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20 Bays & Beaches to Visit Around Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

Home > New South Wales > Beaches | Escape the City | Family | Long Weekend | School Holiday Activities | Lists
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun! Find me on instagram: @australianrecipesbythebay
Published November 17th 2020
Tick them off, one by one
The Nelson Bay area is a popular tourist destination in the Port Stephens region, 2.5 hours north of Sydney. It is popular for its clear blue water, bright white sand, scenic cafes and chilled-out, holiday atmosphere. There is something about the region which makes you slow down and enjoy the simple things in life, such as fish and chips on the sand, cricket on the beach and BBQs by the water. It is the place to make family holiday memories.

As well as all the fun things to do, there are also numerous swimming bays and surf beaches to discover all around the coastline. The more popular ones to visit include Shoal Bay, Little Beach, One Mile Beach and Birubi Beach, however, there are also many more to discover in between. This list below shows you where to find them - but please be aware that many of them are unpatrolled with no lifeguards, so swimming is at your own risk. So pack up the car, slap on the sun cream and hit the beach this weekend!

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The locations of all 20 Bays & Beaches! Image: Original image from Google maps

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Sand for miles at Birubi Beach, Anna Bay


1/ Birubi Beach is one of the most popular surf beaches in the Port Stephens region, as it also has the Stockton Sand Dunes right behind it to explore! Go on a camel ride, slide down the sand hills, enjoy a 4WD tour or simply go for a swim between the flags. Have breakfast at Crest cafe, or grab a burger from The Kiosk for lunch. If you have a 4WD, you can also get a permit and drive along the beach. See here for a full article.

2/ Fishermans Bay is a small cove amongst the rock platforms, which is suitable for families to have a splash and play. This beach is not patrolled. See here for a full article.

3/ Kingsley Beach
is a quiet, unpatrolled surf beach which is located in the suburb of Boat Harbour. It is accessible from a bush track through the Tomaree National Park, located on Kingsley Drive. Take your surfboard!

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The quiet Kingsley Beach, accessible by a short bush track

4/ Boat Harbour is a quiet cove in the headlands which is popular with families and locals. There is a boat ramp at one end of the beach, as well as a playground and BBQ facilities. The southern end of the bay has a walk to a whale-watching headland. This beach is also unpatrolled with no lifesavers or flags. See here for a full article.

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A local favourite - Boat Harbour

5/ One Mile Beach is a long and scenic surf beach which has flags during the summer months. This beach is popular with guests from Ingenia Holidays One Mile Beach and locals in the area. Our family particularly like this beach at low tide, as it is safe and has small waves. See here for a full article.

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Family fun at One Mile Beach

6/ Samarui Beach is a remote surf beach that is located at the end of One Mile Beach, accessible by a sandy 4WD track. It is popular for fishing and camping and it is the only nudist beach in the region!

7/ Fingal Bay is a long and popular surf beach, which has flags in the summer months and a large life surfing club. Nearby there is also a cafe, restaurant, playground, whale watching platform and a dog park. The beach is wheel-chair accessible with a long mat that rolls down to the water. It is a popular beach with guests from the nearby Fingal Bay Holiday Park. See here for a full article.

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Wheel-chair accessible at Fingal Bay Beach

8/ Box Beach is a remote, unpatrolled surf beach which is popular with the locals for fishing, surfing and boogie boarding. See here for a full article.

9/ Wreck Beach is another remote unpatrolled surf beach - so remote, that you can only access it from a bush track from the nearby suburb of Shoal Bay. See here for a full article.

10/ Zenith Beach is an unpatrolled surf beach that is located underneath the towering Tomaree Head - which is one of the entrances to Port Stephens. This scenic beach is a marine Sanctuary Zone, so there is no fishing or collecting from the beach. See here for a full article.

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Zenith Beach and Tomaree Head


11/ Shoal Bay would have to be the most photographed and scenic bays in the region - with bright white sand and crystal-clear, blue water, it is the epitome of paradise. Whilst there, enjoy a cocktail from Shoal Bay Country Club, walk up to the top of Tomaree Head or grab some fish and chips from Aussie Bob's! See here for a full article.

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Simply paradise at Shoal Bay!

12/ Little Beach may be little, but it is big on popularity! This quiet little bay is located near the Halifax Tourist Park, making it an ideal family destination. Whilst there, take a walk up the headland to have some scones at Inner Light Tea Rooms, have lunch overlooking the water at Little Beach Boathouse and walk up the road to Wests Nelson Bay club for dinner. Just around the corner, towards Little Nelson Bay, is Fly Point snorkelling and scuba diving area. See here for a full article.

13/ Little Nelson Bay is a scenic, sandy bay located right near town, with palm trees and bright blue water. This popular bay is jam-packed in the summer school holidays - get there early to grab a spot and set up your umbrella! See here for a full article.

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The clear waters of Little Nelson Bay

14/ Nelson Bay itself has a small swimming bay along the foreshore near the marina. It is a popular bay for families as it also has a BBQ area and playground nearby.

15/ Dutchmans Beach is a quiet bay which is located around the headland from Nelson Bay. It has a playground and BBQ areas, as well as plenty of shady trees to relax under. See here for a full article.

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Relax on the white sand at Dutchmans Beach

16/ Bagnalls Beach is a dog-walking bay, where the pooches race each other along the sand and look for swans out in the water. See here for a full article.

17/ Corlette Beach is a small swimming bay that is accessible from Conroy Park or The Anchorage 5 star resort. See here for a full article.

18/ Roy Wood Reserve is a grassy BBQ area in Corlette which has a family-friendly swimming bay, metres from the grass. If you are going there for a swim, it is ideal to swim at high tide when the water is deeper. See here for a full article.

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A local favourite - Roy Wood Reserve swimming bay

19/ Wanda Beach is located off George Reserve at Salamander Bay, on the way to Soldiers Point. This long bay is a beautiful swimming spot, particularly in front of the reserve where there is a sand bank to walk out on. The reserve itself has a BBQ area and a small playground. See here for a full article.

20/ Sunset Beach is a quiet bay located at the far end of Soldiers Point, a short walk from Thou Walla Sunset Retreat. This bay is best to visit at high tide when there is enough water to swim in. As the name suggests, is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset as it faces west over the waters of Port Stephens. See here for details.

Which one(s) will you tick off this list, this weekend?

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Last but not least - Sunset Beach

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Why? Experience the beauty of the region!
When: All year around
Where: Around the Nelson Bay region
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I didnt realise there were so many in the collection along this coastline. All are beautiful
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|6722) 938 days ago
Congrats on the Gold, Sue, you have relocated to a stunning area!
by Elaine (score: 3|9406) 938 days ago
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