As they say, you need to get lost in order to make the most incredible discoveries. Port Stephens wasn't part of our plan. To be completely honest, we stopped there only because we were starving and heard we could find some delicious pies there.
Welcome in blue water paradise! Situated in New South Wales, Port Stephens is a MAJESTIC natural bay that hides no less than 26 dreamy beaches and many more wonders. If you love translucide waters, pristine beaches, wildlife, outdoor sports and good wine & food, prepare to be enchanted by this awesome part of the coast. We stayed only two days in the region but if we had more time, we would have stayed longer -my word, three weeks is waaay to short for a road trip on Australia's East Coast!
Getting to Port Stephens
Port Stephens is a two hours and a half drive from Sydney or Port Macquarie. As always in Australia, the road to get there is scenic, so beautiful you'll want to stop every other mile. So plan plenty of time to get there to enjoy the journey properly.
A peninsula rich on surprises: what to do in port stephens?
The sheltered harbor is blessed with an extraordinary nature. From near-deserted beaches, immense national parks and tremendous sand dunes, the region holds endless activities to do and things to discover.
- Surf or relax at heavenly One Mile Beach
Open your eyes on the way to the beach, you could have the chance to spot a koala bear on one of the eucalyptus! One Mile Beach blew our minds. We arrived early in the morning while it was still quiet, to find a beach with fine white sand, turquoise water, sand dunes on the background and absolutely NO trace of human. A truly pristine wild beach, like in the old times. A piece of paradise.
- Scuba dive with sharks off Broughton Island
Because scuba diving with sharks is obviously something you want to do... Ok, maybe not. But if you're crazy/passionate enough, this is a one-of-a-kind-experience!
- Treat your taste buds with one of Red Neds' delicious pies
The Aussies really know how to bake a pie. And Red Neds is no exception. The chef in this small bakery MASTERS the pies -of all kind : satay, green curry, kangaroo, mushroom, crocodile (!!), prawns... Pick your exotic flavor! They're all delicious -we haven't tried the crocodile one though, so I can't tell...
- Wander around Nelson Bay's and spot the dolphins
No less than a hundred bottlenose dolphins live permanently in the waters of Port Stephens. Nelson Bay is one of the spots where you have the most chances to spot them. So keep your eyes open! The best way to enjoy this spectacular bay is to rend a kayak and explore the surroundings alone in the wilderness! You can also go on a tour to swim with the dolphins.
- Get lost in Anna Bay sand dunes
This immense stretch of soft sand will make you feel like you're lost in the end of the world. Are we still in Australia? Like in Kangaroo Island's Little Sahara, we feel like we're kids again, running, jumping and rolling in the sand, wondering if we'll cross a snake or a scorpion during our exploration. The only wildlife we'll see will be dead birds -which means, for most of them, just skeletons. On the ocean side, surfers are having the time of their life. The scenery is stunning -so gorgeous it's hard to leave!
- Climb Mount Tomaree for the most rewarding views
Mount Tomaree hike is steep but very short -only one kilometer each way. It's a MUST if you come to Port Stephens. The views over Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay and Shark Island are breathtaking. It starts from Zenith Beach carpark. The hike is scenic, and obviously it's also a perfect spot for runners. Despite the perfect weather that day, we were lucky to be alone on the track -apart from giant lizards and a scary snake! It's covered by the trees shade all the way up, although don't forget to bring plenty of waters, you'll need it. If you come between May and October, take your binoculars, you could spot migrating humpback whales. The best way to finish the hike? With a refreshing dip in the ocean.