About Port Stephens
Discover Port Stephens
Port Stephens is a water wonderland paradise located 2.5 hours north of Sydney. Port Stephens is not a town or city, but rather a region blessed with amazing natural beauty. Nelson Bay is just one of the many lovely suburbs, each with its own sandy white beaches and many things to see and do, which make up Port Stephens.
With 26 magnificent beaches and a breathtakingly beautiful harbour, which is 2.5 times the size of Sydney Harbour, it’s perfect for those who adore all the relaxation and activities that superb beaches, the harbour and the ocean provide. Combine this with the amazing National Parklands, bushwalking, marine wildlife, the largest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere, restaurants and cafes, boutique wineries and breweries, markets and festivals, adrenalin activities and sports, and boutique shops, and it’s easy to see that Port Stephens has something for everyone.
Port Stephens Attractions & Activities
The natural beauty of Port Stephens will mesmerise you, but there’s also just SO much to do! Whether it be golf, markets, fishing tournaments and festivals (such as Clans on the Coast Celtic Festival) and alfresco waterside fine dining, feasting on freshly, locally caught seafood for the grown-ups, or Oakdale Farm (a lovely animal farm), Toboggan Hill Park and The Australian Shark and Ray Centre for the young at heart, you’ll be having non-stop fun! But first, you’ll have to drag yourself away from relaxing on our picture-postcard-perfect beaches….Good luck with that!
Port Stephens Beaches & Harbour
Port Stephens’ pristine beaches and glorious harbour, which is over double the size of Sydney’s, are world-class. The 26 beaches offer a seemingly endless choice of ocean surf beaches or calm watered harbour beaches. Visitors are spoilt for choice trying to choose between relaxing on the beach, swimming, surfing, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, sailing, parasailing, ferry rides, whale and dolphin watching cruises, jet skiing, jet boating, and much more. There’s something to appeal
Port Stephens Marine Park
The Marine Park extends from Cape Hawke Surf Life Saving Club near Forster south to Birubi Beach Life Saving Club at the northern end of Stockton Beach and includes offshore waters to three nautical mile limit of State waters. It includes Port Stephens, Karuah River, Myall River, Myall and Smiths Lakes and their creeks and tributaries to the tidal limit. The park covers an area of approximately 98,000 hectares. NSW Government established the park in December 2005. The park’s diverse marine life includes many species of dolphins, turtles, fish, seabirds and seaweeds along with threatened species. Humpback whales travel along the marine park coastline during their annual migration north. Many significant Indigenous cultural and spiritual sites are located within or adjacent to the marine park. Visitors and residents can enjoy eco-tourism activities including fishing, boating, dolphin and whale watching as well as swimming, diving, snorkelling, kayaking and other water sports.
As well as swimming, snorkelling and surfing, try parasailing, jet-skiing or go scuba diving and explore the sea caves, sponge gardens and shipwrecks at Fly Point Marine Park. You can also try kayaking, sailing and jet skiing, or cast a line for some on-shore or deep-sea fishing. Closer to shore, crystal clear rock pools teeming with life will enthral young explorers. When you visit Nelson Bay you will be treated to a privileged view inside the world of the bottlenose dolphin. Around 90-120 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins live permanently in the waters of Port Stephens within the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park, making it one of the most popular places in the world for dolphin watching. The rocky coastal headlands and long white beaches of Port Stephens provide an ideal vantage point for watching dolphins from the shore.
Whale Watching & Dolphin Tours
Port Stephens has more sightings of giant Humpback whales as they pass by on their annual migration from June to November than any other place on the east coast of Australia. A truly spectacular sight, which can be enjoyed from many whale-watching cruises, or even from the headland in Tomaree National Park. The harbour is also fortunate enough to be home to around 150 bottlenose dolphins. These splendid creatures can be observed from dolphin cruises or even from the beach, and Port Stephens is home to Dolphin Swim Australia, the only permitted wild dolphin swim in NSW, offering the thrill of a lifetime.
Stockton Sand Dunes
Stockton Sand Dunes are the largest in the southern hemisphere and must be seen to be believed!
Occupying 4,200 hectares and with dunes reaching heights of 40m, it’s no wonder so many movies (including Mad Max) have been filmed there. The dunes can be enjoyed in your own 4WD, or you can take your pick from the many tourist businesses that offer such thrills as sand boarding, quad biking, horse and camel rides, and tours of the dunes to explore the area’s unique attractions, such as the Signa Shipwreck and Tin City.
Port Stephens History & Culture
Port Stephens is part of the traditional country of the Worimi Aboriginal people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years, and have a special connection with the landscape, plants and animals. Worimi people are spiritually connected to dolphins, or guparr, as they are called in the Gathang language. Traditionally, elders would speak with dolphins about food resources and looking after each other. Some elders still speak with dolphins today. Port Stephens was later discovered by Captain Cook in May 1770 and was named after Sir Phillip Stephens. Learn more about the area’s rich history by visiting the Port Stephens Visitor Centre.