Located about 388 kilometres north of Sydney up along the east coast of Australia is Port Macquarie. A small town that is often overlooked. Until the 1840s Port Macquarie remained a place for convicts. It wasn't until the 1830s that the place opened for free settlers. It was John Oxley who discovered the place in 1818. He was impressed and realised the full potential of the area. In honour of Governor Macquarie, he named it after him.
The town is steeped in colonial history and there are many historic sites scattered across the town centre. From the landing site where 60 convicts and 40 soldiers first arrived to begin their penal settlement in Port Macquarie to Roto House where surveyor John Flynn and his family built their home.
The centre of town is charming with many shops, independent cafes, restaurants, hotels and apartments. The town is laid-back and quiet so it is no surprise that many pensioners come here to retire. Port Macquarie has many beaches dotting the coastline. Starting from the popular Town Beach all the way to the Lighthouse beach. The 9-km coastal walk starting from the Town Beach to Lighthouse beach is delightful to do especially in the summer. A diverse range of plants and animals including kangaroos can be found along this coastal walk as well headlands, rainforests, impressive rock formations and platforms and fantastic views to the open sea.
A visit to Port Macquarie won't be complete without making a stop to the Koala Hospital. This was by far the highlight of my trip. The Koala Hospital was founded in early 1970s and it is entirely run by a charity organisation with voluntary workers who work around the clock rescuing, cleaning, maintaining, leaf gathering, seed growing, caring and fundraising for koalas. As a visitor you can contribute to the running of the hospital by adopting a koala for AUD 50 per annum and in return you will get a certificate bearing your name and the name of the koala you have adopted complete with a photograph and a biography.
Upon arrival at the Koala Hospital you will see a patients board. The board contains the name, age, admission date, symptoms and what the koala is being treated for. As I wandered around the grounds of the hospital I encountered koalas which are being treated placed in 'wards' that have been allocated depending on the treatment required. At the time of my visit there is one koala which is being treated in the intensive care unit. Everyday at 3pm there is a free walk and talk tour of the hospital which is led by one of the volunteers. I learned so much about koala patients in the hospital, their habitats and how they treat and care for koalas here. If you're in Port Macquarie a visit here is highly recommended.