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Published October 11th 2020
Nelson Bay is a picturesque seaside town, located on the water at Port Stephens - just one hour north of Newcastle. It has a wide range of summer activities for families to enjoy, most of which revolve around the sparkling blue waters within Port Stephens bay. In the centre of town is the d'Albora Marinas with dolphin watching cruises, jet ski hire, a scenic ferry ride, boat hire, kayak hire and a wide range of water activities. On the land, there are toboggan rides, quad bike tours, camel rides, stingray encounters, koala talks and more. There are so many things to do in summer, many visitors don't know where to go first!
Have you been to Nelson Bay during the school holidays? What activities did you enjoy the most? If you would like to share your top picks, please leave a comment at the top of this article and it will be shown at the bottom of the article, for others to read. These ones below, are my daughter's favourite summer school holiday activities that she loves to do each year. What are your summer faves?
See the animals and have a splash at Oakvale Wildlife Park
Oakvale Wildlife Park is located at Salt Ash, 25 minutes from Nelson Bay. It is an ideal venue for smaller children to feed the farmyard animals and during the summer months, they also open their new and modern Splash Park. After walking around the small wildlife park, go back out to the car and get the towels so they can enjoy an afternoon jumping through the sprinklers and sitting under the huge water bucket, which fills and pours every few minutes. My daughter asks to visit this little zoo every summer! See here for details. For a full article on Oakvale Wildlife Park, see here.
SPLASH Waterpark Nelson Bay is an inflatable obstacle course which is set up at Little Nelson Bay every summer school holidays. Book a session with your kids and enjoy some quality time with them out on the water. We love this activity each summer and we all sleep well that night - it's great exercise! See here for details.
Get active at SPLASH Waterpark Nelson Bay! Image: SPLASH Waterpark Facebook
Going to the Beach is the most popular activity that the whole family can enjoy together, every school holidays. There are many beautiful, calm bays within Port Stephens to visit, such as Little Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay and Little Beach, where you can take your inflatable swan and spend your day relaxing in the calm, aquamarine blue water. If your kids prefer to ride the waves on their boogie boards, however, then check out One Mile Beach, Fingal Bay Beach and Birubi Beach, which all have flags and safe areas to swim. Port Stephens has the best of both worlds - calm bays and beaches with waves, depending on your mood!
Take the boogie boards to One Mile Beach
Stockton Sand Dunes are located at Birubi Beach, 15 minutes from Nelson Bay. They have a wide range of activities that you can do on over the dunes such as ride a camel, take a 4WD tour or slide down the 30-metre sand hills! It is a fun place to spend the summer, however, it can get very busy during the school holidays and due to the reflection off the sand, it can also get very hot. To beat the heat, our family visit the dunes just after sunrise and my daughter runs down the sand hills, before we go for a walk along the beach and a paddle in the water. We finish off the morning with a bacon and egg roll from the Kiosk, before getting back into the air-conditioned car!
These are my daughter's favourite summer school holiday activities - but we would also love to hear about your experiences. If you have any more suggestions to add to this article, please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your picks. Ensure you bring your sun cream, sun hat and sense of fun when you visit Nelson Bay, and you are guaranteed a summer to remember!
Get up early and take an early morning walk over the sand dunes!