Timbertown is an attempt at creating what a community from the late 19th and early 20th century might have looked like.
Personally, I have always enjoyed the atmosphere there, except one day when I was doing a call at one of the restaurants and the temperature in the shade was, wait for it, 43 degrees. Heaven knows what it was in the carpark where I pulled up.
That day was an exception however and, with the wonderfully tall and shady trees around, it provided some relief. Most of the time it's very pleasant temperature wise.
This is a shot of Mandy and one of her horses. I wouldn't say Mandy likes horses. No, that would be totally inadequate. Passionately in love with our four footed bretheren would be getting closer but still inadequate. To find out how passionate, go see her and her horses. Allow half an hour if you're not interested in horses, all day if you are.
This delightful lady's name is Lee. Lee runs the team rooms at Timbertown and has recently bought the restaurant across the road and she's very nice to boot.
What this leads me to is the story behind Timbertown. Originally it was set up as a private venture and functioned that way for quite a few years. The restaurant at the front made money; I know this because I used to supply chemicals to the two Lebanese who ran it.
The whole project itself however was not really financially viable and, eventually, it was closing. Enter the local council who took over and ran it somewhat differently and, though it was still popular, money was being lost and they too decided closing was the only option. The good townsfolk of Wauchope, an easy 20 minutes inland from Port, found that the turnover at local businesses was down over 15% due to Timbertown's closure.
Thus, a little while later it reopened, with some private enterprise, some volunteers and a whole lot of goodwill.
Personally, I wish them well. It is extremely rare to find this type of attraction. A genuine attempt at rustic replication without all the hype and bluster of many other modern theme parks. Entry can be free but a donation in the box provided will help us all keep this type of venue operating.
We attended the Wednesday night Public Viewing and Presentation Night and were surprised to find more than 40 guests , the observatory was as tight as a jar of jelly beans. There was a central hall with a large screen where they showed a 20 minute documentary explaining the stars and universe, it was very well done. The presentation included astronautes in the space station and living with the change in gravity.
We then filed into the observatory room where each person had a very short time on the telescope which had been set up for a view of Saturn. Later in the evening we returned to the telescope to view Alpha Sentori. It was a most interesting evening a little hampered through the large attendance due to it being school holidays.
Viewings are scheduled for Wednesdays and Sundays and bookings are requested. Cost Au$15 family, $5 adults, $4 child.
The "Alma Doepel" is the only Australian built commercial square rigged sailing vessel to have survived. Presently moored at the town wharf the ship is being renovated and upon gaining a licence will be used as a sail training ship. Some details about this sailing ship:
Launched 10th October, 1903
Built at Belligen, NSW ( a few hours drive away)
Length (hull) 35.4 metres
Overall 45.57 metres
Breadth 8.1 metres
Draught 2.29 metres
Sail Area 387 m2
Tonnage 251 tons
Materials: Wood throughout except steel lower masts.
We were shown all over the ship, including the bunk area (18 bunks) and a glimpse of the engine room.
Well worth a visit and I recommend you allocate an hour as there is much to see. Entry AU$3 per person.
This museum is a must see for anyone visiting Port Macquarie who wishes to know a little about the history of the town and its pioneers. Initial settlement in 1821 was as a penal settlement and there are many exhibits within the museum relating to those days. The 2 story building has 14 rooms containing exhibits, some of the larger rooms having a mulitude of exhibits from the first years and right up to the 20th century with everyday furniture and applicances dating back to the pre and post WW11. Some rooms are set up to resemble how the pioneer families lived, a combined bedroom for parents and child etc etc.
Give yourself at least an hour or longer to see the exhibits, it is well worth the time and entry is very cheap.
Scattered around the venue are bits of equipment and machinery, such as this steam tractor here.
It all adds to the atmosphere and there are no security guards around to keep you at arms length. You can touch and feel the beasts and, as described elsewhere, hear their roar as they burst with life.
It costs nothing to get in and thus is one of the best value theme parks anywhere!
This market is located approx 5 minutes drive from town along the Hastings River Drive. There were about 40 stalls selling everything from old tools , locally grown fruit & vegetables, craft, flowers and snack food and drinks.
The market is run by the local Art Society which also opens it Gallery, which is an old house on the site, and has many painting on display and sale.
Well worth a visit and I am sure the kids will love it. The market is open every Sunday, 8am to 1pm.
The Hastings River is a great place to fish, just in front of the town centre there is a rocky breakwall all the way to the river mouth, it is from this point you can see fishermen enjoying their sport. We went for a walk along the riverfront mid morning and saw several fishermen in action, one guy was particularly successful catching 2 large Blackfish during the 10 minutes we watched. The weather was so good it was a joy to be down by the river.
There are many more engines than train engines on display however. There is a replica old timber mill with machines still working, tended by keen volunteers.
The sound of the piston punching power through and the sight of a massive flywheel continuing the power brings a glow to the hearts of the mechanically minded.
Actually seeing these old machines working is something that many children find fascinating.
As you enter Timbertown, one of the first things you come across is the railway station. There is a small loop of railway track and the train, with passenger carriages, goes every hour.
The exuding steam gasping in the filtered sunlight, the whistle beckoning patrons, the chuff-chuff as it commences its run, just try keeping your kids off that one!
The train is of the type used to haul logs a century ago and its circuit through the forest is a fair indicator of the type of terrain this vehicle would have traversed in its heyday.
One of Australia's best known waterfalls, Ellenborough is situated on the high plateau and lush rolling hills around Elands, about an hour's drive from Port Macquarie.
These days there are some good facilities there. For instance, there is a kiosk, toilets, tables and chairs and a sealed carpark, the latter in contrast to the dirt road you will have to traverse to get there.
There is a 600 metre walk around to the opposite side where there is a lookout and a wooden stairway to the base of the falls.
These falls are one of scores that abound in the area. To find the others requires research or someone who knows the area.
You can see some of what I'm talking about in my Comboyne pages.
One of the unspoilt gems of the Australian rainforest, this is one of the most accessible yet least visited areas I know of.
Stunningly beautiful waterfalls, magnificent forest, abundant wildlife; it's all there for the nature lover and only 40 minutes from Port Macquarie.
Apart from Ellenborough Falls, hardly anyone is aware of how many cascades they are driving past. I've unearthed scores over the last decade and continue to be amazed at the wealth of beauty that abounds in this area. If all that isn't enough then the vistas off Upper Landsdowne Road across to the Tasman Sea would be enough to satisfy the jaded viewer of landscapes.
There is limited accommodation in the town so staying at Port Macquarie isn't a bad option if you want to see the area. There is a cafe and small supermarket in the town when you're up there so you won't starve.
We were looking through the "Alma Doepel" sailing ship when I heard an engine roar, looking up I saw the float plane 20 metres away roaring its engine and preparing for take off. We quickly took a few more photos and watched as the small plane eventually got airborne about 300 metres away.
Light planes are not for me but for those interested in Adventure Flights, scenic and thrillseeker flights then give Akuna Seaplanes a call.
At the end of the Uptin Walk there is Flagstaff Hill, just 83 steps up and you're there..........or, 83 steps down and you're not there! It has a seat to rest on and lovely views back towards Town Beach and on to Oxley Beach.
From here it becomes the Doctor's Walk that takes you around to Windmill Hill Lookout and the appropriately named Rocky Beach, a name that highlights the problems associated with surfing around Port, i.e. most of the beaches have rocky reefs and small islands which cause chaos to the wave patterns.
This does not detract from the scenic beauty of the walk however, in fact, it may even enhance it.
An excellent example of an early colonial building in the Port Macquarie town centre. The Courthouse was built in 1869 and now restored it has been a tourist venue since 1993.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 3:30pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm.