Port Macquarie Coastal Walk
You don’t have to be a hardcore hiker to complete (and actually enjoy) this nine-kilometre walk along Port Macquarie’s dramatic coastline. The well-graded trail meanders from Town Beach to Tacking Point Lighthouse, passing through Rocky Beach Lookout, Nobby’s Beach and Harry’s Lookout. While overlooking the turquoise sea, you might spot a dolphin or two, and it’s a great spot to be in between May and November, as humpack whales pass by on their yearly migration. You’ll pass water stations, public toilets and barbeques, and you can even stop at a café or two before you wash up on numerous sandy beaches safe for swimming, with choices ranging from the patrolled Town, Flynns and Lighthouse beaches, to Shelly Beach, a natural lagoon you can don your snorkel in. The return walk should take five to six hours, so easily doable in a day.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
At Port Macquarie Koala Hospital you can see for yourself the efforts being made to treat and rehabilitate injured or orphaned koalas (particularly those affected by the devastating 2019/2020 bushfires), and learn about the important conservation work being done by Koala Conservation Australia, the not-for-profit organisation that runs the hospital. Take a guided tour and meet some of the permanent residents who were rescued and are not healthy enough to be returned to the wild. You can even “adopt” a koala, by making a donation (sorry, you don’t get to take it home) or help fund a koala tree, to support an ongoing tree planting project aiming to regenerate critical koala habitat.

Kayaking
Port Macquarie’s geography is tailor-made for kayaking, with the serpentine Hastings River twisting around mangrove-fringed islands before it empties into the sea. Splash Kayaking offers group and private lessons, as well as two- and three-hour guided paddles (all suitable for beginners). Explore the waterfront and paddle across to Pelican Island and Settlement Point, where wildlife encounters are all but guaranteed. You might find yourself paddling alongside stingrays or turtles, as white-bellied sea eagles soar overhead. Woregore Nature Reserve is home to over 130 different species of birds, so you won’t be short of company. All safety equipment is provided, and tours are led by qualified Paddle Australia kayak instructors.

Sea Acres Rainforest Centre
Start your exploration of Sea Acres National Park at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre. The national park protects one of the largest patches of subtropical coastal remnant rainforest in NSW – and is home to rare birds, reptiles and mammals.

Take a walk along the raised Sea Acres Rainforest Boardwalk, which meanders 1.3 kilometres under the cool canopy, affording a great view of the wildlife below. Interpretive signs tell the stories of the Birpai people, who utilised the rainforest to live in harmony with the land for tens of thousands of years. Indigenous bush tucker and rainforest discovery tours depart daily.

The rainforest centre hosts exhibitions from local artists and has eco-displays, a gift shop and cafe. You can even book a spot at the monthly rainforest meditation sessions, to fully restore your zen.

Bago Maze and Winery
If you’re keen for a challenge (or just a glass of wine), head to Bago Maze and Winery. Try to make it through a large hedge maze, before heading to the Cellar Door to indulge in some local wine and a cheese platter. If the maze isn’t for you, make your way straight to the wine – you can sit back on the veranda and watch everyone else try to find their way to the finish point.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Port Macquarie.