8 weeks have passed since we arrived on the plateau to pick blueberries at Ticoba farm. In that time we discovered a part of Australia we didn’t know existed but will forever stay in our hearts.
We have had lots of time to explore the area so today I am sharing those experiences with you in the form of a little destination guide starting from Port Macquarie. Although we gathered these experiences over 2 months they could easily be completed in a weekend. Although, I’ll be honest with you – I think you’d be crazy not to stay longer!
Ancient forests and mountain roads, cute cafes and one of Australia’s largest waterfalls – join us as we explore the Comboyne plateau and all it offers.
Long Point Vineyard
As far as wineries go, our journey starts at one of the Mid North Coast’s finest. Established in 1994 and set on 12 acres, Long Point is home to 6 varieties of grapes and their renowned liqueurs and Ginger Beer.
We dropped in to say hi to our friend Anastasia who was running the cellar and we left with an orange liqueur and 6-pack of ginger beer both brewed and bottled by Anastasia herself.
The estate has become a haven for Australian music hosting the likes of Dan Sultan, The Whitlams, and Josh Pyke. Across the grounds you will find art installations and the cellar also serves as a gallery with exhibits changing every few weeks.
I’m not sure what Willow thought of it all but she was happy for me to hold her for a photo as I pretended I knew about wine.
For more info and opening hours visit their website.
If you’ve come to Australia for the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, or the majestic Uluru then I’m afraid you are misguided for on a windy stretch of mountain road between Byabarra and Comboyne is an even greater delight – the revered Chook Corner.
Locals are tight-lipped about the circumstances that lead to the formation of this Australian wonder, and where the chooks came from is matter of great contention.
Nevertheless, all those that pass the hairpin turn will stare out of their windows in anticipation of seeing the celebrity chickens and might just ponder for a moment, which came first: the chickens or the sign.
The Byabarra Cafe is open Wednesday through to Sunday and has great coffee and cakes. Swing by for lunch or dinner for well priced meals with great views in their picturesque outdoor dining area. Steph and I tried the crispy pork belly with a cold glass of Byabarra brew.
Arriving on the plateau you will discover vistas of avocado orchards and pasture, and the mountain village of Comboyne – 1 hour from Port Macquarie. The village is home to only 450 people but is frequented by many a visitor hoping to experience their mountain hospitality.
The Hangar Cafe is a newer addition to the town and has been serving up great coffee and cafe meals since July 2020. Steph and I couldn’t refuse the Hangar Burger which features team member Hannah’s homemade relish.
Check out their opening hours and specials.
We took a walk around the village and admired the painted murals and snapped a photo with our new cow friend.
The Community Centre is open 10am-3pm 7 days a week and has a great selection of gifts and information about the area. We became huge fans of Coral’s range of chutney and relishes.
Across the road is the general store which has cheap petrol, a well stocked mini market and takeaway.
The RSL/Bowls Club serves many a thirsty local and traveller and is open for meals on Friday and Saturday nights.
The plateau is waterfall country with steep mountain terrain giving way to many a cascade as the rivers make their way down to the sea.
Continuing 28kms West on gravel from Comboyne towards the village of Elands you’ll find the showpiece of the plateau. At a height of 200m Ellenborough Falls is both Australia’s and the Southern Hemisphere’s second tallest waterfall. Set in ancient forests with towering Tallowwood trees there are tracks for all skill levels but the most impressive is the 641 steps down into the gorge.
When Steph and I visited there had been a lot of rain and the water was pumping over the top. I couldn’t resist going for a swim and was humbled by the power of the falls.
Along with picnic areas and fireplaces there is also a kiosk open on weekends serving homemade pies and cakes.
Although the falls is pet friendly we decided not to take Willow in with us. The noise of the water pounding the rocks would not have been a good experience for her so she waited in the van.
We returned exhausted and hungry from our ascent ready to enjoy some Comboyne Culture cheese we had picked up from the Wauchope IGA along with Coral’s relish.
Only 10 minutes from Comboyne is the 396 hectare Boorganna Nature Reserve. Set amongst luscious sub-tropical rainforest a rough 2.7km walking track takes you down to the base of the 40m falls.
As we reached the falls we made our way to the water where Steph found the perfect log to sit on to admire the view.
The thick rainforest is stunningly beautiful and the perfect place to set aside an afternoon’s hiking. Unfortunately the reserve isn’t pet friendly so make sure you organise a baby sitter before heading off.
Ticoba Bluberry Farm
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the area between November and January then make sure you drop into Ticoba for a real treat.
You’ll be greeted by the lovely Penny who will hand you your bucket and direct you to an aisle where you’ll get to pick some of the most decadent and flavourful blueberries you’ll ever see.
Picking your own berries is not just a great way to get great fruit at a good price, it also supports your local farmer and is an experience in itself. You might even catch Willow, Steph, and I.
Check the Ticoba facebook for their current opening times. They also require workers every blueberry season and throughout the year for their avocado harvest so please contact them if you are interested in this experience.
There’s plenty of accomodation options available on the mountain to suit all budgets. Comboyne Hideaway offers indulgent spa cottages, TereTulemast has high-end camping on the river at Elands, or Comboyne Showgrounds for a cheaper night in the heart of it all – just to name a few.
But, whatever time you spent on the mountain will be time well spent.
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I hope you enjoyed our destination guide! I know that you will love Comboyne as much as we do. We are already talking about coming back next season to pick blueberries again, maybe we’ll see you there?
For more info on the Comboyne area check out the Visit Comboyne website.