Nelson Bay

The largest town in the Port Stephens area, Nelson Bay is an exciting hub and a great place to base yourself to explore the delights of the region. You’ll find plenty of fun things to do, from dolphin watching to sunset cruises and the sheltered beaches are ideal for families with young children.

Things to do

More than 100 dolphins live in the pristine blue waters of the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park.

Dolphin-watching cruises depart all year from the Nelson Bay marina.

Between September and May you can swim with wild dolphins with Dolphin Swim Australia.

Find fun on the sand dunes

As one of the most popular coastal regions in New South Wales, there are plenty of beaches to explore in Port Stephens. Among the most stunning is windswept Zenith Beach, somewhat hidden behind the more well-known and family-friendly Shoal Bay.

Experienced surfers are attracted to the wild waves at Zenith, as well as Wreck, Box and Samurai beaches. There are plenty of beaches for families, too, such as One Mile Beach, Fingal Bay and Birubi Beach. You can hire a surfboard or stand-up paddleboard from Port Stephens Surf School, or sign up for a surfing lesson.

Other seaside activities include sunset camel rides, horse riding in Anna Bay, andsandbording down Stock Bright sand dunes.

Hike Mount Tomaree

It’s a steep hike to the top of Mount Tomaree, in Tomaree National Park, but well worth the effort for the views of Port Stephens alone.

Tomaree Head Summit Walk is only one kilometre (0.62 miles) each way, but it is a challenging trail so allow up to two hours return. You will find the trailhead at Zenith Beach carpark.

Don’t forget to take a camera and binoculars – the summit is an ideal spot to watch migrating humpback whales between May and October.