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Pull up to Port for more than just the whales

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Wild About Whales
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Things to do
Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon National Park. Photo: H.Creamer/OEH

Whale watching is just one of the great experiences on offer in the national parks of the Port Macquarie region. But there is so much more on offer in the area, especially at this time of year, to make your coastal adventure one to remember. Think long scenic bushwalks, discovering a little bit of history, checking out the other wildlife and enjoying fun educational tours.

The NSW national parks in the Port Macquarie region, including Sea Acres National Park, which is right on the doorstep of Port Macquarie, Macquarie Nature Reserve, Limeburners Creek National Park, Arakoon National Park and Hat Head National Park, all offer some great things to see and do during the whale watching season.

Here are a few must-dos:

Great Walks

You have to check out Sea Acres National Park. This park is one of the largest remaining coastal rainforests on the Australian east coast - the rainforest literally runs all the way to the beach. It's best explored via the Sea Acres Rainforest Boardwalk, with an elevated walkway making it an easy stroll that you can enjoy at your own pace, or you can join a guided tour where you can explore the many wonders of the busy rainforest habitat. Drop by for a coffee and cake at the café nestled in the rainforest at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre.

The Port Macquarie Coastal Walk is another great way to see the rainforest and beach side of Sea Acres. You'll see several historical sites along the way and enjoy the stunning seaside scenery that surrounds Port Macquarie.

Further north in Limeburners Creek National Park you can take the Big Hill Rainforest Walking Track to experience what the landscape looked like when ancient Aboriginal people first stood on the headlands. The short loop winds around the top of the headlands and makes a great vantage point for whale watching. Great views can also be had from the Monument Hill Walking Track in the Arakoon National Park. The monument half way along the track was built as a tribute to German internees who passed away in Trial Bay Gaol during World War I. The walk offers stunning coastal views, especially at the summit, as well as gorgeous heathlands and abundant wildflowers.

Whales Discovery Tours

Enjoy Wild About Whales - Whales on the move at Trial Bay Gaol in Arakoon National Park. This is a fantastic whale watching hot spot where you can learn about the annual whale migration from expert rangers. Remember to bring your binoculars, and for the kids some short children's activities include storytelling and whale puzzles. Fees apply to large groups.


Yoga in a national park? Yep you heard right! Find peace and relaxation with a guided meditative walk through the beauty of Sea Acres National Park. Simon from Port Yoga will lead you through pristine subtropical rainforest from the comfort of the 1.3km rainforest walkway. Yoga in the rainforest is available on the first Saturday of the month from August until December 2013.

And, if wildlife takes your fancy you can join the Arakoon Wildlife Nightstalk to search for elusive wildlife along the original trails used during Trial Bay Gaol’s construction. Spotlight through the rainforest and eucalypt walk and remember to bring your hand torch. Fees apply and bookings are essential. You can also explore the history and many stories of Trial Bay Gaol on one of several Discovery Tours. For families with kids, check out Trial Bay Gaol tales for young families.

A little piece of history

The parks of the Port Macquarie region also offer lots in the way of historical sites. In Macquarie Nature Reserve, step back in time to explore Roto House which was built by surveyor John Flynn in 1891 and has been lovingly restored and preserved by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Check out the heritage Smoky Cape Lighthouse which was built in 1891 and is one of the last designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. It stands high on a narrow headland in Hat Head National Park and offers amazing views, as well as great bird and whale watching.

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