It’s day 13 of #MyLegendaryDrive and both Claire and I feel like we’re just starting to settle into Port Macquarie life. We could definitely get used to the friendly smiles and conversations with locals, not to mention all the good food we’ve been eating.
We enjoy our last breakfast at The Corner restaurant, drink our coffee and say goodbye to our new friends at Macquarie Waters before hitting the road. It’s going to be a big day full of fun!
A short drive from Port Macquarie town centre we reach Billabong Koala Wildlife Park and are met by owner Mark and his son Blake. After a firm handshake and brief history of the park we set about wandering past the enclosures full of beautiful local animals as well as those from around the world.
We meet Blake at the Meerkat enclosure and immediately take to them and are thrilled when we’re allowed to feed them a treat of banana and pawpaw. Afterward, we summon up the courage to hold a snake then a gorgeous blue tongue lizard and finally pet the belly of a baby crocodile. We load up on roo food and head to the grassy open enclosure to hand feed the beautiful wallabies and kangaroos, one even has a joey curled up in her pouch who pops his head out to say hello.
The park is a surprise package and it’s hard for us to tear ourselves away from the animals. We spend too long staring at the hypnotising snow leopards and a distracted Claire gets a little fright when she bumps into Shrek the monster croc! It’s so much fun and a must-do destination for anyone visiting the area. After a few hours of smiling, squirming and laughing we set off for our next destination, Bago Vineyards.
It’s a relaxing, winding drive out to Bago Vineyard. The rolling green hills covered in rows of winding grape vines is a picture-perfect site. We set about tackling the vineyard’s maze, a 10,000 square metre area of twists and turns made of high hedges that confuse and excite. It takes us a while, but we find a way out.
After working up a hard earned thirst, we head up to Bago Vineyards cellar door. We’re expertly talked through each of the sparkling, white, red and dessert wines on offer. It’s hard to choose a favourite but the sparkling rose is too good to pass up and I buy a bottle to take home. Our time at the vineyard is fun and we learn a lot about wine and the local area.
It’s time for lunch, so we set off to beautiful Wauchope for delicious, healthy and fresh food from The Living Room. Set up in a cool space that was previously used for tractor sales, it has been converted into an airy, open yoga space and separate cafe with an eclectic mix of mis-matched and antique couches, tables, chairs and assorted bits and pieces.
The food is so delicious! It’s full of great bold flavours that stay true to the food and we eat it quickly, it tastes that good. Afterward, we’re given two big pieces of fresh banana and passionfruit cake with yummy frosting, just one of the divine looking cakes in the fridge which is stocked with an assortment of dairy-free, gluten-free, raw and vegan treats and sweets!
We jump in the car and set off for our new digs, Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat. Driving into the town we’re taken by the beautiful location, lovely little local streets set just off the water. The retreat is a little slice of heaven, a lush green bush and rainforest area with its own garden nursery. We’re led to our treehouse by owner Kerry and are taken away by how beautiful it is, set above the bush floor with large gumtrees around and a big pond. The afternoon sun is glinting through the trees and we feel so relaxed we just about melt into the couches.
The treehouse is so spacious and is fully self contained with a kitchen, fireplace, lounge room, dining table, verandah, bedroom and bathroom complete with rainforest shower. There is so much more to tell you about the treehouse, so I’ll save a little of it for tomorrow’s blog post to keep you coming back for more 🙂
After freshening up we hop back in the car and drive the few minutes down the road to Oasis by the River. It’s hard what to choose from the menu because everything looks absolutely delicious. We’re treated to an assorted entree plate including soft shell crab, prawns, scallops and oysters. Everything is so fresh and cooked or prepared to perfection.
Our main meals arrive, Claire has ordered salt and pepper squid and I have chosen seafood chowder which is packed with fresh local fish, scallops, prawns and comes with big chunky bread to dip it all in. Afterward, we’re talked into a delicious creme brûlée by owner Brendon and gee am I glad he did! It is made with fresh bursts of local finger lime mixed in and it is incredible.
Not only is the food at Oasis amazing, making it a must-do for any visitor or local, the service is fantastic and we have a great night. Especially as Brendon sits with us after our meal to chat about the local produce and the local area, it makes for a great night to great day. Image by Phoebe Lee