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Reconnect in Port Stephens

Zenith Beach, Port StephensCredit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a walk along Zenith Beach, Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Reconnect in Port Stephens

Zenith Beach, Port Stephens Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a walk along Zenith Beach, Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #feelnsw #newsouthwales

Escape to Port Stephens, a haven where choosing between its 26 beautiful beaches is the toughest decision you’ll make. Beyond natural beauty, this coastal sanctuary just 2.5 hours' drive north of Sydney offers plenty of attractions. Practise your swing at world-class golf courses, dine at deluxe restaurants by the water and traverse the biggest shifting sand dunes in the hemisphere.  

Cultivate a passion for local produce

Reap the rewards of Port Stephens’ superb produce, from freshly caught seafood to a traditional Greek feast just by the water, on a self-guided tour of its top foodie offerings.

Bask in the warm morning sun as you start your day on a delicious note at The Little Nel, a cafe overlooking the bay where the menu reflects the local season and Australia’s multicultural food scene.

For seafood, go straight to the source and explore the wharf at Nelson Bay Fish Market, in Nelson Bay, where local catchers deliver their haul daily. Dazzle your taste buds with plump oysters grown and harvested just offshore, juicy prawns and local mud crabs. Head next door to Bub’s Fish and Chips to savour the local catch via an indulgent seafood platter or classic takeaway box of fish and chips.  

Be inspired by five generations of dedicated oyster farmers with a visit to the family-run Holberts Oyster Farm in Cromarty Bay. Take away a platter of oysters or order a bottle of wine and enjoy an alfresco feast at a picnic table overlooking the water. 

If a great meal by the sea is the way to your heart, you’ll also love the nautically themed Little Beach Boathouse in Nelson Bay, where the modern Australian dishes are just as fresh as the views. Alternatively, soak up the Mediterranean vibes at Atmos in the Shoal Bay Country Club, a Greek restaurant so dedicated to cultivating a vibe they had the interiors designed by Athenian architects and the menu includes yiayia (a Greek grandmother)-made desserts.

Take a sip of the region’s best craft drinks at Murray’s Brewing Company, a multifaceted brewery, bar and restaurant located in the aptly named Port Stephens suburb, Bobs Farm. Sample the brewery’s off-beat and all-natural beers, wines from the region’s oldest winemakers at Port Stephens Winery (the brewery’s next-door neighbours) and a range of dining experiences from high tea accompanied by decadent pastries to regionally focused fine dining at on-site restaurant, Restaurant William. 

Chalk up a memorable wildlife encounter

Climb aboard a whale-watching cruise with Moonshadow–TQC Cruises or Imagine Cruises to marvel at the spectacular, out-of-water jumps and twirls of humpback whales as they pass Port Stephens on their annual migration between May and November. Keep your eyes peeled for the thriving population of bottlenose dolphins who make their home at Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park, and look out for flocks of oceanic birds and the fur seals lolling about on Cabbage Tree Island. For a truly immersive experience, join Dolphin Swim Australia for an exhilarating swim alongside the playful marine creatures.

If you don’t already adore koalas, you’re bound to develop a soft spot for the fuzzy local icons on a visit to Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary, where you can view these marsupials in their natural habitat. Observe them living their day-to-day lives and then head into the on-site hospital for a lesson on what the centre is doing to help, protect and care for them. Koalas also compete for your attention in Tomaree National Park, where you can take a spectacular 2.2km-return hike to the summit of Tomaree Head, a circuit that sports some of the best coastal views in the state. 

Get up close and personal with native and domestic farm animals at Oakvale Wildlife Park. Set over 10 hectares of native forest, it’s a haven for all manner of creatures. Get hands-on to help feed baby farm animals and feel connect to nature during encounters with koalas, echidnas, lemurs and even alligators.

Moonshadow Cruises, Port Stephens Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a dolphin watching cruise with Moonshadow Cruises in Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Moonshadow Cruises, Port Stephens Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a dolphin watching cruise with Moonshadow Cruises in Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Oakvale Wildlife Park, Salt Ash Credit: Destination NSW

Father and daughter feeding a wallaby at Oakvale Wildlife Park, Salt Ash in Port Stephens.

#newsouthwales #feelnsw

Oakvale Wildlife Park, Salt Ash Credit: Destination NSW

Father and daughter feeding a wallaby at Oakvale Wildlife Park, Salt Ash in Port Stephens.

#newsouthwales #feelnsw

Find your happy place to play

Port Stephens’ most famous attraction is the Stockton Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conversation Lands, a spectacular, undulating 32km expanse of sand dunes that can reach heights of up to 30 metres. Jump on a quad bike to explore the dunes, the biggest shifting sand dunes in the southern hemisphere, with Sand Dune Adventures, which pairs adrenalin with Aboriginal culture on its innovative Stockton Beach tours. Pile on the thrills with a sandboarding excursion via a 4WD Tours R Us tour or simply focus on enjoying the scenery during a camel ride on Birubi Beach with Oakfield Ranch. 

Port Stephens offers three fabulous golf courses that show off both the landscape and the wildlife. Look out for kangaroos, wallabies and more as you play up to 27 holes at the championship course at Nelson Bay Golf Club. Just a short drive west to Salamander Bay is Horizons Golf Resort, a scenic 18-hole championship course with manicured greens and a soothing lakes system. Yet another 18-hole championship course awaits at Pacific Dunes, which regularly takes home plaudits for its challenging fairways and kangaroo visitors.

For a totally different experience, take your kids to Nelson Bay’s Splash Waterpark, and see their faces light up as they explore an inflatable wonderland on the sea packed with obstacles for thrill-seekers to slide down, fall onto and leap across. If you prefer to stay dry, get your adrenaline high at Toboggan Hill Park, a fun, adventure-filled activity zone in Nelson Bay. Surrounded by native bush, the site features a toboggan track, mini golf, giant maze, tractor rides, indoor rock climbing and more. 

Sleep in style by the water

Slide into 1970s mode at Bannisters Port Stephens, a remodelled hotel that pays homage to a glamorous bygone era of travel with its 80 barefoot-luxe rooms complemented by the lauded Rick Stein seafood restaurant. Slip into the infinity pool overlooking the glittering bay, explore the national parkland, or spend the afternoon relaxing at the luxurious Spa Bannisters, where you can rejuvenate with a range of therapies and deluxe body and facial treatments.

Hamptons-chic Anchorage Hotel & Spa is another luxurious accommodation option. Its on-site bar, Moby’s Bar, is a perfect perch to sample a selection of the world’s finest whiskies and wines while soaking up views out over the marina. Pair your drink of choice with a platter of gourmet antipasti or Sydney rock oysters, then retire to your room suite or villa — ask for one with a private water-view patio so you can enjoy being that little bit closer to a dip in the ocean. 

Stockton Sand Dunes, Port Stephens Credit: Destination NSW

Quad biking experience on the Stockton Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands, Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Stockton Sand Dunes, Port Stephens Credit: Destination NSW

Quad biking experience on the Stockton Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands, Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Bannisters, Port Stephens Credit: Destination NSW

Couple relaxing by the pool at Bannisters, Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Bannisters, Port Stephens Credit: Destination NSW

Couple relaxing by the pool at Bannisters, Port Stephens.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

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