Top Things To Do Port Stephens
Port Stephens is just 45 minutes from Newcastle and is the ideal spot for Sydneysiders to come for a relaxing long weekend. It's also a must do area for tourists who are driving the east coast of Australia. We love this region for a simple, sun-kissed beach holiday, full of relaxation and long hot days by the ocean. There's also a host of activities to be enjoyed, so check out some ideas below.
Find your perfect beach
With 26 gorgeous beaches in and around Port Stephens, one of your hardest holiday decisions here might be which one you choose to go to each day. Shoal Bay is an absolute jem of a beach, with light sand, a pretty jetty and fantastic views to the heads. There's a smattering of cafes here, as well as the impressive Shoal Bay Resort and Spa. With toilet amenities and BBQs it's a great beach to visit for a day with family or friends. Swim, walk, picnic, hire a sailboat or just soak it up! Fingal Bay offers a nice surf beach on the ocean side and is another top spot for swimming, surfing, walking and picnicking. Rugged One Mile Beach is the region's most natural beach, and as you stroll the sands you won't see a building in sight. There's a surf school here so it is the place to come to try and catch some waves. Corlette is a quiet and tranquil little beach, great for family swimming. Whilst here you can listen to the tinkering of boats in the marina and pop into (or even better, stay at) the lovely Peppers Anchorage Resort. For spectacular Port Stephen's sunsets, you can't go past Soldiers Point and the aptly named Sunset Beach. Take a picnic or have a walk as the sun dips down, bliss.
Play in and on the waterway
Port Stephens is a pristine waterway which is over twice the size of Sydney Harbour. Famed for its clear and warm blue waters, it really is one giant aquatic playground. Go snorkelling, scuba diving, parasailing, swimming, sailing, kayaking. Take a dolphin cruise or in season a whale watching tour. Go surfing or head out on a fishing charter. You can pretty much do it all here, in the most scenic of settings!
With so much natural beauty all around and great weather, Port Stephens is a walker's paradise. Walking between the main hub of Nelson Bay and the quiet village of Corlette on the scenic waterfront path takes about 40 minutes and provides lovely views alongside the gentle lapping of the ocean. We've seen dolphins along this route, and if you are lucky they might be playing right in close to where you are walking. For those that don't mind a bit of a steep climb, the hike up to the Tomaree Lookout at the end of Shoal Bay, is well worth the effort. The view from the top (only 158 metres) provides spectacular vistas back up the waterway and of the national park and beaches along the coast.
Find some local wildlife
Calling all nature lovers. Port Stephens is known as the Dolphin Capital of Australia, with its own large and friendly resident pod. Take a dolphin tour to find them and get up close to them as they play in the water. More often that not, you might just be lucky enough to spot them as you walk around the bay here too, as they often come in close to shore. The annual whale migration also passes by Port Stephens and you can head out on a whale watching tour. Boat Harbour provides a good land based vantage point too. Barry Park at Fingal Bay is also a good spot to sit and spot the passing whales. The Port Stephens region is a natural habitat for koalas, so keep your eyes open for them, particularly at dusk. One Mile Beach is home to some, and there is a eucalyptus forest runs along the foreshore at Bagnalls Beach, so you may chance upon some here. At the Tilligerry Nature Reserve you can take a guided walk in the hope of seeing a koala here.
Go para-sailing over the water to get your adrenalin up! Or what about some crazy sand duning or four wheel driving in the huge Stockton sand dunes (which are located mid-way between Port Stephens and the city of Newcastle). Take the kids go-carting, or horse trekking, or even camel riding! There is so much you can do in around Port Stephens if you feel like more than just lying around in the sun with a good book. You can even hand feed a shark or pat a stingray at the Australian Shark and Ray Centre located at Bob's Farm.
Soak up village life
Nelson Bay is a pretty little seaside town, which is the main tourist hub of the Port Stephen's region. It's home to a wide range of accommodation and dining options and is a relaxing place to stay a while. There is cute boutique shopping, and the D'Albora Marina is a lively spot with shops, cafes and often live outdoor music. Grab an ice cream or some deliciously fresh fish and chips, and sit by the sea. Watch the tour boats come in and out and enjoy!