The breakwall at Port Macquarie. A kilometre of spectacular ‘rock art’.
“How about we meet you half way? At Port Macquarie?”
Dinah and I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Our son James and his partner Shelby live in Sydney. Port Macquarie is roughly half way between the Sunny Coast and Sydney. So, in July we decided to hitch up our caravans respectively and meet them half way, in Port Macquarie for a week. Dinah and I had never been to Port Macquarie and from all we had heard it sounded like a great place to visit and camp. We decided to make a road trip of it, taking our time to get there. Leaving the Sunshine Coast, we headed south to Lennox Head, one of our favourite spots on the New South Wales North Coast. Having stayed at Lennox Head on a number of occasions, we knew the Lake Ainsworth Reflections Caravan Park well so 3 days camping beside one of the most beautiful lakes was our first stop. Great weather and just adjacent to the park, great surf on the long main beach. Check it out at: www.reflectionsholidayparks.com.au/park/lennoxhead/
From Lennox Head we travelled south about 230 kms to Sawtell, a small seaside town just south of Coffs Harbour. We had never been to Sawtell but knew fellow travellers who raved about the place. We’d pre-booked a caravan site at the beachside Big 4 Sawtell Beach Holiday Park. This is a great park offering both excellent caravan sites and camping sites and facilities, as well as self-contained cabins and all adjacent to beautiful Sawtell Beach.
Upon our arrival at BIG4 Sawtell Beach Holiday Park, we immediately noted the tranquility of the surrounding natural bushland and stunning water-views where we could enjoy a breath of fresh air, stroll down the bush tracks that take you directly to the pristine estuary and float along with the current to where the creek meets the beach. Sawtell’s popular service clubs, cafes, restaurants and boutique shopping are only a short stroll from the park in a unique village main street atmosphere. This is a great place to stay overnight, for a week or even longer. Check it out at: www.coffscosatholidayparks.com.au
Leaving Sawtell, we headed to Port Macquarie about 160 kms south. With a population of just under 50,000, Port Macquarie is beautifully located at the mouth of the Hastings River. It’s known for its beaches, wildlife and penal colony past. St. Thomas’ Anglican Church was built by convicts in the 19th century. A coastal walk from the town centre to the 19th-century Tacking Point Lighthouse offers views over waters home to whales and dolphins. Billabong Zoo is known for its koala breeding centre. Again, we had booked caravan sites for our two vans at Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park. This is a beautifully landscaped waterfront park, centrally located in Port Macquarie offering arguably the best holiday location bordered by the beach, the city centre and the Hastings River. The sites are spacious, roomy enough for your van and vehicle, and the wide lanes providing easy site access.
We had a great week here, enjoying fantastic weather, walking, fishing and relaxing by our vans. Happy hour couldn’t come soon enough each afternoon! As the photo on this blog depicts, the huge rocks that make up the river breakwall are brightly painted and feature personal message from residents and visitors. A number of the rocks offer tributes to local legends who have passed on. Walking along the breakwall watching the sun come up in the mornings is a very special experience. We would absolutely recommend this park if you are planning to visit Port Macquarie.Check it out at: www.nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/port-macquarie/
On the road again
Far too quickly it was time for James and Shelby to head home to Sydney and for Dinah and I to return north. We opted to break our journey home at Emerald Beach, just north of Coffs Harbour.Emerald Brach Discovery Holiday Park offers some of the best accommodation facilities around – spacious caravan and camping sites and fully self-contained cabins and a fantastic kids’ waterpark. Emerald Beach is also one of the region’s top beaches and surf spots. Local rivers and creeks are ideal for kayak or canoe exploration. Emerald Beach has some of the best caravan park facilities on the mid-North Coast. Everything is close by with the beautiful Emerald Beach is just a stone’s throw away and a perfect spot to swim, surf, snorkel and play in the ocean. Check it out at: www.discoveryholidayparks.com.au/Emerald_BeachIt’s also a great place to have a flat tyre, as we discovered the following morning. Fortunately for us, it was a caravan tyre and easy to remove so a trip into nearby Coffs Harbour and a visit to the Bridgestone Tyre Dealership (who were brilliantly helpful) and the problem was solved.
Back on the road and home to the Sunshine Coast. Seems like we crammed a lot into two weeks. It’s hard to go past the Australian east coast for a caravan holiday.
Tips for the Trip
As we always recommend, book ahead when possible, particularly for accommodation on the coast of Australian. The parks fill up quickly. And with so many travellers on the road all year round, there are busy not just in peak holiday times.
A great way to plan your road trip is with the WikiCamps app. You can check out what camps are in the area you plan to visit then book directly with the parks and properties. Rather than going through an online booking site or agent it’s easy and often you will get a better deal.
We keep a folder of caravan/holiday park layout maps from every park we visit or stay in. This way we can scout the park during our first visit and identify the best sites for future visits. Then request that specific site when we book that next visit.
Main picture: Unique rock art on the river break wall at Port Macquarie
- Reflections Breakwall Holiday Park is a great place to set up in Port
- Is this the best tent you’ve ever seen?
- Time to relax at the Royal Hotel as the sun goes down over Port
- James McCulloch in a somewhat pensive mood
- Dinah and Shelby enjoying the sunset – and a glass of wine
- Check out the the skate park for some extreme stuff
- Painted rocks line the breakwall
- Some with funny, some with quite poignant messages
- The glass is always half full at Port Macquarie!