Port Macquarie boasts it's stunning coastline and is packed full of family adventure. It’s the ‘not too far’ from the big smoke but just far enough that you probably want to escape the four doors of your car. This is what Port Macquarie is about… go throw yourself into the ocean, grab something to eat, take a break. Though did you know about the other way to stretch your legs that is great entertainment for the kids?
If the photo hasn’t given it all away to you already, yes… it is indeed camel riding on the beach. I don’t know why there just happens to be this activity on offer at Lighthouse beach… it's just there and ready to call your name. I think having some of my family living in Port, it’s just something I have always known about. Though I don’t really remember ever doing it.. I’ll wait for my mum to comment on this and beg to differ.
Anyway I will explain to you my experience and what made this activity more than just sitting on the alpaca cross giraffe looking animal on a beach.
I was travelling with three boys up the coast and we decided to stop into Port Macquarie to get the ol snack attack and stretch. On a road trip sent by Destination NSW, we came to the conclusion that camel riding would be the perfect activity to try out and share with the world.
The four of us climbed over the sand dunes to be graced with the strange sight of five large camels happily laying in a row on the sand. It was definitely one of those moments where you double take followed by a “sick” over the excitement of them just being there.
A man greeted all four of us, “G’day fellas”. The man was wearing beige and khaki clothes paired with an Akubra and dark sunglasses. He was a true blue Australian man and in fact made the entire event what is was. He goes by the name of John.
John was the beholder to some of the most sarcastic and wittiest jokes I have heard. He also made a point to get to know you, where you had come from and what you do in your spare time. This kind of conversation really broke the ice and made you feel welcome and engaged with the activity.
Here’s an example for you...On our ride, a family of three joined us; mother, father and young daughter.
“And what’s your name?” John said to a little girl
“Lily! She replied
“Well look, I’ll call you Rose it’s an upgrade”
It was this kind of fast humour that literally kept me in stitches for the duration of the ride. Here's another classic joke from from John that i can recall. This one was from when we first headed off for the walk down the beach on our newly beloved camel.
“ Now if you see any dolphins out there let me know…
It’s $20 extra for the dolphin tour”
Whilst the camels walked you down one of the most dangerous beaches in Australia, John was sure to keep you entertained by telling you some history about the animals…their environmental impact, what food they eat, grooming etc. I can’t seem to recall all these facts but I do remember John telling us that he would crusade the beach for up to 20km a day just walking beside these animals. Though he did not tell me this out of spite, he methodically seemed to enjoy it!
John's jokes became increasingly inappropriate, which for my sense of humour is fantastic! “You’re a cheeky bugger,” he said to me. I just gave him a sarcastic mouthful back to him and I think he kind of liked it? I guess I just appreciate the jokes that fly straight over kid’s heads... they’re the best ones.
Another Aussie style dad joke he decided to throw in the mix was about women in general. John made the ‘Mrs’ joke as he told us he had a wife who lived with him back on his property. He told me that females seem to be all full of ‘lists’ you know the ‘to do lists’, and if he were single he would happily make a t-shirt that states, “list free”...I laughed as I pictured the countless lists that I have sent to my boyfriend..'so true' I thought to myself.
Anyhow these docile animals were so friendly and gracious as they kindly let us ride them. It’s no skydiving or dirt bike riding but it really is the perfect little family activity to get the kids excited.
Please give it a go on your next visit to Port Macquarie. It is a unique activity that you should not miss and now you do not need to go all the way to Dubai to go all the way to Dubai to enjoy!
Thank you to Destination NSW, We Are Explorers and John for having us!
All images by Pat Suraseang and videography by Charlie Brookes-Allen.