This 72-hectare pocket was recently declared a national park, protecting the state's largest stand of coastal rainforest. It's alive with birds, goannas, brush turkeys and, so as to be truly authentic, mosquitoes (insect repellent is provided) The centre has an excellent cafe and, downstairs, audiovisual displays about the local Birpai people.
Make sure you time your visit to be here for the ‘koala patting’ (10.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm). The park has a koala-breeding centre, although if this facility is anything to go by, koala dating requires a lot of sitting around looking stoned. There are heaps of other Australian critters here, too, as well as monkeys and snow leopards.
Koalas living near urban areas are at risk from traffic and domestic animals, and between 200 and 300 end up in this shelter each year. You can walk around the open-air enclosures any time of the day, but you’ll learn more during the tours (3pm). Some of the longer-term patients have signs detailing their stories. Check the website for details of volunteer opportunities.
This civic and architectural showpiece (opened 2009) was built on the site of convict overseers’ cottages; archaeological artefacts from the original buildings are on display in the foyer and basement. The environmentally conscious structure houses the regional art gallery , a 600-seat theatre and the tourist information centre.
An 1836 house has been transformed into this surprisingly interesting little museum. Aboriginal and convict history are given due regard before more eclectic displays take over, including a 'street of shops' and a display of beautiful old clothes (including a whole section on underwear).
Encompassing 50 hectares of bush and wetland, this park is home to many bird species. A series of walking trails and wheelchair-accessible boardwalks heads through mangroves and casuarina forest. It also includes the Port Macquarie Historic Cemetery .
The old pilot station (1882) above Town Beach has been converted into a small maritime museum. There’s an even smaller extension of the museum in the 1890s Pilot's Boatshed at the Town Wharf.
This 1824 convict-built church is one of Australia’s oldest still-functioning churches. It still has its box pews and crenulated tower, aping the Norman churches of southern England.
This little lighthouse (1879) commands a headland offering immense views along the coast. It’s a great spot to watch the waves rolling in to long, beautiful Lighthouse Beach.