On the Pacific Ocean and the Hastings River, Port Macquarie is an attractive city of 40,000 that is 100 miles south of Coffs Harbour. (Its wider administrative area, Port Macquarie-Hastings Shire has about 70,000 inhabitants.) Many of the Port Macquarie MICE venues are spread along or near the waterfront. The city, which started life as a penal settlement, is today famous for its convict-built, 1820s Georgian church that is one of the oldest in Australia.
The Port Macquarie Airport (PQQ), three miles east of downtown, has service to Brisbane, Sydney and, in summer, Lord Howe Island, 350 miles to the east, alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The city's principal meeting spot is the Port Macquarie Panthers, which has a Hastings River location, hosts well-known entertainers and contains an auditorium accommodating up to 1,000 persons for seminars and 750 for banquets, as well as five meeting rooms, covered decks and gardens. MICE hotels in Port Macquarie include the 123-room Rydges Port Macquarie, which has function space for up to 500 persons; the 83-room Sails Resort Port Macquarie by Rydges, which has six meeting rooms, the largest able to host 200 persons; the 79-room Port Pacific Resort, which has one meeting room and an adjacent terrace; and the 71-room Mercure Centro, which has two meeting rooms for up to 55 persons and a rooftop area for 100. The other large resort in the city is the Macquarie Waters Boutique Apartment Hotel, which has no meeting space.
Unique MICE venues in Port Macquarie and nearby include the Wauchope Country Club, 12 miles west of Port Macquarie, which has a 18-hole championship golf course and a large club house with function space; Westport Club, right downtown, which started in 1957, has the Hastings Lounge and an event centre for 350 persons and sits on Westport Park; Port Macquarie Golf Club, which has links, the Aspire Restaurant and room for up to 80 persons; Glasshouse Arts Conference & Entertainment Centre in the Central Business District, which has a 594-seat theatre, two meeting rooms for up to 140 persons and a lobby for up to 400, among other spaces; and Port Venture Cruises, which takes out its River Princess boat with three viewing levels on whale and dolphin cruises.
Restaurants in Port Macquarie perfect for groups include the very celebrated Stunned Mullet, which specializes in fish and has private space for groups of up to 90 persons; Blue Water Bar & Restaurant, which has a Pacific Ocean perch on Flynn's Beach and tends to have a small menu but also with excellent choices; Zebu Bar & Grill, which is part of Rydges Port Macquarie and has the Zebu Room, a private space also for 90 persons; Ca Marche, which is at the attractive Cassegrain Winery seven miles west of Port Macquarie that also has function and meeting space; and Little Fish Cafe, which has an equally beautiful setting, this time in the Innes Lake Vineyards, along with lots of open space of bush, lawns and wild flowers.