Port Macquarie confirms its place as a hotspot for a romantic getaway with some hip new places to eat, drink, stay and play. Go horse riding along a deserted beach, join an art class in a wine-bar, dine at a newly hatted restaurant and stay in Australia’s greenest hotel.
“Couples will love the vibrant nightlife in Port Macquarie as a plethora of new wine bars have opened up and there are now two hatted restaurants, Fusion 7 and the Stunned Mullet,” said Liesa Davies, Group Manager, Economic Development at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
Fusion 7 was awarded its first hat in the Australian Good Food Guide Awards, a huge accolade to chef Lindsey Schwab whose Asian influenced dishes have been a local secret for almost a decade. Sails Resort Port Macquarie by Rydges has completed a $15m renovation and the 4.5 star Observatory has won the nation’s top award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism at the annual Australian Tourism Awards.
What’s New – Drink and Eat
· Bar Florian – this new retro Italian themed wine bar brings a touch of European class to Port Macquarie. Owners Gino and Maree celebrate their Italian heritage with the finest cured meats, cheese platters, a variety of fine wines and music. The bar is named after Bar Florian in Venice, one of the oldest cafes in Europe. www.barflorian.com.au
· The Latin Loafer – a new wine bar overlooking the Hastings River is a blend of Latin American and Spanish food, wine and cocktails. The tapas menu is perfect for sharing with friends as you kick back and enjoy art, live local music and a buzzing atmosphere. www.latinloafer.com.au
· Drury Lane Eatery – a couple from Sydney have brought their Surry Hills vibe with a coastal twist to this new eatery in the forecourt of the Glasshouse. The wholesome and creative menu features local Near River Produce, Bellingen smokehouse salmon and house-baked bread. There are specials including Chorizo Hot Dogs and Blueberry Cheesecake Macaroons. Open for dinner Friday and Saturday nights.
What’s New – Play
· Horse riding on North Shore Beach – Port Macquarie Horse Riding Centre now offers exhilarating beach horse rides along picturesque North Shore Beach. Beginners or experienced riders can enjoy the one-hour ride for $95. Getting there is part of the journey as you take the Settlement Point or Hibbard car and passenger ferry across the Hastings River, which is home to many dolphins. www.beachhorseride.com.au
· Paint The Town Port – painting the night away with a cocktail in hand is the latest craze to hit Port Macquarie. The program of events features artists hosting step-by-step painting classes in a fun and relaxed atmosphere at local restaurants, cafes, bars and breweries. The cost is $35 for the class, canvas and supplies, and you get to take home your masterpiece. www.paintthetownport.com
What’s New – Stay
· Sails Resort by Rydges – previously untouched since the early 80s this coastal beauty is emerging from an extensive refurbishment to reveal 83 stunning guest rooms and suites overlooking a new pool area with private cabanas and cabana bar. Enjoy a heated spa, vintage bicycles, tennis court, private jetty, paddleboards, waterfront restaurant and bar. www.rydges.com
· Observatory wins top award – the 4.5 star Observatory has won the nation’s top award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism at the annual Australian Tourism Awards. The family owned hotel opposite Town Beach is packed with ethically minded extras including sushi and green tea on arrival, backpacks with picnic sets to take on the Coastal Walk, bike and audio tours around town, environmental books to read and a tree planted in conjunction with Landcare. www.observatory.net.au
Coming up – Events
The vibrant Autumn events calendar is ideal for couples with Meals in the Fields at Near River Produce (19 March), Jazz in the Vineyards at Bago Vineyards (monthly, every second Sunday), the Australian Blues & BBQ Festival (1-3 April) and the Big Band Blast (27-29 May).
Port Macquarie is a 4-hour drive North of Sydney or a 1-hour flight from Sydney and Brisbane with connections to the rest of Australia. Call 1300 303 155 or go on-line at www.portmacquarieinfo.com.au.