Discover Port Macquarie
By Julie Jones, Have Wheelchair Will Travel and Travel Without Limits
As annual visitors to the Port Macquarie region we have come to know the best places to stay and play. We keep returning to the area because, not only does it offer a stunning beach escape, but it also provides a lovey accessible holiday for the whole family.
Port Macquarie has an extensive beach wheelchair program with Town Beach, Flynns Beach and Rainbow Beach (Bonny Hills) all offering a Sandcruiser beach wheelchair free to use. When the lifeguards are on duty, they are happy to assist. Accessible parking and bathrooms are also located at these locations.
Westport Park in Port Macquarie is home to a Livvi’s Place playground complete with a wheelchair accessible carousel, pirate ship and other accessible features including musical instruments.
Port Macquarie has an abundance of options when it comes to accessible attractions.
Sea Acres is a popular tourist attraction offering a 1.3 kilometre walk through the rainforest. Rising seven metres through the forest it is the perfect spot to enjoy the cool of the rainforest while spotting the extensive birdlife. Sea Acres boardwalk, cafe and bathroom are all wheelchair accessible.
Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital has been rehabilitating sick and injured koalas since 1973. The Koala Hospital is open to visitors each day and offers volunteer led tours. Getting to know the koalas who call the Koala Hospital home is free, but a donation does help ensure the centre can continue its important work.
The Koala Sculpture Trail consists of large scale, one-metre high fibre glass koala sculptures which have been decorated into beautiful pieces of original art by local artists. Grab a free Koala Sculptures map online or from the visitors centre and see how many you can spot around town.
Billabong Zoo is the perfect day out for any animal lovers. Meet a python, feed a kangaroo and watch the animal presentations offered by this accessible zoo.
One of the best ways to appreciate the Hastings River is to hire a BBQ boat. Pack your food, drinks, and something to barbecue and you are set for a few hours of checking out Port from the river. Keep an eye out for dolphins.
Just before sunset is the ideal time to take an accessible walk along the breakwall in Port Macquarie. It is popular with locals and visitors alike for the level access and the interesting graffiti left by visitors on the rocks along the way.
Located just 10 minutes north of Port Macquarie, Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries is a fun spot to visit on a non-beach day. At Ricardoes you can pick your own strawberries and stock up on a range of local produce. Their tomatoes are delicious!
The Bago Maze and Winery is about a 30-minute drive from Port Macquarie and is a favourite spot with local families. We love the fun of the maze and when we find our way out, we stop at the café for a reward. Speak to staff regarding wheelchair access when booking and they will usually allow you to drive your vehicle closer to the maze entrance.
Lake Cathie probably does not make it on to the must-see list of many tourists but when the lake is full it is a fabulous spot to swim for children or those who prefer calm waters. It is only about 30 minutes from Port Macquarie and makes a good day trip. An accessible fishing platform, with rod holders, makes this popular local fishing spot great for all anglers.
Port Macquarie offers a range of accessible accommodation to suit all budgets and family sizes. In Port Macquarie’s town centre, Northpoint Apartments has a three-bedroom accessible apartment with a view, Rydges offers a one-bedroom apartment conveniently located on the Town Green and Beachcomber has a two-bedroom accessible apartment. A little further out of town, but both located near an accessible beach, you can stay at Beachside Apartments, Flynns Beach and Reflections Holiday Park at Bonny Hills.
Port Macquarie offers all the conveniences of the city including a good hospital, but the fresh air and relaxed pace always results in our family leaving feeling rejuvenated and happy. We cannot wait to return.