Port Macquarie Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Port Macquarie

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    THE KOALA HOSPITAL

    by balhannah Written Nov 8, 2013

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    I had read about a Koala Hospital at Port Macquaie, so put it on my list of "must sees."

    I walked through the Port Macquarie Nature Reserve where there would have been Koalas in the trees. I didn't see any, and I was looking! The walkway led me to the Koala Hospital.
    Here, I found the Koalas in large enclosures, all were asleep as it was the middle of the day. Information on each Koala on how it was injured and where it came from etc, was attached to each pen. Some very sad stories, although the upside is they are alive and doing well in the Hospital.
    You can walk through and view all for FREE, DONATION TINS are scattered around if you wish to help.

    WHY DONATE..... Because this Hospital is a registered Charity and is entirely run by volunteers. To raise enough money to keep the centre running, money has to be raised some way. Approx $160,000 is needed per year.

    The centre has a FREE GUIDED TOUR AT 3PM EVERY DAY.
    They can't charge a fee because they are a charity, so they rely on donations given by the public who take these tours.
    The tour takes you around the enclosures where the Koalas are recovering after receiving treatment. The plus with the tour, is you see them being fed and hear first hand the sad stories of how they came to be here.

    More on next review

    Koala @ Koala Hospital Koala Hospital pens
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    WALK THE HERITAGE TRAIL

    by balhannah Written Nov 7, 2013

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    As I walked around the outside of Tacking Point Lighthouse, I happened to notice an old marker with "historic site 1" - Tacking Point Lighthouse.

    As it happened, there was a sign-posted heritage walking trail that went to 13 of the town's most interesting historic and archaeological sites. You can pick up the brochure from the Tourist Information Centre.

    I couldn't follow it, as I had already decided to follow the beaches and headlands walk that either began or finished at Tacking Point Lighthouse. As Port Macquarie is one of Australia's oldest penal settlements outside of Sydney, there are many historic buildings and sites that date back to the colonial and convict days.
    I did find some more of these sites as I walked around Port Macquarie.

    At the Tacking Point Lighthouse, on the ground was a metal compass point. I liked this as I never know in which direction I am looking when away from home. This solved that problem!

    Compass point Compass point
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    BEACH & HEADLANDS WALK # 4

    by balhannah Updated Nov 7, 2013

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    I am on the track that will eventually take me to Miners Beach. It is a graded track with a slight uphill walk. At the start, I am walking through some rainforest, a thick canopy of shade that I appreciated as it was hot already! In the middle of it, I find a flowering rainforest tree with quite a pretty bright red flower.
    Following the track, I come to a T junction without a sign to point me in the right direction. I decided to keep on going and came to a dead-end with a proper viewing platform. Wow! More wonderful views!
    I still can see the lighthouse from here, below are some huge black boulders, and to my left I am looking towards Miners Beach where I am walking to. I am here in Whale season, when the Whales will be passing by on their homeward journey to Antartica. The signboard tells a little about them, so I stand and strain my eyes looking for the tell tale sign of a spray of water coming from their spout. No luck again!!
    I was pleased I had chosen to come here as I would have hated to miss it. I had to return a short distance and take the other track so I continue walking to Miners Beach.

    What to look for Through the Rainforest Boulders below the look-out Views over Miners Beach Flowering rainforest tree on the walk
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    BEACH & HEADLANDS WALK # 6

    by balhannah Updated Nov 7, 2013

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    At last I am at the bottom of the steep hill and on the beautiful clean & pristine Miners Beach.
    Miners Beach, is a quiet spot where there are lots of boulders on the beach and in the ocean. Quite a few were in interesting positions. The waves were pounding in, while the Cormorants were sitting on top of the boulders drying off after their fishing trips. I could see schools of small fish in the calm water around the rocks.
    Miners Beach is an UNOFFICIAL NUDIST BEACH, so you will probably run into nudists here, more so in the hotter weather.

    Miners Beach Miners Beach Miners Beach Miners Beach Miners Beach
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    KOALA HOSPITAL - ADOPT A KOALA

    by balhannah Written Nov 8, 2013

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    The Koala Hospital has a gift shop selling anything to do with Koalas. Even a child could buy a nice Koala pencil, thus helping raise money for the centre.

    The adoption of a Koala is an excellent way to help. Anybody can do this, even somebody from overseas. You can pick the Koala you wish to adopt.
    Take at look here. http://www.koalahospital.org.au/product-category/adoptions

    The prices begin at $35.

    By adopting a Koala, this money helps with rescue and treatment of sick and injured koalas being cared for so they can be released back into the wild. The money is also used for research relating to habitat, disease, nutrition and habits of wild koalas and to provide educational material to the general public.

    Have a look at the boards beside the information centre, as there you will find a newspaper cutting on the White Koala, a very rare sight!

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    INSIDE ROTO HOUSE

    by balhannah Written Nov 8, 2013

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    The outside was lovely, so what will the inside be like?

    Entry into the house is at the back door, where you leave a gold coin donation, either $1 Or $2.
    Here, I picked up a brochure on the house and was met by one of the volunteers who was eager to show me some of the house, and fill me in on some details.
    I found it belonged to the Flynn Family, the husband who was a land surveyor. He and his wife had six children. The guide showed me the photo's, then some of the family's belongings. I learnt a lot from the guide about this family.
    Afterwards, I was left to explore on my own.

    This 10 roomed house's architecture is Victorian Georgian. The inside is mostly clad with the red mahogany [now painted] that was used on the outside. The rooms have very high ceilings and windows and fireplaces in 7 of the main rooms. Although the rooms are furnished, much has been lent or given to give a nicer effect. I think my favorite was the Formal Dining room.

    ROTO HOUSE IS OPEN DAILY 10am – 4.30PM
    CLOSED on Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day morning.
    PHOTOS ARE ALLOWED
    Roto House is staffed by volunteers, so occasionally visitors may find it closed due to unavailability of staff.
    A 30 min walk from the town centre

    Dining room The newlyweds - John & Jessie Flynn Roto House Roto House Entrance hall in Roto House
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    HISTORICAL MUSEUM & GALLERY

    by balhannah Updated Nov 8, 2013

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    Located across the road from the Old Courthouse, is the Historical Museum & Gallery. The actual building it's located in, dates to between 1835 & 1840. When first built, it was used as a shop and dwelling. The building is constructed with hand made bricks and built in the style of the buildings in the first settlement. Most of it is the original building.

    The first room is where the volunteers were waiting to take my money [admission] - very cheap!
    After a little talk, I was given a pamphlet with details and how to not miss all of the 14 rooms and galleries.

    This Museum is all about telling the story of Port Macquarie from the first settlers to the Birpai people, then British settlement in 1821 and to how it is today, a tourist resort and somewhere the retirees make home!

    I began at the Foundation room, the first room off the entrance foyer. This room is where the beginnings of Port Macquarie are explained. It's here I learn about the Birpai aboriginal people, and see a tree trunk where they have carved a shield from and the Boomerangs they used, much different to the shop bought ones!. It then continues on to tell how the British discovered here in 1818, and how it became a penal colony in 1821, and then a free settlement in 1830.

    The Museum is one of the best I have seen in Australia. It was very interesting and had displays I had not seen in another Museum.

    OPEN Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 4.30pm
    ADMISSION IN 2013. Adults $5 Children $2 Families $2 Concession $3.50
    PHOTOS ARE ALLOWED WITHOUT A FLASH

    Next review is on some more of the inside of the Museum

    Historical Museum & gallery Shield carved from this tree trunk Original Boomerangs Port Macquaries 1st commandment
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    TACKING POINT

    by balhannah Written Nov 7, 2013

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    Tacking Point, where the Tacking Point Lighthouse is located, was named by explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802, during his 1802–1803 circumnavigation of Australia.
    In the mid 19th century, there were few lights in the Tacking Point area and over 20 ships were wrecked. The first wrecks occurred in 1823 and were the schooner Black Joe and the steamer Sumatra.
    There is a pathway leading to the edge of the cliffs from where I could see the many rocks in the Ocean, not hard to see why there were ship-wrecks here! The small navigational lighthouse was built putting an end to these disasters.

    The cliff top is a good spot for dolphin and whale watching.

    Tacking Point Tacking Point Tacking Point & Lighthouse Beach
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    BEACH & HEADLANDS WALK # 1

    by balhannah Updated Nov 9, 2013

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    I am starting the walk now I have been and seen the Tacking Point Lighthouse.
    I am heading along the road we have come in from and haven't gone very far, when I see a steep stairway leading down to a small cove on the right hand side of the road. I take a look at the steps at the same time thinking about the distance I had to walk [9km] to complete my journey, this made me to decide to sit on the well positioned seat and view from the top.
    I wouldn't have minded being down there as there were rocks pools, and I love looking in these! There were big rocks in this secluded cove, a little sand, and then stairs leading over the rocks on the far side which would take you to the next beach.

    Stop 1 Stop 1 Stop 1 Stop 1
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    BEACH & HEADLANDS WALK # 9

    by balhannah Written Nov 8, 2013

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    At Shelley beach I was surprised to find some very interesting wooden sculptures. The wooden sculptures were created in memory of Harry Thompson, an Artist and the unofficial Mayor of Shelly Beach who looked after the reserve. He created a lookout, which I stopped at next, a bush track of 254 hand carved steps and unique bush furniture.
    Located on the edge of the park, are a couple of unusual chairs known as King and Queen Chairs.
    I saw and unusual picnic table and cover, it really looked weird! Now I know it was a re-creation of Harry's Caravan! Memories of Harry from the people of Port Macquarie are told on the Spiral Pathway. Do have a close look at the sculptures to see the wooden Goannas carved into the side.
    At the top of the hill, where Harry's Lookout is located, there is an entrance archway which has become a very popular place for wedding ceremonies.
    The sculptures were completed in 2005.

    Harry's Sculpture King & Queen chairs @ Shelly Beach Harry's Caravan picnic shelter Harry's lookout Harry's Lookout
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    TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE

    by balhannah Written Nov 10, 2013

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    New in town, wonder where the info centre is, then ask a local like we did!

    The Information centre is in the new Glasshouse, a building that has seen a bit of controversy!
    You can't miss this building as its huge and made of all glass. There is street parking surrounding the building.
    The building has doors that open and close for you, just be a bit careful with them, as they tend to close on the next person about to walk through. This gave me a fright and I saw some others having the same problem, and they were like me.

    This centre has everything and plenty of people behind the counter to help with bookings, accommodation, tours, anything you wish to know. Souvenirs are available and plenty of free maps and information on Port Macquarie and surrounding areas.

    The Port Macquarie FREE HOLIDAY GUIDE is a must to pick up.
    It has maps of all the different trails, even where to find things to do in the city, the beaches, out of town, the scenic drives, DISCOUNT COUPONS, tours, dining, shopping and much more than I have mentioned, an excellent publication!
    In fact, Port Macquarie has gone all out to make it a very pleasurable stay in their city.

    Make this your first stop as I did, then I was armed and ready to enjoy my time in Port Macquarie.

    OPEN 7 DAYS
    9.00am to 5.30pm on weekdays, and 9.00am to 4.00pm on weekends and public holidays.

    The Glasshouse
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    BEACH & HEADLAND WALK # 10

    by balhannah Written Nov 8, 2013

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    Walking out of the rainforest from Harrys Lookout, I continued along Pacific Drive to where a park was located next to Nobbys Head. The park has picnic facilities including free bbqs' and free Toilets. For safety, the edges are fenced, still the views of the Ocean and Nobby's Head were excellent.

    I sat down at the table for a rest, and out from the bushes came a very large Goanna. He was in excellent condition and I know why. He hangs around this area waiting for people to have a bbq, hoping he will get some meat, his favorite food. A Goanna is very cheeky and will thieve if he can. This one was obviously used to humans as he walked by the table and me, flicking his tongue as he went. He soon discovered there was no food, so headed back into the bushes to wait for the next lot of people.

    WARNING

    Goannas should not be approached as they have sharp claws and teeth and are a wild animal.
    The goanna's heavy tail is a bit like a Crocodiles when it 's swung. It is heavy and has been known to knock small children and dogs over. Goannas that have been surprised and find they haven't a tree to climb, will climb a human, not good news because of their very sharp big claws. This happened to a cousin of mine on his farm. He happened to be the only thing in the area for the Goanna to climb.

    Goannas [Lace Monitor] are protected species throughout Australia.

    Goanna Goanna @ Knobbys Point picnic area. Goanna @ Knobbys Point picnic area.
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    BEACH & HEADLANDS WALK # 13

    by balhannah Updated Nov 9, 2013

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    My last Beach on my walk was Town Beach.
    As you most probably guessed, Town Beach is the closest beach to the town centre and is the most popular in Port Macquarie. The long beach, curves between the southern river entrance wall and Green Mound, a jagged headlad. There are numerous rocks in the surf increasing toward the Mound. It does has lovely fine sand, but has permanent rips against the entrance wall and the Mound - You shouldn't be swimming in this area.

    For swimming, DO SWIM BETWEEN THE FLAGS, where the Lifesavers are on patrol and ready to help if you have trouble. This location has been chosen because IT IS SAFE TO SWIM THERE.

    This is popular spot with board riders of which there were quite a few in the water the day I was there.
    Also why it's popular is that there is a Kiosk, a lawned picnic/bbq area, and FREE CAR PARKING which runs the length of the beach for 100 cars.

    This concludes my 9km walk along the beaches and headlands, one I really enjoyed and I hope you did too!
    I will now walk around the city centre.

    Town Beach Town Beach @ Port Macquarie
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    LIGHTHOUSE BEACH

    by balhannah Written Nov 7, 2013

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    My first day at Port Macquarie was spent mainly exploring the coastline.
    I decided to start at Lighthouse Beach, a beautiful 9 km stretch of lovely sandy beach. This beach is patrolled by lifeguards 5 days per week during school holidays October through to April. They were on patrol, but nobody was swimming, only a few surfers in the water.
    I wasn't on the beach, instead at the knob where the Lighthouse is located. From here there were wonderful views. I was hoping to see some Dolphins or Whales but didn't see either!
    I was at Tacking Point Lighthouse, and here were steps leading down to the beach.

    I didn't do this, you may. It sounds good to me, a Camel ride along the beach with Port Macquarie Camel Safaris. http://www.portmacquariecamels.com.au/

    Lighthouse Beach Lighthouse Beach Lighthouse Beach Lighthouse Beach
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    BEACH & HEADLANDS WALK # 8

    by balhannah Updated Nov 8, 2013

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    This trail is full of wonderful views! I have just walked from the small cove and have come out into a clearing to view another sandy beach, only this time it isn't quiet and secluded, instead there are lots of people swimming, picnicking and relaxing. Norfolk Island Pine trees line the car-park, of which there was plenty of FREE parking. The area has toilets and free BBQ's and picnic benches.
    This is Shelly Beach, a very popular beach because it features a natural tidal lagoon, ideal for families with small children.

    It is surrounded by rainforest that is home to local bush turkeys and goannas. I happened to see a couple of Bush Turkeys when I was there. If you haven't seen them before, then here is a chance to see them.
    The free Toilets actually had a cold water shower so you can wash the salt water off and get changed before hopping in the car/bus etc. and returning home.

    Shelly Beach Shelly Beach Shelly Beach Toilet  Block Bush Turkey @ Shelly Beach
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