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Where are the Best Beaches to Walk Along Near Nelson Bay, Port Stephens?

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by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun!
Published January 1st 2019
When my family and I first moved to the Nelson Bay region, we were thrilled to learn that we had a choice of 26 bays and beaches to explore around the whole Port Stephens region. 26! We asked a friend of ours, and a local of twenty years, which beaches he liked the best - particularly for walking along for exercise and to admire the scenery. He listed these beaches below and after many months of walking along the region's beaches, we have to agree!

Are you a local to the Nelson Bay region? Or come here on holidays? Where do you think are the best beaches to walk along? These ones are a good place to start, as they are guaranteed to give you a good walk, as well as some seriously impressive views...

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View of the white sands and long beach of Shoal Bay, from the Tomaree Head Summit Walk


Shoal Bay is a 2.5 kilometre long curved bay, just a 5 minute drive from Nelson Bay. It has fine, white sand, clear blue water and views that make you feel like you're in The Whitsundays - not 2.5 hours from Sydney. If you would like to continue from your Shoal Bay beach walk up to look at the view in the photo above, then make your way to the eastern end of the beach and start walking the Tomaree Head Summit Walk. Take your swimming costume - you will want a swim at the end! See here for a Google map.

Fingal Bay has a scenic, 1.75 kilometre walk up the length of the beach and then when you get to the end, you will discover The Fingal Spit. The spit is a "bridge" of sand that extends out to Shark Island, with the ocean on both sides. When it is approaching high tide, the two sides of the ocean meet together over the spit and the island is completely cut off. Be careful if you walk along the spit close to high tide, as people have lost their lives there. Despite the danger and signage, Fingal Bay is particularly scenic, especially if you walk around the corner to continue your walk along the next beach. See here for a Google map.

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Early morning walk along Fingal Beach, with Shark Island in the distance


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Read the warning signs and don't cross the spit before high tide


Bagnalls Beach is a different kind of beach walk to the ones above, however it has its own beauty and natural attractions. The best time to walk along Bagnalls Beach is at low tide, as there is more sand to walk on at the back of the beach. If you love dogs, you will enjoy the passing parade of pooches that come up and say hello - all happy with their outing for the day on the region's most popular dog beach. Another highlight for many people, is the view of over 50 swans that bob out on the water and feed off the underwater meadow of seagrass. If you would like to extend your walk, continue up to the coastal path and walk all the way to Nelson Bay! See here for a Google map.

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Take a stroll along Bagnalls Beach, at low tide


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Swans feeding on the seagrass, in the early morning light


Birubi Beach is a fascinating beach just a short drive from Nelson Bay, with indigenous history in the 32 kilometres of sand dunes at the back of the beach. The sand dunes are part of the Stockton Sand Dunes and Wollemi Conservation Lands, which are the largest moving sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. Birubi Beach stretches as far as the eye can see, all the way to Stockton Beach in Newcastle, so you can walk for as long or as little as you like. Look out for people riding camels, horses and sand bikes along the hard sand. See here for a Google map.

Where is your favourite beach to walk along, around Nelson Bay? There are sure to be a wide array of answers to that question, as everyone will have their favourite. Please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your top local tips - or any that you have discovered whilst on holidays in this scenic region.

With so many to choose from, where will you be digging your toes into the sand this weekend?

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Take a walk along Birubi Beach, which stretches for 32 kilometres to Newcastle

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