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Where is Port Stephens?
Port Stephens is a government area in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia and a popular tourism destination with laidback coastal vibes. The Port Stephens region is made up of a number of different areas and beautiful villages (like Nelson Bay, Fingal Bay and Shoal Bay), all close to the large sparkling blue Port Stephens harbour.
It’s a great place for people of all ages, with a variety of accommodation options (from camping and holiday parks to luxury hotels and short-term rentals) and lots to keep couples, families and solo travellers happy. It’s also a dream for adrenaline junkies, with a variety of thrilling and unique activities to choose from.
If you’re planning your Port Stephens itinerary or thinking about making a trip to this stunning and scenic part of New South Wales (just 2.5 hours and 151km north of Sydney and one hour north of Newcastle by car) you’ll find plenty of fun things to do.
What are the best things to do in Port Stephens?
Ask someone what there is to see in Port Stephens and sand dunes is sure to enter the conversation pretty quickly. Stockton Beach sand dunes are the largest moving coastal dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. They aren’t just for looking at, they’re made for having fun on. But it’s not all about sand dunes. The area is home to more than 150 bottlenose dolphins, 26 sandy beaches, and stunning scenery just waiting to be explored.
Port Stephens is within range for day trips from Sydney, but it’s well worth staying for longer if you can. There are plenty of opportunities for walking, bike riding, swimming, great food and drink, and general sightseeing, as well as experiences to satisfy all kinds of adventure lovers. It’s a destination that you’ll want to bring your camera along for, with beautiful scenery all around.
So, if you’re thinking about what to do in Port Stephens, NSW, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Jump on a quad bike adventure to explore the sand dunes in style. These guided tours are a great way to learn more about the sand dunes and put your skills to the test as you tackle the desert-like terrain head on. Full instruction on how to use the quad bike is included, and some experiences are suitable for kids aged eight and up with parental consent.
Another way to have fun on the famous Port Stephens sand dunes is by giving sandboarding a try. This unique activity shares obvious similarities with snowboarding, but is much warmer! Another bonus is no previous experience is needed and you can enjoy it standing up or sitting down. These dunes are around 40m high and stretch for 35km, giving visitors plenty of room to have fun.
You’ll also have the added bonus of travelling across the Stockton Sand Dunes in a 4WD to reach the best spots. Port Stephens sandboarding is a lot of fun and an activity that’s sure to make lasting memories.
Dolphin and whale watching
A Port Stephens dolphin or whale watching cruise is a real must while in the area. These tours depart from Nelson Bay and are a great day out for all ages. Thousands of humpback whales pass Australia’s east coast between May and November each year. Seeing these majestic creatures making their journey to warmer waters is enough to take your breath away. If you’re wondering what there is to in Port Stephens in the winter, it’s worth remembering that dolphins can be seen year round. Look out for other wildlife too, from seals to birds.
For the very best views of the Port Stephens region, you need to try a helicopter ride. Experience the unique sensation of helicopter flight and soak up awesome bird’s eye views of Anna Bay, Nelson Bay, Salamander Bay, Fingal Lighthouse, Mount Tomaree National Park and Shoal Bay, Hawks Nest and more. You might even be able to spot marine life like whales, dolphins, sharks and rays in the ocean below on this epic scenic flight.
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