Our little family took some time out for a mini-holiday and spent the weekend in Port Macquarie.
Town Beach attracts it's share of surfers and cormorants perched on rocks. I rather like the juxtaposition of the wild bird with the surfer paddling past.
I spent most of the weekend hanging out with the family so only ended up doing one watercolour sketch this holiday but I did appreciate the view of the rocks, sand, water and the cascading pine needles overhanging.
We kicked off our first morning at Port Macquarie with breakfast at the Salty Crew Kiosk overlooking Town Beach. A beautiful spot for a chilled out Friday morning basking in those holiday vibes. If only Fridays could always start like this!
We spent our two nights away at Sails by Rydges in Port Macquarie. The hotel is midway through renovations so we were able to enjoy the benefit of a lower room rate and make the most of the new hotel room and renovated pool area. As for our little boy I think he was quite intrigued by the workmen rebuilding the foyer as we trekked around the long way to the carpark.
For our first night we enjoyed dinner at The Botanic Wine Garden in Port Macquarie.
This was perfect for Aiden as he could run around in the courtyard space amidst the trees and rustic tables. Lamb skewers and gnocchi were both a hit for him whilst we enjoyed our local oysters, duck profiteroles, pork belly and zucchini.
There was plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities with a group of small iguanas scuttling around our hotel gardens and basking beside the marina. Sand crabs were an elusive fast scuttling creature that were mostly spotted in the corner of your eye. Meanwhile a beautiful pink galah was pecking at the conifer seeds on Town Beach close to where I was relaxing. I also enjoyed seeing the variety of shapes and textures in the seaweed washing up to the shore as we swam.
There was also lots of wildlife to spot during the Sea Acres Rainforest Boardwalk. A Lace Monitor lizard crawling through the undergrowth to drink at the river, a butterfly and a pair of Brown Cuckoo Doves.
Weekends away are all about the food and taking your time to linger over a plate or two. Lunch was at LVs on Clarence where the focus is all on serving local produce. The squid was nice but too spicy for Aiden to enjoy any. We had chosen this spot because in our research we had seen they had a wonderful kids menu including a kids soul bowl which being a serving of all of Aiden's favourite foods in one bowl would have been perfect. Sadly they have changed the kids menu to the standard generic and nutritionally lacking choices that many a kids menu at a cafe serves up.
Dinner was a fancy affair at The Stunned Mullet and the staff did a wonderful job making our boy comfortable. After an enjoyable gnocchi the night before Aiden was keen for another round of gnocchi though Mimmi and Dada ended up polishing it off as it was absolutely delicious but too complex for his taste buds. We enjoyed our mains of fish and dessert was an absolute winner with the bourbon chocolate mousse and the salted lime creme brûlée both going down a treat with us whilst our exhausted little one snoozed in my lap.
Breakfast on our last day was at Bandwagon, cold drip coffee and pea fritters is exactly what I consider to be a good start to the day. Geoff tucked into the bacon and egg roll and the brioche bun is his favourite bread vessel of choice so he was happy too.
The Light house at Tacking Point in Port Macquarie is rather sweet in its classic blue and white paint with a subtle geometric pattern on the top level. The views overlooking Lighthouse Beach were popular amongst visitors but we preferred the peace and quiet down on the small rocky cove beach on the other side of the lighthouse back towards Sea Acres Rainforest. We watched the waves crash dramatically against the rocks and admired the variety of smooth coloured pebbles gathered on the shore.
Long Point Winery at Lake Cathie was a nice stop-over point. Aides loved the treehouse whilst I enjoyed a Monet moment watching the ducks on the pond. We left with two nice wines and some ginger beer.
Our lunch stop-over was at North Haven at the Native Catering Co - I loved browsing through some botanical illustration books whilst Geoff read the newspaper and Aiden drink watermelon juice. The food is simple but the setting is perfectly restful.
We stopped at Newcastle briefly on the way up as well as on the way back. On the way up we explored Cooks Hill on Darby Street. Brunch at The Autumn Rooms was delicious and was definitely the best coffee of the trip away.
Dough Heads at Newcastle was the perfect late afternoon stopover on the way home. I snapped up the St Patricks Day special of Irish Creme Brûlée. Aiden chosen the fairy bread option and the Caramelised Apple was also very good.