Little village, big heart. Go off track and under the radar.
The evelated coastal views from this seaside village, 20 kilometres south of Port Macquarie, are some of the most spectacular in the region, showcasing over 14 kilometres of pristine beaches.
Bonny Hills was originally home to the fishing enthusiasts amongst the tough, north coast timbermen and dairy farmers from nearby Wauchope and Hinterland. The old wood fishing shacks of the past are long gone, replaced by homes and holiday parks with million dollar views. Here you’ll find Rainbow Beach, an east-coast favourite with surfers and swimmers, and recent host of the Australian Surf Championships.
Bonny Hills is also home to the region’s biggest Mountain Bike Park, Jollynose MTB. It’s open to visitors, and maintained to a great standard by a hardworking club of passionate locals.
Lake Cathie (pronounced 'cat-eye', and why is anyone’s guess…) is just 12 kilometres south of Port Macquarie.
An idyllic and laid-back sea-and-lakeside holiday with do-it-yourself lakeside barbecues, playgrounds, skate park as well as breezy holiday cottages, caravan parks and self-contained holiday flats that make a week by the seaside pass by in the blink of the eye.
Lake Cathie's large saltwater lake (when it’s periodically open to the sea) has warm shallow waters ideal for swimming, kayaking and SUPing, and there are lots of picnic tables and barbecues around the shore. Venture up to the northern headland where a fantastic forest walk has been established, with a viewing platform that offers fabulous views across the lake and out to the ocean. There are food and retail outlets across the road from the lake, and the town has a major shopping centre and a popular tavern.
South-west of Port Macquarie are the two villages of Kew and Kendall.
Kew has a beautifully restored heritage hotel, The Royal, with a fabulous family-friendly beer garden, restaurant and accommodation. The Kew Country Club has one of the best golf courses on the Mid-North Coast and the village is home to some delightful and unique stores, including the Squeaky Gate Farm Shop.
Travel a couple of minutes further inland, and you’ll find the charming village of Kendall, with a 'Poets' Walk' in honour of its namesake, the writer and former resident Henry Kendall.
Kendall is a quaint village with heritage-style buildings, beautiful flora and fauna, where you can enjoy a peaceful picnic beside the picturesque Camden Haven River, shop for home-made treasures at the Craft Co-op, or enjoy a special treat from ‘Miss Nellies’.
Around 25 minutes south-west of Wauchope, pleasantly winding country roads will get you to the idyllic heritage Byabarra Café & Bar, where you can settle in for an afternoon of indulgence on the veranda with views over the valley (oh, and the garlic mussels are to die for).
Then head further west for another 15 minutes to the rural village of Comboyne. Once you break through from the heavily forested hill climb, the plateau opens up spectacularly with rolling, verdant farmland. Don't miss stopping into Larrikins Lock-up for a bit of history in the restored gaol. To complete the package, Comboyne is flanked by pristine Nature Reserves and waterfalls. Trust us when we tell you it’s worth the drive! See their illustrated map here.
Check out the latest Discover Mag article here.
Head through Wauchope and take the right-hand fork at the Showground to head to Beechwood, home of Australia’s favourite Country Pub, the Beechwood Hotel (Wotif in 2021)! You can even arrive by horseback and tie your steed to the hitching rail out the front, if you organise it with Hastings River Horseriding. You’ll also find the Beechwood Café & Bar a short stroll away, and both venues serve generous country-style meals with great outdoor areas as well. Beechwood is also host to the famous (some say infamous) Beechwood Billycart Classic, usually held every October.
Continue along the Pappinbarra Road for another 20 minutes, and you’ll find the tiny and welcoming village of Pappinbarra. Here you’ll find the Grown & Gathered market on the first Sunday of every month (9-12/1pm), and the wonderful Nature’s Echo Farm, which runs tours and teas by appointment.
Blackmans Point is about 10-15 minutes’ drive north of Port Mac, and is home to one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions- Ricardoes Tomato & Strawberry Farm. A little further north-west is Telegraph Point, located on the banks of the Wilson River. Local activities include one of the world’s biggest inflatable water parks, along with waterskiing at Stoney Action Park, mountain bike riding, bush walking, four-wheel-driving, camping, swimming, rock hopping in streams and creeks and picnicking. The village lies between two areas of state forest. To the south is Cairncross State Forest, while to the north is Ballengarra State Forest.