The coastline from Port Macquarie to the laid-back holiday resort of NAMBUCCA HEADS, 115km north, has some magical spots. There's some excellent surf on Main, Beilby's and Shelly beaches, and great swimming in the crystal-clear water at the extremely scenic rivermouth. Whales can be sighted from Scotts Head, a popular surfing spot to the south, during their southern migration (July– Oct). The town is on the main Sydney– Brisbane bus and train routes, with Greyhound, Premier Motor Service and Countrylink calling in. Busways also operate a daily service to Urunga, Coffs Harbour and Bellingen.
Good places to stay include Marcel Towers Beach House (Tel:02/6568 7041, Web: www.marceltowers.com.au ; Price: $61–100) at 12 Wellington Drive, which is not really a beach house at all; the modern apartments won't win any interior design awards but they're seconds from the water with wonderful sea views. The cabins at the exceptionally well-located White Albatross Holiday Resort (Tel:02/6568 6468 or 1800 152 505, Web: www.whitealbatross.com.au ; Price: campsite $45Price: sefcat $101) are within splashing distance of the sea; the adjoining V-Wall Tavern (Tel:02/6568 6344) serves good pub grub on a veranda overlooking the lagoon. Upriver, AMatilda's (Mon– Sat lunch & dinner; Tel:02/6568 6024), on Wellington Drive, is a long-standing favourite with locals. Chef Kel and wife Cissy serve up delicious Mod Oz food in a cute turquoise building.