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Greater Port Macquarie : Holiday Planner 07
country life Once the commercial hub of the region, Wauchope is the centre of the local dairy and cattle industries and the gateway to over 40,000 hectares of national parks and state forests. This bustling rural community is rich in history and bursting with country hospitality. Explore the tiny historic timber-getting villages that dot the countryside around Wauchope, like charming Beechwood on the Hastings River. Accommodation choices are plenty, ranging from bed and breakfast, hotels and motels, country retreats and farmstays. Wake up to fresh country air and be treated to some good old country hospitality. mountain trails The rugged Hinterland escarpment is just a half-hour drive from the coast but take your time touring around and you'll uncover some of the region's special delights. The dairy-farming village of Comboyne is perched high on an open plateau and surrounded by lush farmland and rainforest, and if it wasn't for the distinctly Australian bird calls ringing out of the bush, the green patchwork hills could be in Yorkshire, England. From Comboyne, the road winds its way back down the mountain rainforest towards Wauchope. Stop halfway at Blue Poles Gallery in Byabarra, one of those almost mythic places you occasionally stumble across -- an out-of-the-way place that really does serve good coffee! Inside is a large gallery with changing monthly exhibitions and breathtaking valley views. make tracks Pack a picnic and head off on one of three rainforest walks in Wilson River Reserve in Willi Willi National Park. A summer time favourite with locals is the Waterfall Walk, which passes close to a magnificent strangler fig, through sub-tropical rainforests to a waterfall and pool. Drive up to Bago Bluff, a local landmark, for spectacular views across the valley or try your hand at abseiling down the 400-metre cliff face with an experienced guide. Bago Bluff National Park and Broken Bago State Forest are ideal areas to indulge in some bike riding, horse riding and 4WD touring, with a number of trails available through a range of vegetation from grassy open forests to rainforests. portmacquarieinfo.com.au 11 • Chill out with some hot jazz and fne wine at Bago Vineyard’s Jazz in the Vineyard concerts on the second Sunday of each month. • Step back in time at Timbertown – take part in the daily pioneering activities of this heritage theme park. • Meet the locals that grow the produce and taste local cheeses, wines and home-made goodies at the Hastings Farmers Markets in the Wauchope Showground on the fourth Saturday of each month. • Explore the many 4WD trails that wind their way through the National Parks and State Forests. • Take a walk through remnant rainforest at Boorgana Nature Reserve in Comboyne, one of the oldest reserves in the state. • Visit Ellenborough Falls where the waters plunge 200 vertical metres into a magnifcent boxed gorge. • Picnic under a shady tree on the banks of the Hastings River.