Innes Ruins

Lake Innes Nature Reserve

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Innes Ruins at Lake Innes Nature Reserve, near Port Macquarie, is closed until further notice due to the impacts of bushfires in October 2019.

Historic buildings/places
Lake Innes Nature Reserve

Access to Innes Ruins is closed until further notice due to the impacts of the 2019 bushfires.

Innes Ruins has a charming setting looking over Lake Innes and is an important remnant of early settlement days on the north coast of NSW. Built by Major Archibald Clunes Innes, it contains rich history about the settlement of NSW, convict labour and the culture of the 1800s.

The Depression of the 1840s brought financial ruin to Innes, and the closure of Port Macquarie as a penal settlement deprived him of convict labour. Following his departure, the house was occupied by a number of people over time, but was derelict by the beginning of the 1900s. It subsequently deteriorated to its present state as a result of natural decay and vandalism.

Today, the ruins are classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

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Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Innes Ruins.

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Safety messages

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).



Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.


NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Kempsey (117 km)

Kempsey is a historic river town close to national parks and majestic beaches. Kempsey is a convenient place for an overnight stop for anyone driving between Sydney and the North Coast.

North Haven (96 km)

Follow an enjoyable coastal track that passes through littoral rainforest, heathland and eucalypt forests at Grants Beach, located on the north side of the Camden Haven River mouth. The track lies behind the beach and is popular for bushwalking and birdwatching.

Port Macquarie (76 km)

Vibrant Port Macquarie is surrounded by beautiful waterways - the Hastings River, canals, creeks, bays and the Pacific Ocean. The city also has a five-star collection of golden-sand beaches stretching from Port Macquarie Beach to Town Beach and north along the 16-km swathe of North Beach.

Learn more

Innes Ruins is in Lake Innes Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Early settlement history

 Innes Ruins, Lake Innes Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

Lake Innes Ruins is the remains of the elaborate estate built in the 1830s-40s by convicts and free labour for Major Archibald Clunes Innes, an entrepreneur and important figure in the settlement of Port Macquarie. Innes was convinced that Port Macquarie would become the main gateway to the coastal area around the Hastings River and to nearby New England, so the extensive complex was an ambitious creation by one of the most influential of the early European settlers in the area. Sadly, the Depression of the 1840s brought Innes to near insolvency, prompting the family to leave the estate by the 1850’s and move to Newcastle where Archibald Innes was appointed Magistrate. Today, its ruins serve as an educational reminder of the area's early settlement history, and are a testimony to the ambition and tenacity of the early settlers.

  • Innes Ruins Innes Ruins at Lake Innes Nature Reserve, near Port Macquarie, is closed until further notice due to the impacts of bushfires in October 2019.

Fascinating wildlife and bird life

Lake Innes, Lake Innes Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

Numerous local birds and wildlife call the reserve home. On your visit to the park, you're likely to spot, koalas, kangaroos, possums and gliders, as well as various reptiles and amphibians. Among the birds you might spot on or around the lake are ospreys, ducks and black swans, so be sure to have your binoculars handy for a spot of bird watching. The reserve also contains extensive wetlands, including the Innes Swamp, which supports a number of sedges and rushes. On the edges of Lake Innes lie swaths of endangered salt marsh and on the eastern edge of the reserve, you can see the Christmas Bell Plains - a mosaic of coastal heath and swamp that are gorgeous when in bloom in summertime.

  • Googik Heritage walking track Enjoy walking, hiking or cycling along Googik Heritage walking track in Lake Innes Nature Reserve while taking in some of the great sights of Port Macquarie.
  • Perch Hole picnic area Perch Hole picnic area, beside Lake Innes, is an idyllic spot for a family celebration, a romantic picnic, or to get away from it all and enjoy some solitude in the middle of nature.

Get active

Innes Ruins, Lake Innes Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

Lake Innes Nature Reserve provides opportunities for a number of fun recreational activities both on the land and lake. Enjoy fishing, swimming and kayaking in Lake Innes via Perch Hole picnic area. Go bushwalking and bird watching on the fire trails that run along the Christmas Bell Plains. Or, take a guided tour of the historic Innes Ruins and learn about Port Macquarie's early history.

Education resources (1)

Innes Ruins, Lake Innes Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer