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The Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park, 61 Billabong Dr., Port Macquarie (tel. 02/6585 1060), is a family-owned nature park where you can get up close to hand-raised koalas, kangaroos, emus, wombats, many types of birds, and fish. You can pat (but not hold) the koalas at 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm. There are also barbecue facilities, picnic grounds, and a restaurant. Allow 2 hours to fully experience this recommended wildlife park. It's open daily from 9am to 5pm; admission is A$15 (US$14/£6.75) for adults and A$6 (US$5.40/£2.70) for children.

The 257-passenger vessel Port Venture (tel. 02/6583 3058; www.portventure.com.au) offers a 2-hour scenic cruise on the Hastings River. It leaves from the wharf at the end of Clarence Street Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday at 10am and 2pm. Cruises cost A$25 (US$23/£11) for adults, A$12 (US$9.60/£4.80) for children 6 to 14, and A$65 (US$58/£29) for families. Reservations are essential. The boat also travels up the river on a 5-hour Barbecue Cruise most Wednesdays at 10am. It docks at a private bush park along the way, and passengers can tuck into a traditional Aussie barbecue of steaks, fish, and salad. You can then fish, take a bushwalk, swim, or take a 20-minute four-wheel-drive trip. The cruise costs A$60 (US$54/£27) for adults, A$20 (US$18/£9) for children, and A$120 (US$108/£53) for families. A 4-hour cruise leaves on Wednesdays, when the 5-hour cruise isn't running, also at 10am. It costs A$40 (US$36/£18) for adults, A$20 (US$18/£9) for children, and A$100 (US$90/£45) for families.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.