If you are looking for an awesome weekend away from Sydney, I highly recommend heading 3.5 hours north to Port Stephens. You will need to have (or hire) a car in order to fully appreciate all there is to do in this paradise part of New South Wales.
We stayed for two nights in Port Stephens, but you could easily do everything with just one night, we just wanted a bit more time and also to enjoy two sunsets! Book your accommodation via my Booking.com link and enjoy a $40 refund off your next stay! (anyone can use the link, you don’t need a new account and the currency will be converted)!
Top things to do in Port Stephens
1) Check out the Stockton Sand Dunes
Stretching over 32km the Stockton Sand Dunes are an unmissable site in Port Stephens, and for me one of the coolest spots in New South Wales!
The easiest place to access the dunes (and the beach that runs alongside it) is from Anna Bay, this is also where you can catch the camel rides.
Anna Bay is also where you leave to go sandboarding in the Stockton Sand Dunes, a great activity if you’re a bit adventurous and at only 25$ you won’t break the bank.
TOP TIP – If you are into photography head to Anna Bay half an hour before sunset to capture the camels walking along the beach (awesome shadows!)
We also accessed the dunes from a walkway in the middle of the dunes, there was no one around and all you could see was rolling sand hills for miles and miles! See maps below for the entrance to the walkway, you can’t park directly near this so you will need to find a safe place to stop.
Here we discovered dead trees popping up in the dunes, which reminded me of the Namibia desert!
2) Climb Tomalee Mountain
For beautiful views over Port Stephens make sure you do the 15-20 minute hike (one way) up Tomalee Mountain. It’s quite steep/lots of steps so I would try to do this in the morning or late afternoon.
3) Chill on the beach at Shoal Bay
Shoal Bay has a number of beautiful beaches and is the perfect place to base yourself during your trip to Port Stephens.
TOP TIP – Make sure you check out Zenith beach and the number of smaller hidden beaches just south of there.
4) Spot dolphins and whales
No matter how many times I see dolphins or whales in the wild it never gets old!
You can see dolphins year round at Port Stephens and catch the whales during their annual migration, in June and July and from September to November.
Book a boat tour to have a better chance of seeing these beautiful mammals of the ocean.
5) Discover Fingal spit
Head over to Fingal Bay as the tide is going out to watch the appearance of Fingal Spit which joins the mainland to Shark Island for a few hours every day. If you plan on walking across it please leave yourself plenty of time to cross back before high tide!
TOP TIP – Plan your trip by looking at what time the tide goes out.
I hope you have an amazing weekend get away in Port Stephens! This could also be a great stop on your road trip if you’re driving from Sydney to Brisbane (or vice versa).
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