By Simon Bayliss

The drive to the coast from Tamworth was sensational, especially through the beautiful mountain forests of Cottan-Bimbang National Park and then the descent to the coast.

Our stay at Port Macquarie for the next few nights is at the Leisure Tourist Park about 5km up the Hastings River from town.

So much to see and do in Port Macquarie and things got quickly underway with Macca leading the way, almost unassisted, through the Maze at Bago Vineyard. While he may not shine as a maze guide, he was pretty spot on getting to the cellar door for all to learn about and sample some quality Bago wines.

The next adventure was a visit to the Billabong Koala & Wildlife Park, which is passionately run by Mark Stone and his family. A very animal-friendly operation that not only displays some amazing animals but Mark’s efforts to help endangered species and breeding research with many charities supported by the zoo.

On the last day in Port Macquarie, Macca and Robby serve up something special which is a hit with everyone… Burrata with Caramelised Figs!

Next stop, Byron Bay. With such a long drive ahead, the vanners head off to make it before last light while the rest of the group drop in a line with Port Macquarie Fishing Adventures, a very early start but well worth the effort, especially for Marc Almeleh who bagged the catch of the day by bringing in a 5kg Snapper.

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