Port Macquarie is a large town on the mid-NSW North Coast, about 390km north of Sydney, and 570km south of Brisbane. The town is located at the mouth of the Hastings River. In the 2006 census the wider Hastings Valley area had a population of 68,429, up 9.5% from the 2001 census.
Port Macquarie is a popular retirement and tourist destination boasting pristine waterways and beaches. It is a major service centre between Taree and South West Rocks. The climate is regarded as ideal, with warm summers and mild winters.
Residential suburbs stretch to Lighthouse Beach in the south, Thrumster to the west and to the ‘North Shore’ on the north bank of the river. Settlement Point has a canal development, one of the most expensive developments in town. Sovereign Hills (Area 13) began development in the west in late 2009. It includes a new school, shopping facilities and residentialareas.
The town has an active surf culture. There are several beaches but only Town, Flynns and Lighthouse Beaches are manned by lifesavers. Lighthouse is patrolled at the north end only.
Port Macquarie is home to many public and private, primary and secondary schools.
Road access to Port Macquarie is via the Pacific and Oxley highways. Improvements to these roads have reduced the travel time between Sydney and the mid-north coast region from 6 hours to 4 hours (from Wahroonga to the Oxley Highway interchange). The town’s public transport is limited.
There are regular flights to and from Port Macquarie's domestic airport, train services from the nearby town of Wauchope (about 19km away) and frequent inter-city coach services stopping in the centre of town.
Port Macquarie Base Hospital and Port Macquarie Private Hospital serve the area.