If you're craving a cheeky getaway with your loved one, but don't want to travel far, look no further than Port Macquarie.
Located just an hour flight from Sydney, Port Macquarie is a gem of a destination that often surprises even the most well-travelled.
From sprawling vineyards to long stretches of quiet beaches, Port Macquarie has all the charm for a romantic weekend away.
Where to stay
If you're after a special couples hideaway, Ana Mandara is your one-stop shop. Located on the sought after Settlement Point Road overlooking the Hastings River, this luxury bed and breakfast is truly something special.
The name of the place is derived from the Vietnamese phrase that means: 'A refuge for our guests' - and that it certainly is! This luxe property is the only one in Port Macquarie that is caters just to adults - perfect for a couples getaway!
The hosts, Leo and Jennell, will kindly pick you up from the airport upon arrival and even offer to drop you off to your dinner reservations - unless you've decided to dine on site and experience some of Leo's gourmet cooking. But if you decide to dine out, don't worry you won't miss out, Leo whips up a delicious three-course breakfast every morning that can be enjoyed in the dining area or out on the patio while you soak up the view.
The rooms are extremely spacious and beautifully filled with natural light. The bathroom features a large spa bath - perfect for soaking the day away. Or, if you're after a splash with a bit more space, the outdoor swim spa on the front balcony can be a great way to spend an evening.
Leo and Jennell are always around in case you need any local tips, suhc as the best beaches to visit or the best spot to grab a bite to eat. Although, we're warning you, it's going to be difficult to leave Ana Mandara - you may be tempted to dedicate an entire day to enjoying the accommodation!
What to do
Port Macquarie has so many things to do and see, you may find you run out of time.
The immediate area offers up some world-class vineyards and you can visit five of the best in one day as they're all located within a 35 minute drive of each other. A couple of that you must make time for are the Douglas Vale Historic Homestead and Vineyard and Cassegrain.
Douglas Vale serves up some delicious wine alongside some great history. The entire place is run by dedicated volunteers and the restored home of George Francis is open so you can learn about how the vineyard started. George won awards across the globe for his wine and now the space is open for everyone to enjoy. Back in the 1800s it was the largest vineyard and is the oldest in Port Macquarie - we recommend packing a picnic blanket, buying a cheese platter and a bottle of wine and lazing on the lawns.
A bit further afield, Cassegrain serves up some tantalising treats with grapes from emerging wine regions across NSW. From juicy reds to crisp whites, there's a tipple for everyone. The vineyard is led by John Cassegrain who has a deep history in traditional French winemaking methods and has produced a distinctive style to the wines made here.
For a bit of adventure, book a private helicopter ride with Affinity Aviation. Their 15-minute offering is perfect to get a bird's eye view of this beautiful piece of coastland and the best part is it's quite customisable - drop into a vineyard nearby, a private lunch spot or simply fly over the township, the choice is yours!
As night falls, the sunsets over Hastings River are something to behold. Port Jet offer a one and a half hour river cruise that traverses the river and a few of the canals - keep an eye out for any dolphins if you're lucky! The cruise is completely BYO so pack some snacks, your favourite beverage and sit back andrelax.
Where to eat
Port Macquarie is fast emerging as a foodie's haven, so you are certainly spoilt for choice.
Lunches are best done on the water here and The Boathouse Bar and Restaurant is one of the best spots with spectacular waterfront views. The loaded wagyu fries are absolute heaven - crunchy fries topped with tender wagyu, bacon and cheese you really can't go wrong! And then tuck into the fresh barramundi, because you can't come to Port Macquarie and miss out on the seafood afterall.
If you find yourself on the wine trail, try to plan your lunch stop to coincide with being at Cassegrain's on site restaurant, twotriplefour. This paddock-to-plate eatery boasts seasonal produce and beautiful surrounds to eat it in! The platters (or picnic hamper if you wish) are a blend of local cheese and meats with some crusty bread - the perfect way to complement that glass of wine!
For a date night spot to rival all others, The Stunned Mullet has to be top of the list. If you love to peruse a lengthy wine list, you'll be right at home here - boasting local delicacies and international specialties inlcuding a page from Burgundy and Bordeaux wine regions, you're guaranteed to have a hard time deciding. The restaurant holds multiple awards in celebration of the fresh, local produce they plate up and the scampi linguine and succulent confit duck leg deserve honorable mentions.
Here, you can also try rare Glacier 51 Toothfish, not found on many menus, The Stunned Mullet gives you the opportunity to try this unique white fish. And don't forget to save room for dessert either - the flavour combinations will blow you away and although deliciously sweet, each dessert is light enough so you won't feel like you've overindulged. We dare you to try and beat a date night here!
For more inspiration visit Port Macquarie info