Exploring 8 beautiful Port Macquarie Beaches
Port Macquarie’s beaches are among the most beautiful in New South Wales, officially there are eight but locals tell us it’s more like seventeen. Today we are going to share a few of the more prominent ones both in the town and on its outskirts.
To find the others get chatting to a Port Macquarie local and they might just let you in on some of the more secret spots!
Where is Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie is a little over 4 hours (400km) from Sydney. It’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the state and a great stopover on an east coast road trip.
When is the best time to visit Port Macquarie beaches?
While the weather in Port Macquarie is considered some of the best along the coast, the most popular time to visit is during School holidays when the town’s population swells dramatically.
The water temperature at the beaches in Port Macquarie varies throughout the year. During the summer, the water can reach up to 24°C (75°F), while over winter, it can drop to around 18°C (64°F).
So let’s find which beaches are the best choice for you.
As its name might suggest, Town Beach is the closest and most accessible beach to Port Macquarie’s CBD. For that reason, it’s probably one of Port’s most popular beaches.
There is plenty of parking and modern amenities along with a kiosk and cafe near the break wall end of the car park.
Town Beach is attended by surf lifesavers from nine until five every day of the week, making it the most patrolled beach in the area. It’s well sheltered, and with some shifting sandbars, Town Beach is also a popular beach amongst surfers of all skill levels.
Things to do at Town Beach
- Take in the view from Town Beach Lookout
- Test your skills at the skate park
- Work out on the free outdoor gym
- Climb the 4 flights of stairs to Flagstaff Lookout
- Listen to some sunset tunes at Little Kiosk open late Thur-Sun.
- See if you can find the secret cove
Don’t miss checking out the graffiti along the breakwall, these are some great local stories here.
Just down from Town Beach, and well within walking distance of the CBD lies Oxley Beach. Quieter than its larger neighbour, Oxley Beach comes with picnic tables and there are electric barbecues.
Oxley Beach is named after Port Macquarie’s founder John Oxley
I love this beach is backed by a lush green reserve, which can save you from getting sand in everything!
If you’re willing to wait, it’s set to be home to NSW’s first new ocean baths in almost fifty years.
Things to do at Oxley Beach
- Climb the four flights of stairs and see the view from Flagstaff Lookout
- Join the locals for an acai bowl or Apple & Almond Bircher Muesli for breakfast at Salty crew kiosk
- Nab one of the picnic tables and settle in for some people watching
Next up is Rocky Beach and while this is a good spot for a secluded picnic, beach fishing, or to walk the dog it’s not a good swimming beach.
The main reason to visit is to take in the view from Rocky Beach Lookout where, if you are lucky, you may spot whales passing during the season.
There is no road access, so if you want to head down to the sand for some sunbathing perhaps then you will need to follow the track from Flynns Beach.
Follow the coastal walk down further, moving away from the CBD, and you come to Flynns Beach. With its big pine trees lining the beach and rocky headlands at either end, it feels quite protected.
Flynns Beach is a great beach for families because it stays shallow for quite some distance. There are also barbecue facilities and some shaded tables.
It is also known as a decent surf spot and well suited to less experienced surfers. You can even take beginner lessons here.
Surf lifesavers patrol the beach, and the safest place to swim is marked with red and yellow flags.
The big draw card though is the Sandbox cafe which makes this a favourite beach in Port Macquarie for breakfast. There is a large outdoor dining area and if you arrive as they open the early morning light over the ocean makes a lovely breakfast even better.
Things to do at Flynns Beach
- Book a beginner’s surf lesson
- Try your hand at fishing off the rocks
- Have a meal at Sandbox
- Fire up one of the electric BBQ for a beachside picnic
Separated from Flynn Beach by Nobby Head is Nobbys Beach, known for the iconic Nobbys rocky Headland that rises at the beach’s far end. With onshore rocks and little in the way of waves, Nobbys is not popular for surfers and is typically unpatrolled.
Instead, it’s carved out a reputation as the most dog-friendly beach in the area, and dogs of all shapes and sizes can be regularly seen dragging their owners along the beach’s crisp white sand.
Things to do at Nobbys Beach
- Locals tell us the fishing is good off the rocks at the southern end.
- Walk up to Nobbys Head Lookout for views back to Flynns Beach
- Walk the track, known as Kenny Walk that goes from Nobbys Beach to North Shelly Beach.
Next comes Shelly Beach, a place that gives off a serene and tropical vibe with its natural tidal lagoon and white sandy beach set against lush rainforest. Stop here for a barbeque or take advantage of the excellent rainforest walking track through Shelly Beach Reserve.
However, mind yourself in the water; Shelly’s beautiful tidal lagoon means currents can be dangerous and unpredictable.
Things to do at Shelly Beach
- Find the bush furniture crafted by of local artist Harry Thompson
- See what you can find in the rock pools
- Head to the picnic area or cook up a barbecue lunch.
Stretching further out of town is the controversial Miners Beach. An unofficial nudist beach for decades, local authorities have been enforcing public decency laws pretty harshly lately, and there are heavy fines and even jail time for those traipsing around in their birthday suit.
Why not do the adjacent part of Port Macquarie’s Coastal Walk (clothed) instead?
Seven kilometres south of Port Macquarie’s centre lies Lighthouse Beach, nine kilometres of secluded sand running all the way south to the north side of Lake Cathie.
Lighthouse is popular among surfers and outdoorsy people of all kinds, with camel rides up and down the dunes, great spots for fishing and 4WD access toward the long beach’s southern and northern end too.
North Shore Beach
Starting back at the northern end of Port Macquarie’s settlement point, North Shore Beach lies across the Hastings River Inlet. This large beach offers a more secluded experience.
Everything you need to plan a day on Port Macquarie beaches
What are the best beaches in Port Macquarie for swimming? If you are in the mood for a swim make your way to Town Beach or Flynns Beach. These are both patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months. The most popular swimming beach is Shelly Beach, which has a large grassy foreshore and picnic areas.
Which Port Macquarie beaches are best for surfing? Local surfers rate Lighthouse Beach, North Haven Beach, and Flynns Beach as the best breaks.
Which are the best beaches in Port Macquarie for families? Flynns Beach is my pick, it has wonderful facilities, and the cafe makes the best coffee. Lifeguards patrol daily.
Are there any dog-friendly beaches in Port Macquarie? If you have a four legged family member, you will be pleased to know there are several dog-friendly beaches in Port Macquarie. Try Nobbys Beach, Lighthouse Beach (north of Watonga Rocks), or Rainbow Beach (north of the Bonny Hills Surf Club) next time you want to take your best friend for a walk.
What is the best time of year to visit the beaches in Port Macquarie? You can visit all round but swimming weather is really in the summer months from December to February when the water is warmer. However, if you want to go surfing, pull on your wetsuit cause the best waves roll in between autumn and winter.
Do any of the beaches at Port Macquarie have beach wheelchairs? Town Beach, Flynns Beach and Rainbow Beach are good choices for wheelchair users.
Read this wheelchair accessible guide to the Port Macquarie beaches by my good friend Julie Jones for more tips for wheelchair users visiting the area.
Are there any nude beaches in Port macquarie or nearby? If you are looking for a clothing optional beach near Port Macquarie, it’s important to know that there is no officially approved nude beach here. Miners’ beach Port Macquarie has always been an unofficial option. However, apparently there has been police action in recent years to reduce this.
Other things not to miss when you visit Port Macquarie
Eventually, we all need a break from the sun. Check out some of these Port Macquarie attractions for a change of pace or when the southerly winds whip up and make it a bit cold to swim.
- Sea Acres National park – which includes the Sea Acres rainforest centre.
- Port Macquarie Coastal Walk
- Tacking Point lighthouse
- Whale watching from land or sea
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
- Kayak at Camden Haven
Have questions about exploring Australia?
Head over and join our Facebook Group and we will be happy to help