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Posted on 9 August, 2018 in Updates, Tips & Tricks

Walking trails in Port Macquarie

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It doesn’t matter whether it’s for relaxation or for burning off your Sunday lunch. The Hastings region stands out in New South Wales as an area with some of the best walking trails. From the stunning waterfalls and unrivalled coastal views through to jaw-dropping natural wonders, there are walking trails in Port Macquarie that appeal to everyone.

We’ve put together this guide to walking trails in Port Macquarie so that you can take the opportunity to go out and explore our beautiful region. Here are our ten favourites for you to discover. Jog them solo or stroll with friends and drink it all in. We’re sure you’ll enjoy every step of the way.

 

1. Bonny Hills – Grants Beach Walk

The Grants Beach walking trail is 3.5km long. The trail goes from North Haven to the car park at Grants Head. As you walk the trail, you’ll experience the varied ecosystems alongside the sand dunes; there are eucalypt, paperbark and banksia woodlands as well as coastal heath. This means that the walk offers a lot to nature lovers, particularly early in spring as the native flowers bloom. You need to ensure that you take lots of water, because there aren’t any shops or taps along the trail. As you get closer to Grant’s Head, the trail is steep in places. It’s also quite sandy, so it’s not a suitable walk for people with prams or with mobility issues.

Aerial view of Bonny Hills coastline
Image courtesy of Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

The Grants Beach Walk is a one-way walk rather than a loop. For this reason, you’ll have to get someone to pick you up at the end, or catch a bus back to where you started. All in all, it’s a great way to kick off your experience of the walking trails in Port Macquarie.

Distance: 7km return

Walking Time: 1.5 – 2 hours

Difficulty: Moderately easy

2. Boorganna Nature Reserve – Rawson Falls Walk

If you’re planning a visit to Boorganna Nature Reserve, make sure you allow the time to do the Rawson Falls Walk. You can follow the track right down to the very bottom of the waterfall. There is a deep, tranquil, and just a little chilly plunge pool at its base. If you don’t feel like doing the whole trek, you can elect to take it a little easier and walk to the viewing platform, which is 3.4km return. You should allow the entire morning or afternoon for the return journey. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the 40m tall falls and the varied vegetation that surrounds. You will see all of the six types of forest that comprise the reserve.

Photo of waterfall near Port Macquarie
Image courtesy of Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

In spring, you should keep an eye out for the gorgeous flowering orange blossom and the spotted cinnamon orchids. In autumn, you’ll be dazzled by the fungi of the forest with all their bright colours. For the perfect day trip, pack lunch to eat at the picnic area and then take a revitalising swim underneath the falls. Beware of the leeches, though!  They are a little enthusiastic in this area. Also, the track can be slippery in places, especially when it has been raining. It’s not suitable for prams or very small children.

Distance: 5.4km return

Walking Time: 2.5 hours

Difficulty: Strenuous and tricky in some places.

3. Burrawan State Forest – Old Bottlebutt Walking Track

Burrawan State Forest is on Bago Road near Wauchope. The Old Bottlebutt Walking Track wanders through an area of rainforest, taking in creek crossings and footbridges. The highlight of this walking trail in Port Macquarie is the viewing area for the Old Bottlebutt, which is the largest Red Bloodwood tree in this hemisphere. This amazing tree has to be seen to be believed. It has significant natural heritage value and its estimated to be over 200 years old. It is one of the largest and most unusual trees of its species, in the world. One of the reasons for this is its recorded girth of over 16 metres. If you’re not feeling particularly energetic, a hardwood timber viewing deck with seating is the perfect location for quiet contemplation of Old Bottlebutt and the surrounding bush.

Distance: 0.6 km loop

Walking Time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Photo of hikers with dog

4. Crowdy Bay National Park – Diamond Head Loop Walk

Diamond Head loop walk is the perfect introduction to the magnificence of Crowdy Bay National Park and a star attraction on our list of walking trails in Port Macquarie. Starting at the Diamond Head campground, you’ll link up with the Headland walking track and the Forest walking track for an amble packed with highlights, which explain why this park is so noteworthy. The trail passes through heath and forests of paperbark and swamp mahogany. It’s thought that Diamond Head takes its name from the quartz crystals in the cliffs. You might see them sparkling in the sunlight on a bright day.

As you go along, don’t forget to pause and marvel at the exceptional views at Kylie’s lookout. You also must remember to scan the waters for dolphins and whales. The headland rises with great drama and offers a panoramic vista across Crowdy Bay, north to Perpendicular Point and south to Crowdy Head. In between these two points are broad sweeps of golden sand, and right behind you, rising out of the lush hinterland, are the breathtaking Three Brothers mountains.

Take a virtual tour of Diamond Head loop walk with the Google Street View Trekker.

Distance: 4.3 km loop

Walking Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Moderately difficult

 

5. Dooragan National Park – Laurieton Track

Part of the Three Brothers, this rousing walk to the picturesque summit that looks over Laurieton is not one to miss. The views are quite simply some of the best over the north of New South Wales. Laurieton track really is perfect for most intrepid nature lovers. It’s easily accessible and quickly transports you from the bustle of daily life to the serenity of the bush and its abundant wildlife.

Photo of North Brother Mountain, Laurieton
Image courtesy of Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

The trail progresses through towering eucalyptus and blackbutt forest, which makes it easy to imagine times past, when trees were felled to build the growing community of Laurieton. Some of the enormous old stumps are still dotted throughout the regenerating forests, as remnants of an earlier time. There are long, gnarly and steeply pitched sections on this walking trail. For this reason, bushwalking experience is recommended for those who undertake it.

Take a virtual tour of Laurieton track captured with Google Street View Trekker.

Distance: 6 km return

Walking Time: 5 hours

Difficulty: Difficult

6. Dooragan National Park – Rainforest Loop

Close to Laurieton and Port Macquarie, this relaxing walk takes you to the Summit picnic area, where you can enjoy scenic views and watching hang-gliders launch themselves from the summit. Rainforest loop is a relatively relaxed walk leading to the furthest end of the loop, where a small remote lookout platform looks back at Diamond Head. On the southern side of the loop, the rainforest – with its suspended gallery of birds nest ferns – plunges you into an amazing green cathedral.

Surprisingly few people use this track, so the casual picnic visitor to the lookouts could easily find a little piece of solitude and serenity in the cool harmony of the rainforest here. The highlight of this walk, which is one of the best walking trails in Port Macquarie, is really the gallery of birds nest ferns, epiphyte orchids, and other plants. These can be found on the southern part of the loop walk. There’s also an amazing and accessible example of a strangler fig close to the track, near the carpark end of the southern side of the loop walk.

Take a virtual tour of Rainforest loop captured with Google Street View Trekker.

Distance: 600m loop

Walking Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Short but moderately difficult

 

7. Lake Innes Nature Reserve – Googik Heritage Walking Track

There are few nicer ways to enjoy the sights that picturesque Port Macquarie has to offer than a hike or stroll along Googik Heritage walking track. Set in a pristine natural environment, the walking trail starts at Lake Innes Nature Reserve on Lake Road and extends south all the way to St Columba Anglican School.

Photo of Lake Innes Nature Reserve

While making your way along this track, you’ll discover some of the Port Macquarie area’s best-kept natural secrets. The track winds along gently undulating hills and, as well as the beautiful natural surroundings, allows you to see the local birdlife that call Lakes Innes Nature Reserve home, making it a lovely scenic journey for those who enjoy walking, cycling and birdwatching.

Take a virtual tour of Googik Heritage walking track captured with Google Street View Trekker.

Distance: 4km return

Walking Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

 

8. Kattang Nature Reserve – Perpendicular Point Walking Track

It’s not hard to see why this beautiful spot is a favourite among locals and nature-lovers alike. Wander through the shady grove on this short walk and you’ll emerge at majestic Perpendicular Point.

From the lookout, you’ll see north to Port Macquarie, south to Diamond Head, and southwest to the dramatic North Brother Mountain in Dooragan National Park. Sitting on the top of the sheer cliffs is a fantastic place to gaze out at the sparkling blue waters and a great vantage point for whale watching and spotting dolphins. To see the view south head to the nearby Charles Hamey lookout.

Photo of Point Perpendicular at Camden Haven
Image courtesy of Port Macquarie Hastings Council

You’re sure to see plenty of birdlife as honeyeaters come in to feed off the banksias and glossy black cockatoos nibble at the black she-oaks. If you’re a native flower lover, this easy walk is a must in early spring. You’ll see boronia, flannel flower, everlasting daisy and wedding bush dotted amongst the bushes.

Take a virtual tour of Perpendicular Point walking track captured with Google Street View Trekker.

Distance: 3.7km return

Walking Time: 1hr 30mins

Difficulty: Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

 

9. Port Macquarie – Kooloonbung Creek Walk

Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park is a 52 hectare park located in the centre of Port Macquarie. The park contains two walking trails. Due to the variety of different ecosystems within Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park, a wide variety of fauna can be found within the park. Koalas, sugar gliders, lizards, flying foxes and over 165 known bird species having been identified within the park making it a must-see for nature lovers staying in the area.

Photo of Kooloonbung Creek Reserve
Image courtesy of Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

There is also a historic cemetery that dates from 1821, which is home to the graves of some of notable early settlers. The Cath Le Page Arboretum, or the Garden of Trees, contains labelled native trees endemic to the area. Neither of the two circuits that are part of the larger Kooloonbung Creek Walk are suitable to prams or wheelchairs.

Distance: 4km return

Walking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Difficulty: Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

 

10. Sea Acres National Park – Rainforest Boardwalk

Many wonders of the rainforest reside above ground level, so getting up into the canopy is the best way to explore it properly. Rising seven metres through the forest understorey to the canopy above, Sea Acres Rainforest boardwalk provides the perfect platform from which to experience this busy habitat. Setting out from Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, you’re likely to see rainforest birds, like the scarlet robin, feeding and nesting in tree branches. When looking down, you should keep an eye out for goannas pretty (and mostly harmless) diamond python.

Photo of Palm Frond
Image courtesy of Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

This rainforest was a rich resource for the Biripai people. They used the walking stick palm as a travel aid and made weapons from the python tree, which is the second hardest wood in the world. On the walk, you’ll also encounter the educational Save our Koalas exhibit, which showcases six koala sculptures placed at intervals along the boardwalk.

Take a virtual tour of Sea Acres Rainforest boardwalk captured with Google Street View Trekker.

Distance: 4km return

Walking Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

11. Port Macquarie Coastal Walk

We couldn’t help but include a bonus trail, and of course it had to be the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk! Breathtaking coastal scenery frames our beautiful town. As dawn breaks on a new day and the sky puts on a spectacular show, our town is already a hive of activity! The glorious Port Macquarie Coastal Walk is packed with an energetic bunch, many with furry friends, who walk, run, cycle or skate, whilst taking in all this natural beauty. Join the track just outside The Westport Club as you weave 9km south along the Hastings River, the Breakwall and hug the coastline all the way to Tacking Point Lighthouse.

Photo of people completing Port Macquarie Coastal walk
Image courtesy of Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

Coffee is always a good idea at any time of the day! You can either start or finish your time on the track with a coffee, a chia pudding or some warm banana bread at the Hastings Coffee Co. stop and prop window – no need to go inside!

Don’t forget, your four-legged friends are catered for too, with a fresh water bowl and some tasty doggy treats. Stop and prop for a coffee with us at Hastings next time you’re out enjoying our town’s beautiful coastal walk.

Check out the coastal walk video

This video was made by local photographer and video producer Lindsay Moller Productions on behalf of Port Macquarie Hastings Council and we think it is just wonderful. It’s a fantastic insight into the beautiful coastal walks we are lucky enough to have in our backyard right here in Port Macquarie!

And that concludes our list of the best walking trails in Port Macquarie!

Now that you’ve read our round-up, all that remains is to choose one! And don’t forget that when all that walking is done, you’ll be famished at the end of it. That will be the ideal time to visit The Westport Club, and put your feet up.  No matter what time of day, we’ll serve you up something delicious at our dining facilities, so that you can recharge your batteries.

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