clarence Street Wharf, Port Macquarie NSW 2444; Tel: +61 416 240 877; Website: Port Macquarie Fishing Charters
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  • Ned Kelly's Bait 'N' Tackle, 42 Gordon Street, Port Macquarie NSW 2444 ; Tel: +61 2 6583 8318; Website: Ned Kelly's Bait 'N' Tackle

 

Back to the past in Port Macquarie

 

Port Macquarie’s first European settlers were prisoners transported from Britain, and there are several reminders of the city’s penal past, including convict-built St. Thomas’ Church. Heritage Walking Tours give you an insight into Port Macquarie’s history, including that of the region’s original owners, the Birpai Aboriginal people. At Timbertown, you can time-travel back to the era of the pioneers. Ride the heritage railway, hear the ring of the blacksmith’s hammer, and watch bullocks hauling freshly felled timber, before you refuel with traditional Aussie tucker at the Maul & Wedge restaurant.

 

 

Port Macquarie's cultural scene

 

As well as being a great outdoor getaway destination, Port Macquarie has a thriving cultural scene. Many artists, inspired by the area’s natural beauty, call the city home. The cultural focal point is Glasshouse, which hosts changing art exhibitions, as well as plays, concerts, and performances in its theatre. You’ll also find the tourist information centre here. You should also keep an eye out for many public artworks scattered around the city. You’ll see several at Shelly Beach - which is also a great picnic spot.

 

  • Glasshouse, Corner of Clarence and Hay Streets, Port Macquarie NSW 2444; Tel: +61 2 6581 8888; Website: Glasshouse
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  • Arthouse Industries, 1/1 Murray Street, Port Macquarie NSW 2444; Tel: +61 2 6584 5443; Website: Arthouse Industries