In historic terms ...
Port Macquarie is located 17 metres above sea level at the mouth of the Hastings River. With over 40,000 residents, it's the largest town on the NSW coast between Newcastle and Tweed Heads. It is a rapidly expanding centre and tourism is obviously central spill in the local economy.
In historic terms, Port Macquarie is the most significant town between Newcastle and the Queensland border. Prior to European settlement, the area is thought to have been occupied by the Kattang Aborigines. Captain Cook sailed past this section of the coast in 1770, as did Matthew Flinders in 1802. However John Oxley followed the river during an overland trek in 1818. He named the site Port Macquarie after the governor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie, who initiated the expedition.
Here's a place that's very popular with tourists. Wineries have a habit of being that!
Cassegrains is very much favoured by that old real estate adage, location, location, location.
Set right beside Australia's busiest tourist highway, the Pacific, Cassegrains offers the winery, a lovely restaurant and delightful gardens. Sometimes they have concerts with top acts in the garden area. If you are there at the right time it's a great place to be.
Not much of the wine is actually grown on site but imported from other parts of Australia and blended and vintaged here.
As with all Australian wineries I have so far visited, you can taste for free, yet another reason to drop by!
Port Macquarie - not just for holidays
"Something to look forward to"
Port was always known as "God's waiting room". It referred to the propensity of tourists who had holidayed there and ended up retiring there. The majority of them were from south of the town. Sydney, for one, and particularly Melbourne, from where the idyllic temperatures and seaside lifestyle seemed like a magnet but, as time went by and more people moved there and younger people were required to service the increasing tourist demand, it slowly blossomed. Then, in the late 20th century, it boomed. In a seemingly few short years it doubled in population and spread into areas that I remember pointing out to my family as lovely bush.
Now it still retains its allure. Good shopping, excellent fishing, good sports venues and generally good weather make for a nice lifestyle.
As far as beaches go, personally I used to go elsewhere and still do. I find the ones here pretty but not good for surf. North or south of Port the beaches are far superior. The exception is Lighthouse Beach.
Some of Australia's finest rainforest lies in the hinterland though it's rarely visited by tourists.
Comboyne (see my Comboyne pages) is absolutely stunning yet most people in Port have never been there though it's just half an hour up the road.
Wilson River Reserve and Werrikimbe are further inland, the former is one of Australia's finest rainforest pockets with several waterfalls and a picturesque stream to boot.
This shot is taken at Werrikimbe and shows King Fern Falls which you will come across should you take the 2km walk from Plateau Beech camping area.