What I’d been missing out on in Port Macquarie

So it is that I ask Mum to join me on the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk, in NSW. It’s a 9km (one-way) route that traces the stunning beaches the region is renowned for.

I’ve been holidaying in Port Macquarie since I was a little tacker and yet there is still so much to see, I soon discover.

The grade-4 trail starts at Westport Park, not far from the town center. The hike is easy-going, along a concrete path that follows Hastings River, past a grassy foreshore and cafes, beside the painted break wall and holiday park to popular Town Beach. It’s always hard to resist a dip at Town Beach, with its waves and rocky outcrops, but an overcast sky keeps us on track.

Tacking Point Lighthouse on the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk
Tacking Point Lighthouse on the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk. Picture: Jennifer Ennion

Shaded by shaggy casuarinas, we follow a new path up to Flagstaff Lookout for impressive views north. We then drop down onto the foreshore of another beach, and then another… and another. By the time we reach Flynns Beach, I wish I had packed my swimmers for a mid-hike dip. The water looks inviting and there are plenty of people – surfers, swimmers, and sandcastle builders – enjoying it. Mum’s completed the walk before, so on her advice, we decide to split it over two days. It’s a good thing, as by the time we reach Shelly Beach, it’s sprinkling rain.

Our second leg is more challenging. The air is thick and warm, even at 7am, and the trail is steeper. We walk down timber steps into rainforest, up around windy headlands, along soft sand and then repeat, until we reach our destination, Tacking Point Lighthouse.

Fortunately, Mum is a great distraction from the sweat-inducing hills. Our chatter is interrupted only by my repeated exclamation: “Wow, this beach is so beautiful,” to which Mum simply smiles. As mums often do, we talk about children and school holidays, along with Port’s great attractions (she wants to take me to Bago Maze) and its cafes (I want to go to Bandwagon). It’s the catch-up I’ve longed for, quality mum-and-daughter time; three hours of just us, huffing and puffing, chin-wagging, no nagging, photo-taking, and memory making.

Shelly Beach on Port Macquarie Coastal Walk
Shelly Beach on Port Macquarie Coastal Walk. Picture: Jennifer Ennion


  • 1 You’ll need to organise lifts to and from the trail, or leave a car at the other end.
  • 2 If you want to tackle the hike in one go, pack a picnic lunch and throw down a rug at Shelly Beach. Sometimes there’s a coffee van there, too.
  • 3 Don’t leave home without your camera. There are stunning views around every bend.
  • 4 It’s a grade-4 trail with plenty of ups and downs, so you will want to be reasonably fit. Carry two liters of water.
  • 5 Pack your swimmers, a towel and sunscreen.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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