Just one hour flying time from Sydney, Port Macquarie, on the NSW Mid North Coast, it the perfect weekend destination. No longer is it known for being a place for the older generation to retire to, it is now a thriving beach town with something for everyone of all ages and tastes.
This rapidly growing little beach town is full of life and attracts all sorts of people during the summer holidays with tonnes of fantastic beaches, picture perfect coastal walks and drives and an abundance of great places to eat and drink in the evening.
Being located in a region known to have one of the best climates of any region in the world, you can visit Port Macquarie and take advantage of all its glory any time of year.
So why not hop on a plane and head straight there. With my Port Macquarie weekend itinerary, I’ll take all of the work out of the weekend for you, giving you lots of choices when it comes to things to see and do, where to stay and where to eat.
Where to Stay
First thing to figure out anytime you go on holiday is where to stay. In Port Macquarie you have an abundance of choice and something to suite every budget.
I have listed my top three picks in each cost category below, but I have written a longer post on Where to Stay in Port Macquarie that you can check out for six more fantastic options.
Budget – Ozzie Pozzie Backpackers, Port Macquarie YHA
Address: 36 Waugh St, Port Macquarie
Room Types: Double/Twin Shared Bathroom | Double/Twin Private Bathroom | Triple Private Bathroom | Mixed 6-Bed Dorm | Male/Female 6-Bed Dorm | Mixed 4-Bed Dorm | Single Shared Bathroom
An easy walk to both the beaches and town, Ozzie Pozzie is a hostel with real character and lots of included extras. Relax in the hammocks in the courtyard, take a dip in the pool, enjoy free wi-fi, relax in the communal living room fitted with a TV and over 100 movies, easily book tours at the tour desk and hire free body boards from the front desk.
Mid-Range – Ocean Breeze Motel
Address: 24 Burrawan St, Port Macquarie
Room Types: King | Standard Double | One Bedroom Suite | Two Bedroom Suite | Two Bedroom Apartment | Standard Single
Located 700m from the beach, the Ocean Breeze Motel is one of the best located places to stay in this category. Relax in the on-site gardens or in the fully air conditioned rooms, some of which have sea views. The apartments are self contained with kitchenette, dining table and outdoor living area.
Luxury – Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges
Address: 20 Park St, Port Macquarie
Room Types: Standard King | Superior King | King Garden View | King Water View | Executive Suite | Superior Suite | Garden Studio | Water View Studio
Located at Pelican Bay on the stunning Hastings River, this very comfortable resort features rooms with views of the river and luscious surrounding gardens. The resort boasts swimming pool surrounded by private cabanas, entertainment, private jetty, paddle boards and many more amazing amenities. Rooms are fully air conditioned and have either a balcony or patio. Enjoy the onsite restaurant or its just a short drive into the centre of town.
Where to Eat
Port Macquarie is fast becoming quite the foodie destination with local restaurateurs embracing the local produce concept. Of course, being a beachside town there is a large array of fresh seafood on offer, but also being a country town, you’ll also find fantastically fresh meat and local produce grown not so far away.
Here are my picks for places to eat in Port Macquarie for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between!
Cafe Red @ Ricardoes Tomatoes – Breakfast or Lunch
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Located onsite at Ricardoes Tomatoes, Cafe Red offers up dishes showcasing local produce, some of which is grown right there on their farm. The food is simple but highly delicious and has that home cooked feel about it. Every time I am driving past on the north coast I stop in here for the scones, supposedly the best in the world!
Address: 221 Blackmans Point Rd, Blackmans Point
Hours: 7 days, 9am – 3pm
Bookings: Not required
twotriplefour – Lunch
The food philosophy at twotriplefour is proudly local paddock to plate with the majority of the ingredients used to create the ever changing menu sourced from within a 50km of Port Macquarie. and then menu changes regularly to accommodate what’s fresh and in season. The modern menu is a series of grazing plates, perfect for sharing as well as a few larger main course which you can choose to share also or enjoy all to yourself. If the spanner crab dip is on the menu when you visit, do yourself a favour and not miss this one!
Address: 10 Winery Drive, Port Macquarie
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4pm
Bookings: Highly recommended, see the website below
Makimoto – Lunch or Dinner
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Lovers of hearty Japanese cuisine will love this lively restaurant located right in the heart of town. The food comes out fast and is as fresh as you can get with all the Japanese favourite on the menu including lightly battered tempura, hot noodle soups, sashimi fresh from the ocean, creative sushi rolls and traditional meat dishes such as teriyaki. While this is my no means a fancy restaurant, it is a very fresh, tasty and affordable option.
Address: Shop 2/22 Horton St, Port Macquarie
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday serving lunch 12pm-2.30pm and dinner 6pm-10.30pm
Bookings: Highly recommended for dinner as it is always busy, you could just walk-in for lunch.
The Beach House – Drinks, Lunch or Dinner
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This pub style restaurant has prime position right on the Hasting River waterfront and right in the heart of town. It is a favourite among the locals for celebrations and just a place to hangout for a drink with a fantastic lively atmosphere. While you are welcome at The Beach House for just a drink, if you feel like a meal you’ll find a menu full of pub classics such as steaks, roast chicken, salads, burgers and fish & chips.
Address: 1 Horton St, Port Macquarie
Hours: 7 days 11am-9pm
Bookings: If you are planning to eat a meal here then I highly recommend booking as the prime waterfront location makes it a very popular choice.
Off The Hook Fish & Chips – Takeaway Lunch or Dinner
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For the freshest takeaway fish and chips in the heart of Port Macquarie, you can’t go past Off the Hook! They pride themselves on being local and it shows as this is where the locals go to get their fish and chip fix. A great way to enjoy this is to grab your order and wander over to eat it by the river.
Address: 5/2 Horton St, Port Macquarie
Hours: 7 days 11am-8pm
Bookings: Not bookings required
Botanic Wine Garden – Drinks or Dinner
Hands down the best place to eat (and have a drink) in Port Macquarie (in my humble opinion). Located in the heart of town with a very relaxed and funky dining space, the Botanic Wine Garden has an exquisite ever changing menu of modern delights that you didn’t even know you were craving. This all comes with a carefully curated wine list that is one of the best I’ve seen in a restaurant in a long time. Don’t leave without having the bavette (type of steak) if it is on the menu!
Address: Shop 3, Garrison Building, 26 Clarence St, Port Macquarie
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 5pm til late
Bookings: To avoid missing out I recommend booking
What to See & Do
The perfect way to start your time in Port Macquarie is with a walk along the Port Macquarie Town Beach Breakwall. From here you’ll get to see the Hastings River and the main beach in town aptly named Town Beach.
Next head just outside of town to the Cassegrain Winery. Have a wine tasting in the beautiful old cellar while admiring the aging whine barrels. Maybe have a cheeky gourmet lunch there after the tasting (as recommended above!).
After lunch it is time to hit the beaches for some well deserved relaxation. You’ve got plenty to choose from. Of course there is the earlier mentioned Town Beach, or you could continue along the coast road further south to the popular Flynns Beach or enjoy the longest stretch of sand in the region at Lighthouse Beach.
On morning two a short trip just outside of town to Ricardoes Tomatoes is in order. Here you can pick your own strawberries fresh from the farm and enjoy and delicious breakfast )as recommended above) in the onsite cafe.
With a full belly, its time for a scenic drive to take in more of that stunning coastline. Start on Pacific Drive at Oxley Beach and continue your drive south along the coast stopping off along the way at beaches for a swim and lookout points until you get to the town of Laurieton. Make sure you stop at the Tacking Point Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses still standing in Australia.
End your weekend with some more beach time, or a stroll through the main part of town to browse in the shops.
For more details on all things to see and do in Port Macquarie, I have written a longer post detailing each things. You can check it out here.
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Over to you!
Which part of this Port Macquarie weekend itinerary are you most looking forward to doing?
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Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.