Nature in Port Stephens
The natural beauty of Port Stephens is sublime, from the sparkling blue bays where bottlenose dolphins frolic to magnificent Tomaree National Park where koalas live. You can camp under the stars on Broughton Island and sail to Cabbage Tree Island, home to the endangered Gould’s petrel.
Other marvellous nature attractions include the giant sand dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands and the pretty sponge gardens in the Fly Point-Halifax Park Aquatic Reserve. A range of adventure tours is available to explore all these natural wonders, which are 2h 30min drive north of Sydney.
Or simply roll out your towel on one of the gorgeous beaches and marvel at the azure waters of the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park. You’re likely to see the resident bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales on their annual migration. Dolphin and whale boat tours depart from Nelson Bay.
For a spectacular panorama, the Tomaree Head summit walk is a top attraction and a vantage point for whale watching between May and November. The walk is only 2.2km return. At the top you can see Cabbage Tree and Boondelah islands, the only nesting sites in the world for the Gould’s petrel.
Tomaree Head, near Shoal Bay, is the highest peak in the national Park, at 161 metres. Nearby is the Wreck Beach walk, winding through an angophora forest to a little cove perfect for a picnic. In and around the national park you can spot koalas munching on swamp mahogany, a species of eucalypt.
You’ll find more koalas in the wild in the Tilligerry Habitat, a lovely nature reserve on the Tilligerry Peninsula. The habitat is popular feeding spot with koalas. Pop into the tourist information centre and pick up a self-guided walking map - or book a guided tour in advance – and visit the koalas.
Other ways to explore Port Stephens include cycling, kayaking, sailing and snorkelling. You can hire bicycles, kayaks and other equipment. There are also boat tours to the islands, including Cabbage Tree and Broughton. In the waters around Broughton Island are endangered grey nurse sharks.