Hotels in Port Stephens, Australia
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Port Stephens is an Outdoor Enthusiast’s Dream Come True
It’s time to pack up the car and drive a few hours north of Sydney to Port Stephens, a nature lover’s paradise and home to more beaches than you’ll know what to do with. With so much natural beauty, Port Stephens is a strong contender for a top ten must-visit destination in Australia. If you do go, you’ll be rewarded with sand dunes, national parks, mountains and rain forest, prime dolphin sightings and a bay that’s twice the size of Sydney Harbour. So, book your hotel now and get ready for the holiday of a lifetime!
Get Back to Nature
Spending time in Port Stephens means spending time with wildlife - lots and lots of wildlife. Say “g’day” to one of the 140 bottlenose dolphins that call the area home, and see why Port Stephens is the dolphin watching capital of Australia. Nelson Bay is one of the best places for a sighting, and you can either opt to take a tour, or pull out your binoculars and try to spot some for yourself. From May to October, there’s a chance to see both humpback whales and dolphins in the same waters, and for a different vantage point, consider heading to Tomaree National Park for a bird’s eye view. While you’re there, spend some time in the over 2300 hectares of stunning mixed landscape, and end your adventure with a dip in the ocean at one of the glorious beaches along the 20km of coastline.
For more creatures of the sea, there’s nothing like getting up close and personal with the locals– the local grey nurse sharks, that is. The best place to do so is on Broughton Island, a 50-minute boat ride from Nelson Bay. Grey nurse sharks are known to be docile, but if you’d rather stick to something a bit cuddlier, it doesn’t get any better than a koala bear in its natural habitat. Koalas can be seen all over the region, but the most sightings of these eucalyptus leaf munching cuties are at Soldiers Point and the Tilligerry Habitat State Reserve. And it might just be cute overload if you make it out to Dutchman’s Bay to see a colony of fairy penguins. They are the smallest species of penguin, and you’ll soon be wishing that one will follow you back to your hotel.
Out and About
Port Stephens has no less than 26 sandy beaches, but if you can tear yourself away from the sun and surf, there are a few excursions that will be worth it. The Stockton Bight Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands provides a nice contrast to the idyllic pace of beach life, and you might even find that your thirst for adventure is quenched here. From sandboarding to a four-wheel drive romp through dunes up to 30 metres, a trip to this spectacular spot will snap you out of your beach bum stupor in no time. Another day trip worth writing home about is a stop at Myall Lakes National Park. Time here will be time well spent with over a dozen postcard-worthy picnic spots and campgrounds, along with unique accommodation that will put regular hotels to shame. Satisfy your inner lighthouse keeper with a stay at the circa 1875 Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse Cottages for jaw-dropping views and history to spare. You’ll wake to magnificent Seal Rocks, a great place for exploration off the beaten track. The Myall River is also close by, giving anglers a shot at catching the big one, and paddlers the chance to see interesting flora and fauna from inside a kayak.
There’s Always Something Going On
If you time your visit carefully, your trip to Port Stephens can coincide with one of the many festivals happening throughout the year. Perhaps the largest and most attended is the Nelson Bay Foreshore Festival held every February. Live music is the main attraction, but there is something for everyone with a variety of entertainment, as well as markets selling food and homemade goods. Other options for a good time include the Blue Water Country Music Festival held over five days in June at several toe-tapping venues around Port Stephens, and the Clans of the Coast Celtic Festival, which is a September highlight for many. And since Port Stephens has some of the freshest seafood around, what better way to celebrate the bounty of the sea than tucking into a delectable plate of prawns? The Myall Prawn Festival is a must-do in March for seafood lovers, but don’t worry, you also have a chance to slurp your way to seafood heaven at the Karuah Oyster Festival in April, and at the Love Seafood Festival in February, and don’t forget the Tastes of the Bay Food & Wine Festival held every November. But no matter when you visit, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time in Port Stephens.
Price rangefrom €35to €304
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