2. Mid-North Coast

Between Sydney and the Queensland border, there are many different towns and localities, each with their own points of interest. These pages only describe a random sampling of those, being the ones that I happened to choose to visit.

After leaving Sydney to the North, about an hour of driving brings you to the small city of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Although a manufacturing city in the past, it is slowly becoming more of a tourist destination with it's set of beaches and the nearby wineries.

Travelling further North, there is the coastal tourist town of Forster. I spent many of my younger years living there, and it's only with a little bias that I say there are many pretty places there.


About four hours drive out of Sydney is the river town of Taree. Although not remarkable in scenery, it is worth the short detour off the main highway to see a picture of the life there.

Manning River, Taree

To the North of Taree, the “Three Brothers” mountains dominate the landscape.


At the small centre of Kew, I turned off the main road to take the coastal road past Laurieton and Port Macquarie. I noted there was a road leading up the North Brother mountain, which could be interesting, but I was already behind schedule, and there was low cloud shrouding the mountain at the time.

Laurieton is a pretty little town squeezed between the North Brother mountain and the Camden Haven River. By continuing along the road across the bridge to Dunbogan you get to the place where this picture was taken. A little further on there are a couple of lookouts over the coastal stretch.


After returning to Laurieton, I continued following the coast road up to Port Macquarie. It is pleasantly coastal, but you wouldn't want to spend too long gazing over the ocean and beaches, because there is plenty more to come.

At Lake Cathie, things were starting to look better for me, as the blue sky was emerging more and more. One thing about coastal scenery is that is does look a lot better with a blue sky and the resulting blue and green water.

Lake Cathie

Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie is a major tourist centre, and I found it to be one of the most interesting and pleasant places of the whole trip. It has a series of beaches and a prosperous holiday town feel.

At Tacking Point there is a cute little lighthouse, and from there views over the rocks and beaches. For my visit it was quite windy, and that gave a powerful and somewhat hostile feel to the ocean.

Port Macquarie Lighthouse

Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

The Town Beach is somewhat protected from the south, and so felt quite pleasant even in the conditions. It feels quite urban in that area, with the mid-rise apartment blocks overlooking the ocean and river.

Town Beach, Port Macquarie
I was impressed with the main street area of the town, with the tree-lined streets. The tree-planting of past years is paying off now. After a look through the town, I continued up past the river to rejoin the Pacific Highway.

Hastings River, Port Macquarie

Next Page... North Coast