Port Stephens for thrill seekers

A daycation to spark your sense of adventure

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Port Stephens is wonderful day trip away for those wishing to let loose and feel the thrill. Sail (or surf) the waters, conquer the desert sands, and experience the hinterland.

Less than three hours’ drive north from Sydney, Port Stephens is not a town but a shire, embracing many closely knit seafront neighbourhoods like Nelson’s Bay, Anna Bay, Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay, Soldiers Point and Salamander Bay.

Source: Supplied

Nelson Bay is unquestionably the hub where most day-trippers land. Get on a boat from the town’s impressive marina, and cruise the surrounding waters. Look out for Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins throughout the year, and big humpback whales between May and October as they migrate in large numbers from their cold hideouts in Antarctica to warm, shallower waters for calving and mating.

Source: Supplied

Swimming with the dolphins is described by many as an experience of a lifetime.

Enjoy a camel ride at sunset over the monumental Stockton Bight Sand Dunes – the largest of their kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Stretching over 32 km along the coastline, with some dunes reaching a height of 30 metres with slopes up to 60 degrees, they also offer a range of bucketlist-worthy experiences from sandboarding and quad biking to dashing over the sandy mountains on a four-wheel drive.

Source: Supplied

Check out the many sites of cultural and historical significance for the indigenous Worimi people to whom the land belongs since time immemorial.

If the surf beckons, then some 26 beaches await your pleasure, Shoal Bay being the most popular.

Nature’s wonder at Port Stephens doesn’t cease with sea and sand. It extends into the stunning greenery of coastal bushlands and forests of the surrounding Tomaree National Park. These provide many exciting walking trails and hiking opportunities.

Source: Supplied

For an insta-worthy vista of the entire region, many visitors don’t mind the 2km one-way trek to Tomaree Head Summit at Shoal Bay. The 360-degree view from the top is regarded as one of the top ten scenic encounters in Australia. If hiking is an issue, a nice panorama can be captured from Gan Gan lookout near Nelson Bay, easily accessible by car.

Source: Supplied

If you prefer to keep your thrills low key, then opt for a relaxing ferry ride up the Myall Lake to Tea Gardens, check out the sea giants at the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters, and visit some sick and injured koalas rescued by the locals and looked after at the Koala Sanctuary – all of which can be wonderful day-trip delights

There’s foot-golfing, go-carting and water park fun for the kids, and some breathtaking greens for keen golfers.

And of course, not to be forgotten, a key attraction of Port Stephens is its boutique food and wine scene, adorned by a series of great cafes and restaurants offering everything from fine dining menu to fish and chips and Indian tandoori and curry delights.

Source: Supplied

For more information www.visitnsw.com/feelnsw

READ ALSO: Feel a sense of belonging in the Blue Mountains

What's On