- Destination NSW

Nelson Bay

  • Surfing, Bennetts Beach, North Coast
  • Dolphin cruise at Port Stephens, North Coast


Beaches in Nelson Bay

Nelson Bay is a major holiday playground and the main resort area of Port Stephens. Located on the southern shores of Port Stephens, Nelson Bay offers beautiful beaches such as Dutchmans Beach and Little Beach, ideal for a wide range of water activities and family fun. 

Must Do

About Nelson Bay

Nelson Bay is the main town for Port Stephens and it would be hard to find anywhere better equipped for aquatic pursuits,€“ plus a great array of accommodation and dining options. On the town's doorstep within the sheltered arms of the bay there are safe, calm beaches that are ideal for small children, while the coastal beaches just a five-minute drive away are washed by booming waves.

The diving and snorkelling here is exceptional. Just east of Nelson Bay, the tiny promontory of Fly Point is an aquatic reserve with prolific marine life. Divers have another superb site just off the coast at Broughton Island, with such outstanding features as the 'Looking Glass', a split that runs through the middle of the island, crowded with marine life.

To the south of Nelson Bay, Stockton Beach has the country's largest coastal dune system known as the Stockton Sand Dunes. Be sure to also visit the Nelson Head Heritage Lighthouse and Reserve.


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  • Stockton Sand Dunes

    Stockton Sand Dunes

    Located just 10 minutes from the centre of Nelson Bay, the Stockton Sand Dunes stretch for more than 30 km to the northern outskirts of Newcastle, covering an area of 4,200 hectares. Explore the ever-shifting golden dunes by sandboard, 4WD, quad bike tour or riding a camel or horse.

  • Beaches in Nelson Bay


    Nelson Bay is an ideal location to enjoy glorious stretches of beaches. Explore this stunning coastline and discover family-friendly bays such as Boat Harbour, to nearby surfing beaches such as Box Beach and One Mile Beach.

  • Snorkelling in Nelson Bay

    Water Activites

    Discover Nelson Bay's abundance of colourful underwater life by going snorkeling at Fly Point Aquatic Reserve, or enjoy swimming with the area's friendly dolphin community. Nelson Bay's coastline is also a great location for whale watching, with a number of tours available in season.

Explore Nelson Bay

Woman on boat in Nelson Bay, North Coast. Image credit: James Pipino; Destination NSW