Be a tourist in our backyard

Do you have relos visiting for the school holidays? Are the kids already bored? Why not be a tourist in your own backyard? 

It’s a great way to support local businesses, not to mention explore our little corner of the world. By today, all 50 Hello Koala sculptures will be in place across the Hastings, the perfect incentive to follow the koala trail from Port Macquarie to Bonny Hills, Laurieton, Wauchope, Comboyne and Blackmans Point.

Nicole Langdon looks at just some ideas that won’t break the bank:

Koala spotting

Say 'hello' to one of the 50 large-scale koala sculptures dotting the local landscape. The colourful pieces of art have been hand-painted and decorated by celebrity artists, professional artists and community groups.

Click here to download a copy of the trail map or see Monday's paper for a print version.

Say cheese: Bago Vineyard's koala sculpture was one of the first installed these school holidays - and is ready for happy snaps with locals and visitors alike.

Say cheese: Bago Vineyard's koala sculpture was one of the first installed these school holidays - and is ready for happy snaps with locals and visitors alike.

Free concert

Get along to the community concert on the Town Green today featuring former X Factor stars Taylor Henderson and Jai Waetford. Entertainment starts at 2.30pm, with talented local artists warming up the crowd.

Nature at its best

Take a bushwalk to the largest bloodwood tree in the southern hemisphere, known as Old Bottlebutt. New walking trails and viewing platforms have just been completed, making it a pleasant stroll to the 200-year-old eucalypt, which is a massive 16 metres in diameter. Accessible from the Burrawan State Forest picnic area, the hidden gem is only 20 minutes from the Pacific Highway, along Bago Road. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the 600 metre loop walking track, as Port Macquarie is home to koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, platypus, reptiles and more than 340 species of birds.

Grandeur: Old Bottlebutt is one of the area's hidden gems - as well as being the largest bloodwood tree in the southern hemisphere.

Grandeur: Old Bottlebutt is one of the area's hidden gems - as well as being the largest bloodwood tree in the southern hemisphere.

History lesson

Learn about our most popular tourist attraction's rich history by checking out the new interpretive signs at Tacking Point Lighthouse. The signs include details of the lighthouse keeper's cottage, The Three Brothers, the Birpai people, shipwrecks and whales. If you're lucky, you might also spot a pod of whales.

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To market, to market

Support our local artists and farmers at one of the many weekend markets. We're spoilt for choice with markets across the Hastings and Camden Haven to explore, whether you want to pick up some fresh local produce, tempt the tastebuds or purchase a unique piece of art. For details phone Greater Port Macuqarie Tourism on 6581 8111.

Search for treasure

Get lost in Bago Vineyard's maze, the largest hedge maze in NSW. The kids will love seeking out the treasures hidden along the 200 metres of pathways and finding each other from the lookout towers. The maze is open from 9.30am every day, with last entry at 4pm. The vineyard on Milligans Road, Wauchope, is off Bago road, and is an ideal spot for a picnic lunch overlooking the vines.

Bago Maze: Two hundred metres of winding pathways to get lost in.

Bago Maze: Two hundred metres of winding pathways to get lost in.

Wet a line

Pack your tackle box and cast a line. Who knows, you may even catch some dinner. With the rising temperature, fishermen have reported increased numbers of mulloway, flathead and blackfish. Bream numbers have also been consistent on the north wall. The early morning run up tide, with either mullet strips or yabbies, is your best bet.

Burn some energy

There's no shortage of family-friendly parks and playgrounds, with one of the most popular being the skatepark and play area at the Town Beach end of the breakwall. The area has recently been upgraded to include an outdoor gym, beach viewing platform and picnic tables.

Go west

Pack a picnic or barbecue and head to Wauchope to admire the improvements at Rocks Ferry Reserve. Council recently completed repairs to the popular reserve on the banks of the Hastings River following extensive damage during the February 2013 floods.

How will you be spending the school holidays? Have we missed anything off the 'to do' list? Email your ideas to nicole.langdon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Whale watching: If you're lucky, you might spot a pod of whales on their annual migration.

Whale watching: If you're lucky, you might spot a pod of whales on their annual migration.

And why not share your photos with us when you are out and about too? Email your pics to peter.daniels@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Popular look-out: New interpretive signs at Tacking Point Lighthouse are a permanent reminder of the landmark's rich history.

Popular look-out: New interpretive signs at Tacking Point Lighthouse are a permanent reminder of the landmark's rich history.

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