We’re officially on our way up the East Coast of Australia, and took our first Greyhound from Newcastle to Port Macquarie (a very smelly trip I might add). We arrived at 12:55pm on Sunday 14 January, and left at 12:55pm on Monday 15 January, giving us only 24 hours in the quaint seaside town.
Here are our recommendations on how to make the most out of 24 hours in Port Macquarie:
1. Painted Rocks
Along the southern breakwall of Port Macquarie’s Hastings River, you will find hundreds of hand painted rocks. It started in 1995 as a local art competition, but quickly turned into an international gallery. A walk along the breakwall is the easiest way to see the whole attraction. The painted rocks begin at Port Macquarie’s Town Green, and extends along the river and past the skate park, through to Town Beach.
2. The Koala Hospital
The Koala Hospital was established in 1973, to help rehabilitate sick and injured koalas. Paid staff run the hospital, and over 200 volunteers help with yard duties, maintenance, admin, fundraising and koala rescue. Every day at 3pm, you’re welcome to visit the Koala Hospital for a free guided tour. The hospital consists of a treatment room, 8 Intensive Care Units, 6 outdoor intensive care units and 33 rehabilitation yards. Roughly 250 koalas visit the hospital each year; some live on-site permanently, while others stay until they are better, and are put back where they are found! The Koala Hospital offers excellent care and information, we highly recommend a visit.
3. Explore Local Beaches
With 17 beaches in Port Macquarie, you are bound to find one that is just right for you! Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to stop and have a picnic, go fishing or an opportunity to learn how to surf, there are plenty of picturesque beaches to choose from. We were fortunate enough to have a spot on Flynn’s Beach all to ourselves!
4. Follow The “Hello Koala Sculpture Trail”
When walking around the Port Macquarie-Hastings region, you’ll find 62 uniquely designed and hand-painted koala sculptures, by selected local artists. Now on permanent display, this multi-award winning attraction is a great way to explore the local area, and you can easily spend the afternoon tracking them all down. All you have to do is follow the map!
5. Enjoy Fish and Chips Along the Seafront
There were lots of seafood restaurants around, and we stopped for dinner at Mike’s Seafood on Hay Street. Their evening special was very appealing — 2 Fish and Chips for $15 — and we had to wait in a queue just to get in. As they were pretty busy, the food took about 20 minutes to make, but it was hot, fresh and delicious. We started nibbling inside the restaurant, and finished the meal as we walked back to our hostel. YUM!
6. Spot Dolphins at the Marina
We started the coastal walk by the marina, and Matt yells, startling me: “DID YOU SEE THAT DOLPHIN?!”. There was only one dolphin, but it was happy swimming in the shallow water, oblivious to our excitement on land. The area was quiet, and no one else was around, so we enjoyed watching it swim back and forth, trying to guess where it would pop up next. Apparently, this is a great spot to see the dolphins and we just stumbled upon it!
When booking in our accommodation and Greyhound busses for the east coast, we were advised that a day in Port Macquarie would be more than enough time — but I would disagree. We could have easily spent more time here, especially on the beach and at our hostel, YHA Ozzie Pozzie Backpackers. We’ll definitely be back soon!