You only need to scratch the surface to see that Bonny Hills is a beachside town with more than just sun, surf and sand to its name. Besides fronting onto world-class surf, this sleepy beachside town of 3000 people on the mid-north coast of New South Wales promises a Pandora’s box of activities that don’t involve getting your hair wet.
To help you make the most of the 18km that connect Bonny Hills with its big sister, Port Macquarie, follow in the footsteps of the Ingenia Holidays Bonny Hills team with these tips which will guarantee you a bonny-good time.
Best café experience
Take a leaf out of our book and pay a visit to the Bonny Hills Garden Centre to see what happens when a project and passion collide into a business idea. While you might come for a bite to eat, we guarantee you’ll stay for the plants and landscape supplies that contribute to Bonny Hills Garden Centre’s title as the largest stockist in the area. Dine-in at the Garden Centre Café, which overlooks a dam (yes, this place is huge) to indulge in a seasonal menu made with the freshest ingredients, delivered daily from the local markets.
Best animal experience
Not all hospital patients have two thumbs, big ears, eat a diet of eucalyptus leaves and sleep most of the day, but the ones at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital do. You’ll need to drive 23 minutes from Bonny Hills to Port Macquarie to see them, but good news, so long as you arrive between 8.00am and 4.30pm, you can join a free self-guided tour. Somewhere between 200 and 250 koalas are treated here annually, so you’re guaranteed a sighting of Australia’s most famous marsupial. At 3.00pm, a guided tour will take you through the six ICU units and 33 rehabilitation yards, which resemble eucalyptus forests to suit their patients’ dietary requirements.
Best historical experience
While the rest of Australia was occupied by bright shiny objects (aka gold), in Wauchope fortunes were made in red cedar and you can find out why with a visit to Timbertown. Put 20 minutes of time on the tarmac to drive between Ingenia Holidays Bonny Hills and Timbertown and be transported to another world where you’ll find blacksmiths, whip cracking demonstrations, bullock rides and a steam train to name a few. Your dance card will be full as you spend the day wandering the 40-character buildings, meet new farmyard friends and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) at the village winery.
Best beach experience
Good news for beach-lovers, the best beach on Bonny Hills coastline, Rainbow Beach, is within sand’s throw of your cabin, caravan or campsite’s doorstep when staying at Ingenia Holidays Bonny Hills. What better location to do as the locals do than learn to surf the New South Wales coastline? Learn from a pro and join Bonny Hills local famous Surfer Ian “Belly” Bell, who runs a local surf school, Endless Summer Surf School. Don’t want pooch to miss out on all the fun? Duchess Creek north to Middle Rock on Rainbow Beach is unleashed at all times! Best place to chew with a view Every Australian worth their summer-tan knows surf clubs are synonymous with a beach holiday and the Bonny Hills Surf Club is no different. Its onsite restaurant, The Fat Fish, opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and regardless of when you dine, you’re guaranteed the sound of crashing waves and smell of sea breeze to accompany you while you eat. Join the others who come for the good food but stay for the views over Rainbow Beach.
For the kids
Keep Bago Vineyards and Maze up your sleeve if you’re travelling the east coast and need some time away from the kids (we say that in the nicest possible way!). Offload the little ones in the maze (responsibly) and whilst they are strategically working their way out, you can perch yourself on the hillside and sample some of the local wines, cheeses and chocolates at the onsite winery. Hot tip – jazz music is held at the winery on the second Sunday of each month, to take this child-free peace and a quiet moment to new levels.
For the best photo opportunity
You don’t need to cross the country to Cable Beach for an iconic camel-ride experience. Explore Port Macquarie by hoof and hump with a camel ride along its famous, golden sands. Guided by experienced cameleers, you’ll explore Lighthouse Beach from the back of a loveable steed. Whales and dolphins frolicking the water are frequently seen here, and from your elevated position in the saddle, you’ll have front row seats to the marine mammal show.