Port Stephens

From sublime natural beauty to freshly caught seafood, Port Stephens is a wonderful beach escape on a sparkling blue bay. Relax on beautiful sandy beaches, meet the resident bottlenose dolphins, enjoy fun water sports, explore giant sand dunes and savour delicious waterfront places to eat.

Home to more than 100 dolphins, the pristine inlet in the vast Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park is twice the size of Sydney Harbour. For spectacular panoramas of the azure waters and beyond there are two excellent vantage points, the Tomaree Head summit and the Gan Gan Hill lookout.

Coastal aerial of Fingal Spit with views towards Mount Tomaree, Port Stephens

Dolphin-watching cruises depart from Nelson Bay, the main town, which is 2h 30min drive north of Sydney and half an hour from Newcastle Airport. Whale watching is popular between May and November, when thousands of humpback and other whales migrate through the marine park.

Dotted along the southern bay shoreline are restaurants serving succulent local prawns, oysters, crabs and lobsters. There are vineyards and a craft beer brewery nearby. Places to stay suit various budgets, from island camping and holiday parks to holiday houses, apartments and stylish resorts.

There are 26 lovely beaches, from sheltered bayside beaches perfect for families with young children to ocean beaches. The Port Stephens Surf School offers surfing lessons at several beaches. At pretty Shoal Bay is a majestic 2.5km beach where kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for hire.

Whale and dolphin cruise boat, Port Stephens, Australia

A splendid backdrop to Shoal Bay is the Tomaree National Park, where you’ll find the summit walk, military heritage and koalas in the wild. You can also spot koalas in the enchanting Tilligerry Habitat, a nature reserve. Or get up close to koalas and other native animals at the Oakvale Wildlife Park.

Just east of Oakvale are the largest moving coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere and the longest beach in NSW, both in the Worimi Conservation Lands. There are fun adventure tours of the towering Stockton Bight sand dunes, and four-wheel driving and fishing are popular on the beach.

For a memorable aquatic experience, step into the water with sharks and stingrays at the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters, an amazing interactive aquarium. There are also scuba diving tours in the marine park, including to Cabbage Tree Island’s shipwreck and Broughton Island’s grey nurse sharks.

Newcastle Airport

Fly into Newcastle Airport 

Newcastle Airport is 34km from Nelson Bay, the main town in Port Stephens. Choose from various transport options on arrival, including car rental, limousine and door-to-door shuttle bus, to make the short trip northeast to Port Stephens. Public buses are available to Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay.

Newcastle Airport offers direct flights to and from east coast cities and Adelaide.

Jetstar flies direct to and from Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane. QantasLink operates direct flights to and from Brisbane. Virgin Australia flies direct to and from Brisbane and Melbourne. FlyPelican operates direct flights to and from Adelaide, Dubbo, Mudgee, Ballina-Byron Bay, Canberra and Sydney. Regional Express also flies to and from Sydney.

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO STAY

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Events

  1. Meditation and Buddhism

    Monday 22 October 2018 to Monday 17 December 2018 , Port Stephens Area

    Classes begin with a simple guided breathing meditation followed by a teaching and a second guided meditation based on the topic. There is also an opportunity for discussion, followed by refreshments. In each class a different aspect of med…

    22 Oct - 17 Dec
  2. Oktoberfest at Murrays Brewery

    Monday 22 October 2018 to Sunday 28 October 2018 , Nelson Bay

    Oktoberfest has become a very popular event and beer style to produce in other parts of the world, including at Murray’s Brewery at Bobs Farm, Port Stephens. Murray’s Oktoberfest festival starts on Saturday 29 September on the long weekend…

    22 Oct - 28 Oct
  3. Port Stephens Market

    Saturday 27 October 2018 to Saturday 23 February 2019 , Port Stephens Area

    Port Stephens Market is a monthly market running on the fourth Saturday of the month. It is a wonderful local community market located in Salt Ash. If you are driving to the bay it's a 'must' that you stop in to see what wonderful thing…

    27 Oct - 23 Feb
  4. Tomaree Markets

    Sunday 28 October 2018 to Sunday 09 December 2018 , Nelson Bay

    The Tomaree Markets are held every second and fourth Sunday of the month at Tomaree Sports complex. They are a community market with craft, food products, designer items, live music and much more. From jewellery to local artists, olive oils…

    28 Oct - 09 Dec
  5. Tastes at the Bay: Jazz Food Wine

    Friday 02 November 2018 to Sunday 04 November 2018 , Nelson Bay

    A festival of flavours and quavers! This November "Tastes at the Bay” invites you to savour the flavours and the quavers with three days of fun, food, wine and jazz in the Nelson Bay CBD. Get your feet tapping and your taste buds dancing a…

    02 Nov - 04 Nov
  6. Tastes at the Bay Festival

    Friday 02 November 2018 to Sunday 04 November 2018 , Nelson Bay

    Now in their fifteenth year, the 2018 Tastes at the Bay Festival, is set to be a feast of the best Food, Wine and Music in the Port Stephens Region! From Seafood to Shiraz, Chocolate to Champagne or Fresh Bread to Craft Beers, the Tastes at…

    02 Nov - 04 Nov