With a host of fabulous attractions, Port Stephens is an excellent place to holiday. This family-friendly destination is packed with things to do, which can be overwhelming at times. So, if you’re wondering what to do in Port Stephens, we’re here to help. We’ve pulled together 10 of the hottest Port Stephens’ attractions, and we’ll give you a few travel tips to make your experience better, as well as highlighting why you may want to consider a private tour of the area.
Top 10 Port Stephens Attractions
Where to go in Port Stephens and what to do. These are questions everyone asks when they’re setting up their travel itinerary. Luckily for you, we’ve been there and we want you to have a fantastic time. This is why we’ve pulled together these exclusive attractions, all of which are great for the whole family.
1. Fighter World
Fighter World has two very large hangers that come packed with history. You’ll see an extensive collection of different types of fighter aircraft, ranging from the F-111 to Mirages, and it’s seriously hands-on. You can even get right inside the aircraft and take a look at the instrument panels. The staff have a passion for this aircraft, and they’re more than happy to share history and information on the aircraft themselves. It’s close to the RAAF base, and this means you can hang out on the observation deck and watch aircraft.
2. Surf the Dunes
For those adrenaline junkies, the Worimi Conservation Lands is a must-see. Stretching an impressive 32 kilometres, the Stockton Sand Dunes give you hours of heart-pounding entertainment. The dunes tower between 30 and 50 metres high, and you can take a quad, 4WD or a sandboard down each of them. Wear plenty of sunscreen, and watch the whole family master the dunes and fly down the steep hills on an exhilarating afternoon.
3. Take a Hike on Tomaree Headland
This short but steep one to two hour hike on Tomaree Headland is a very rewarding experience. Once you reach the summit, you’ll see gorgeous panoramic views of Port Stephens’ coastline and north coast. At the bottom of the trail is the white sand beaches of Zenith Beach. Wreck Beach is also neatly tucked away and “hidden” in this area, and you can easily take a dip in the more placid waters to cool off.
4. Dolphin Watch
Port Stephens has the nickname of Australia’s Dolphin Capital due to the fact that more than 140 bottlenose dolphins call this area home. Dolphin Swim Australia is a one-of-a-kind adventure, as the dolphins will interact with you as if you were part of their pod, and offers everything you need to have a really fantastic experience.
5. Go on a Ferry Ride
Ride on the traditional timber ferries between Nelson Bay and the Tea Gardens. While you take your ferry ride, you’ll take in the history of the stunning Port Stephens Harbour, Winda Woppa and the Myall River. You’ll also get several chances to spot the host of bottlenose dolphins that reside here. When you finish, you can end the day with fish and chips from a local pub.
6. Visit Oakvale Farm
Perfect for families, Oakvale Farm allows you to get up close and personal with a variety of Australian wildlife. You can give a koala a pat, feed the free-range animals, see camels, ducks, dingoes, emus, cassowaries, lambs, sheep, deer and more. Your kids can take time to bottlefeed the baby goats, take a tractor ride, or milk a cow. It’s a great way to get out with the entire family for a day trip.
7. Touch a Stingray at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters
Port Stephens is full of interactive attractions including Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters. You can feed a shark by hand, and touch one of the stingrays. There is a large variety of sea life at this aquarium, and it’s a fun way to introduce your kids to new animals in a safe environment.
8. Dive at Fly Point Park
Adrenaline junkies will love spending the day diving at Fly Point Park. The aqua-coloured water gives you high visibility, and it’s widely considered to be one of Australia’s best shore-dive locations. There’s a large amount of ledges and drop-offs to explore, and there are large areas of seagrass in shallow sections that show the sponges, crustaceans and giant sea turtles. Snorkelling is possible here, and the region is known for its very tame fish.
9. Whale Watch at Crest Birubi Beach
Crest Birubi Beach is a small cafe that offers fantastic views with delicious brekkie and lunch options. There’s also a large gourmet coffee selection, and they have milkshakes and burgers on hand as well. While you enjoy your meal, you’ll get to see stunning views of the beach and the water. Additionally, dolphins and whales routinely pass right by this cafe. Bring the whole family and enjoy a morning or afternoon out.
10. Take a Day Trip to Broughton Island
You can take a day trip or camp at Broughton Island. The reefs surrounding this picturesque island are renowned for Jewfish and Snapper, and enjoying a trip here is an excellent way to get out and explore the areas around Port Stephens. There is an active seal colony right off the coast, and you can sit and watch them play in the waves. If you camp, you have an excellent chance of seeing them up close.
Port Stephens Travel Tips
Now that you know what to do in Port Stephens, we’ll give you several simple travel tips that help to enhance your holiday. It’s a beautiful location all year round with dozens of fun activities that make this a perfect family holiday location. A few travel tips include:
Dress for the Outdoors
Port Stephens is an area that really caters to the outdoors, with dozens and dozens of attractions and things to do. You want to stay comfortable no matter what you choose to do, day or night. This means dressing for the outdoors. Bring a jacket and comfortable shoes that allow you to hike or walk for hours without a problem. If you’re going to be around the water, or on it water, bring appropriate gear!
Winter Gives You Excellent Value for Money
Summer in Port Stephens can be hectic and packed with tourists. However, a short winter holiday will give you excellent value for your money. You’ll have the beaches mostly to yourself, there’s no huge delay for activities and there are no long waits in cafes. Weather is cooler, however, so you want to plan your activities accordingly.
Come to Whale Watch
Whale watching in Port Stephens is a must-do for both individuals and families alike. Whales migrate past Port Stephens to the north from May to August, and come by again from September to November. These are the times at which you have the best chances of seeing these majestic, but there is always the more common dolphin if you don’t manage to get lucky.
Book Your Accommodations
If you plan to come to Port Stephens in the busier months, make sure you plan your accommodations accordingly. You don’t want to get there and scramble to find accommodations that fits your group. Take a look around and decide if you want more luxurious accommodations, or something more cost-effective. Port Stephens has both available.
Get a Beach Vehicle Permit
If you plan to spend a day or two driving around the dunes with your 4WD, you’ll need to purchase a vehicle beach permit to stay legal. The visitor information centre has them for sale, or you can purchase them over the phone. You can buy an annual pass for just $88, and there is also a three-day pass available for shorter trips.
Why a Private Tour in Port Stephens is a Good Idea
A private tour of Port Stephens is a fun and relaxing way to see the best attractions and sites of the area. Private tour companies know all of the hottest spots that someone not from the area may miss. Additionally, it takes a lot of the stress away from you, because the tour operator will handle all of the logistics, and usually your accommodations to boot. All you have to do is show up for the tour and enjoy yourself.
Private tours of Port Stephens also give you a chance to interact with friends, family members or other people who are all as excited as you are to be here. A tour ensures that there are always people around to go the next attraction with, and also gives you time to go do things on your own.
Are you interested in finding out more about our Port Stephens private tours? Maybe you’d like to book your own. Either way, we’d love to hear from you! You can reach out and contact our staff today with any questions you may have!