About Port Stephens
Port Stephens: A Beach for Each Traveller
Crystal clear waters, sand dunes and endless beaches: these are only a few things that characterise Port Stephens Bay getaways. The small towns dotting the bay offer a host of aquatic activities, from snorkeling to swimming and surfing.
Year-round dolphin watching cruises and seasonal whale watching tours are some of the bay’s other highlights. Then there is Tomaree National Park, with its coastal trails leading to scenic lookouts.
Holiday rentals of all kinds are available in Port Stephens’ villages. Choose from cosy apartments steps from oceanfront restaurants, luxurious villas with expansive bay views and spacious family beach houses.
Port Stephens’ 26 Beaches
The Port Stephens area has 26 beaches to its name. Some of these are sheltered and perfect for families. Others are frequented by surfers. Others yet are removed from the crowd, so you can go on a long quiet strolls along the golden sand.
If you’re travelling with the kids, take them to naturally C-shaped Fingal Bay Beach. This protected beach faces a coastal island, connected to the mainland by a sandspit. Beginner surfers tend to favour One Mile Beach, and pros hit up Birubi.
Birubi Beach covers 32 km and is backed by the Stockton Sand Dunes, where you can go for camel rides or try sand tobogganing.
Port Stephens Marine Life Encounters
The waters surrounding Nelson Bay are home to a colony of bottlenose dolphins. To get better acquainted with the friendly marine creatures, hop aboard a dolphin watching cruise. Guided tours run throughout the year.
Whale watching cruises also depart from the Nelson Bay Marina during migration season (from May to August). Just as it is the case for dolphin sightings, it is almost guaranteed that you will spot whales. As such, most tour operators have a money-back policy if you don’t see these marine mammals.
If you’d like to get even closer to sea life, hire some snorkelling gear and head to Fly Point Park, known for its clear coastal waters and schools of colourful fish. In fact, you’ll be able to see many of the same tropical species that you would in the Great Barrier Reef. The calm waters around Fly Point make it easy and safe for everyone to snorkel, even children.
Port Stephens National Parks & Scenic Walks
To stretch your legs amidst scenic views of the coastline, head to Tomaree National Park. The park offers walking trails leading to lookout points, including Tomaree Head Summit. Climbing to the top along the Tomaree Head Summit Walk, you will be privy to dramatic seascapes, views of the coastal islands and glimpses of beaches below.
To find out more about local history, visit the Point Stephens Lighthouse, which is also set in Tomaree National Park. Join a guided tour or simply snap some shots of the vestiges of the original lightkeeper’s cottage, set against a stunning coastal background.
If you’d like the views without the effort, you can drive to Gan Gan Lookout, the tallest in the region. A popular activity is to watch the sunset. Throughout the day, you can take in sweeping coastline views all the way to Newcastle. Several short walking paths depart from the lookout, too.
Back at sea level, a number of walks weave along the coast, including Wreck Beach Walk and Big Rocky Walk. These trails allow you to discover coastal vegetation and pass by out-of-the-way beaches and rockpools.
Family-Friendly Port Stephens
If you’re travelling with the kids, there are many activities to keep them busy once you leave the beach. Visit the Tilligerry Habitat to see iconic Australian species, such as koalas and kangaroos. Group tours can teach you more about these marsupials.
To burn off some extra energy, head to Tomaree Aquatic Centre, where kids of all ages can play a variety of sports, in and out of the water. While you’re here, sign up for some swimming lessons - or just try out the waterslides! There’s a toddler pool for the tiniest tots.
A unique Port Stephens experience is to go for a camel or horse ride along the beach. Fun for the whole family, these rides are organized by a number of tour operators in many towns along Port Stephens Bay.
Getting to Port Stephens
Driving to Port Stephens takes about 2.5 hours from Sydney and just under an hour from Newcastle, the city with the closest airport. Coaches will connect Newcastle Airport to many Port Stephens destinations. Daily bus services also depart Sydney, linking the New South Wales capital to the main Port Stephens towns.