Port Macquarie is a charming coastal city halfway up the coast in New South Wales, known for it’s beautiful beaches, epic surf and the world famous Koala Hospital.
The beaches here at Port Mac – as the locals like to call it, are some of the best along the whole of Australia’s East Coast!
Let’s take a look at the 7 beaches you have to visit when you’re in Port Macquarie!
Does Port Macquarie Have Nice Beaches?
Incase you hadn’t guessed, the answer to this question is a resounding YES! Port Macquarie has some absolutely spectacular beaches. The beaches in Port Macquarie are all unique, all very beautiful and all offer something different.
Whether you’re after a dog beach, a surf beach, a secluded beach, a beach for the kids to swim at or even a beach where you can ride on a camel (!) you’ll find a real variety of beaches here at Port Macquarie.
There’s even a nudist beach if that’s what you’re after, but sadly that didn’t make it into this list.
PORT MACQUARIE BEACHES
The great thing about the beaches in Port Macquarie is that they can all be accessed on the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk. This scenic coastal walk connects all of Port Macquarie’s beaches and takes around 3 hours to complete.
Due to it’s convenient location near the centre of town, Town Beach is one of Port Macquarie’s most popular beaches. As it is so centrally located you could say Town Beach is the main beach of Port Macquarie.
Town Beach is a really lovely beach – great for surfing with it’s consistent swell, and is the perfect spot to view sunrise or sunset.
You’ll find Salty Crew Kiosk here serving great coffee and meals (and great views!), as well as some picnic spots, toilets and showers.
There’s also an outdoor gym and a skate park on the other side of the breakwall, and you’ll find plenty of space to park your car too.
If you go up to Town Beach Park and Gaol Point Lookout (also known as Lions Park and Lookout) above the beach you’ll get stunning views over the beach and ocean.
Also head over to the break wall at the northern end of Town Beach and see all the colourful painted rocks!
At the southern end of Town Beach is where you’ll find the scenic coastal walk pathway that will take you to all the beaches in Port Macquarie.
Oxley Beach is separated from Town Beach by Flagstaff Hill, which I definitely recommend you to visit as it has stunning views over both beaches!
Oxley Beach is a much less crowded and quieter beach than adjacent Town Beach, yet equally as stunning.
The isolated sandy and pebbly beach of Rocky Beach is another beach in Port Macquarie worth checking out.
Above the beach you’ll see the Rocky Beach Lookout, which is a great place for whale watching in early winter through to spring, as well as also being a popular spot for hang-gliding and paragliding.
Flynns Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Port Macquarie and is definitely a favourite so it shouldn’t be missed when in Port Macquarie!
This beautiful 500 metre sandy beach is great for a swim, especially in the warmer months as lifeguards patrol the beach from September to April.
Flynns Beach is situated between two headlands which is great as the beach is protected a lot from winds. It’s ideal for families and people of all ages, and there’s plenty shaded spots due to the big pine trees.
You’ll also find the Flynns Beach Surf Club here which has a kiosk serving lots of great meals. There are also shaded picnic areas, BBQs, public toilets and water refill stations here at Flynns Beach.
Located just behind the beach is Tuppenny Road where you will find the cafe Sandbox (open 7am-3pm 7 days a week). They do great breakfasts and lunch.
If you walk south along Flynns Beach towards the headland you’ll see some stairs. Take these and they will lead you to Nobbys Beach.
At 400 metres long and also protected on either side by rocky headlands, Nobbys Beach is another one of Port Macquarie’s beaches worth exploring.
Nobby’s Beach is a dog friendly beach so it’s a popular spot for dog walkers and their furry friends.
Nobby’s Beach is the only beach in Port Macquarie that is completely dog friendly – some other beaches (such as Lighthouse Beach) only have sections along the beach that are dog friendly.
Whilst it’s great for a swim, bear in mind Nobby’s Beach is not patrolled so always let someone know before you go swimming and don’t go in if the water looks too rough. The beach is beautiful with the many large rocks in the middle of the beach.
Walk along Nobbys Beach and take the path at the end of the beach that will lead you to Shelly Beach. Note at high tide it may be inaccessible due to the rocky area.
Another one of the best beaches in Port Macquarie is Shelly Beach, located south of Nobby Head.
Shelly Beach is a lovely quiet and secluded beach, making it the perfect spot if you wish visit somewhere a bit less busy and have some peace and quiet.
At around a kilometre long, Shelly Beach is just stunning. The white sandy beach has the most beautiful backdrop of lush rainforest and there’s also a natural tidal lagoon here.
There’s plenty sunny spots but also lots of shaded areas if you want to escape for the sun.
There’s also a BBQ, picnic area and toilets here at Shelly Beach, so it is the perfect spot to stop and have a picnic. Note that there are strong rip tide currents and no lifeguard patrol here.
The most southern beach in the town of Port Macquarie is Lighthouse Beach. At 9km long, Lighthouse Beach is the longest beach in Port Macquarie – making it perfect for long walks and escaping the crowds.
It’s a beautiful beach and the surf is great here due to the powerful waves.
It is a really popular spot for surfers of an intermediate to advanced level (it’s not recommended for beginners as there are lots of rips and strong currents here). Lighthouse Beach is also very popular with kitesurfer.
Lighthouse Beach also offers protection from the north-easterly winds so it is much appreciated during the summer months!
The Tacking Point Surf Club is located here on the beach and you’ll find toilets and a kiosk here – perfect if you need an ice-cream or a nice cold drink to cool down.
Tacking Point Lighthouse is located at the northern part of the beach, and roughly a kilometre down the beach you’ll find the large Watonga Rocks that are really impressive.
The views across to Tacking Point Lighthouse from Watonga Rocks is really lovely, and it’s definitely worth heading to the lighthouse (more information about it below!).
The section of the beach after Watonga Rocks is an off-leash dog area, and about 400 metres south of Watonga Rocks you’ll find the Port Macquarie Camel Safaris. That’s right – you can even go on a camel ride here at Lighthouse Beach!
Camel riding on the beach is a great activity, and here it is similar to the camel rides at Birubi Beach in Port Stephens and on Cable Beach in Broome.
No bookings are required for the camel rides, just turn up! They are open 9.30am until 1pm, or between 9am-2pm in NSW holidays.
Port Macquarie Camel Safaris operate every day weather permitting, except on Saturdays and Christmas Day.
The prices for the camel rides are very reasonable, at $40 for adults and $30 for children aged 5-17 ($20 for children and 3-4, who must ride with a paying adult).
It’s very important to remember to bring cash as they have no EFTPOS machine!!
Lighthouse Beach is 7km south of the centre of Port Macquarie. If coming on public transport, the bus stop where you’ll need to go to get the bus back to Port Macquarie is just behind here on Matthew Flinders Drive (opposite Glen Street).
Click here to see the exact location of the bus stop on Google Maps.
PORT MACQUARIE COASTAL WALK
If you want to see all of the above Port Macquarie beaches by walking, you can do the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk.
The Port Macquarie Coastal Walk links all of Port Macquarie Beaches – starting at Town Beach and ending at Tacking Point Lighthouse. It is a 9km walk one way.
It should take around 3 hours to walk the entire Port Macquarie Coastal Walk. If you don’t think you can walk that far or you just don’t have enough time, you can always do a section of the walk.
It is also easy and really convenient to drive to each beach and stop, meaning you’ll still get to see all the beaches along the walk but you won’t have to walk 9km!
All parking in Port Macquarie is free so you won’t need to spend any money on parking tickets.
Remember the walk is 9km one way, so if you do plan to walk it all you will need to get back to Port Macquarie when you get to the lighthouse.
The 322 bus goes from Lighthouse Plaza back to Port Macquarie centre – click here to see the bus route and click here to see the 322 bus timetable. Buses run roughly every hour.
Things To Do Near Port Macquarie Beaches:
Tacking Point Lighthouse
Heritage Listed Tacking Point Lighthouse was built in 1879 and offers nice views down over Lighthouse Beach. The lighthouse is the thirteenth oldest lighthouse in Australia. It is incredibly picturesque and quite unique in it’s features.
If you’re here during the cooler months of April to October be sure to look out for the humpback whales on their annual migration – this is a great whale watching spot!
Lighthouse Walking Track
The Lighthouse Walking Track leads you down a 600 metre track that will provide you with stunning views over Tacking Point Lighthouse and Lighthouse Beach in the background.
This viewpoint provides a 230 degree angle and is a bit of a hidden secret only known by the locals.
Tourists tend to all go to the lighthouse to see the view and are all crammed together, whilst up on this lookout you can have stunning views across to the beach and look down onto the lighthouse without the crowds of people.
Plus the views from this lookout are far better than from the lighthouse!
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
No visit to Port Macquarie is complete without a visit to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital looks after sick koalas and koalas injured through bushfires, motor vehicle accidents and dog attacks.
Established in 1973 it is the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to koalas. It has one treatment room, eight Intensive Care Units and several recovery yards for the koalas.
It also has a 24 Hour Rescue and Treatment operation. Normally anything between 200 and 250 koalas are admitted here every year.
You may have heard about Port Macquarie Koala Hospital during the devastating bushfires of 2019/2020 when it was thrown into the limelight on news channels around the world as many koalas were brought here from all over Australia after suffering horrific bushfire injuries.
Sadly many didn’t make it, but many were also successfully released back into the wild.
Entry to the koala hospital is free (although donations are very much welcomed and encouraged).
The Koala Hospital is located within the grounds of the beautiful and historic Roto House on Lord Street. It can be accessed via Little Owen Street or Roto Place.
If you have the time you should definitely spend some time at Roto House after your visit to the Koala Hospital.
Sea Acres Rainforest Centre
Located just after Shelly Beach, Sea Acres Nature Reserve is one of the largest remaining coastal Rainforest reserves in NSW.
If you have the time I definitely recommend to go to the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre and do the Sea Acres Rainforest Board Walk.
It is free to access the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre where you can learn about the Aboriginal culture and rainforest, as well as see exhibitions by local artists.
If you want to walk along the 1.3km Rainforest Boardwalk it will cost $9 for adults. A guided tour is included in the price or you can walk along the boardwalk alone if you wish.
The boardwalk is a great place to explore the rainforest as many animals in the rainforest stay above ground level.
By getting up into the rainforest canopy which is seven metres above the ground you can really explore the rainforest properly. You’ll be likely to encounter many birds, goannas and even the diamond python!
The Rainforest Cafe here serves some really great food to breakfast and lunch if you fancy something to eat (open 9am – 4.30pm)! Click here to see the menu!
How to get to Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie lies directly halfway between Sydney and Byron Bay (385km from either place). By car it should take you just over 4 hours to reach either from Port Macquarie without stops.
Travelling by car is the easiest way to get here, although you can still reach Port Macquarie by public transport.
If you will be travelling by train, you can reach Port Macquarie on the Sydney to Brisbane line. The train stops at Wauchope and from here it is 20 minutes to Port Macquarie by coach.
Best Time To Visit Port Macquarie
Luckily Port Macquarie enjoys sunshine for the majority of the year. The summer months of December to February can be quite hot, so spring and autumn are ideal times to visit.
More Australia East Coast Travel Itineraries:
The East Coast of Australia is great for a road trip – it’s full of beautiful scenery, from stunning waterfalls to beaches and coastal walks.
If you’re set on planning an East Coast road trip itinerary, check out these other travel guides to help you plan your trip!
Fraser Island: Fraser Island Day Trip From Hervey Bay
Pelican Banks: Unknown Tropical Paradise Island In Australia!
Brisbane: 24 Hours in Brisbane
Fingal Head: The Giants Causeway in Australia!
Byron Bay: Snorkelling with leopard sharks at Julian Rocks in Byron Bay!
Nimbin: Things To Do In Nimbin
Yamba: What To Do In Yamba
Seal Rocks: Top Things To Do At Seal Rocks
Forster: Booti Booti National Park Walks
Great Lakes: Cellitos Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in NSW!
Port Stephens: Camel Rides & Stockton Sand Dunes
Newcastle: The Bogey Hole – Secret Ocean Pool!
Lake Macquarie: Caves Beach – NSW Best Sea Caves!
Central Coast: Bouddi National Park Walk
Broken Bay: Pearl Beach To Patonga
Sydney: The Best Beaches Near Bondi Beach!
Southern Highlands: Fitzroy Falls Walk
Northern Illawarra: Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout
Southern Illawarra: 14 Best Things To Do In Kiama!
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