About geotrails

Geotrails provide a unique tourism experience by guiding visitors on a journey that is focused on the local geology. Designed to promote an understanding of earth sciences, they enable people to explore the natural environment and learn about its diversity.

Geotrails may feature walking tracks and driving routes, lookouts, points of interest, visitor centres and supporting information to encourage learning and an appreciation of our environment.

Geotrails in development

Following on from the popular Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail launched in 2018,  new geotrails are being developed by the Geological Survey of NSW in 2020. The Newcastle Coastal Geotrail and Warrumbungle National Park Geotrail will soon be released, while production has started on geotrails for the central Darling River region and Mutawintji National Park. All projects involve collaboration with local councils, site custodians, stakeholders and community. Each geotrail will have an associated printed brochure and a self-guided tour app available through our NSW Geotours platform.


Volcanic rocks at Warrumbungle National Park.

Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail

Picture of the coastline at Rocky Beach courtesy of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council

The Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail is a 4 km walk along the coast from Shelly Beach to Rocky Beach that tells the story of plate tectonics and how Earth’s crust was formed.

The geotrail features rocks formed by volcanoes, microscopic marine animals, ocean currents, and extreme temperatures and pressures up to 100 km below Earth’s surface.

The Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail provides a unique scientific recreational experience for the local community, including school groups, and for visitors to the Port Macquarie–Hastings region.

The collaborative geotrail project was led by the University of Newcastle. The Department of Planning and Environment’s Geological Survey of NSW (GSNSW) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have had significant input.

Google Maps

NSW GeoTours app

The NSW GeoTours app provides the public with a free self-guided tour that can be pre-loaded onto mobile phones or tablets, with key sites geotagged stop-by-stop along a geotrail using the device’s inbuilt GPS.

Access the Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail tour by downloading the NSWGeoTours app (Android and Apple).

Geotrail brochure

A brochure including a map of the geotrail tells the story of how the area was formed and highlights the geology along the way, so visitors can identify various rock formations and learn how they came to be formed.

The brochure is available for download or is free at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, 159 Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie.


The Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail is accessible by foot or by vehicle.

You can travel in the same direction as the oceanic plate was moving, from Shelly Beach and Sea Acres to Rocky Beach and Town Beach, or you can do the reverse.

Alternatively, you can drive to key stops that are accessible from nearby carparks, or use public transport to the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre.

Further information

Port Macquarie–Hastings Council

Geological Society of Australia