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Dolphin Watching in Port Stephens with Tamboi Queen Cruises

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by Ivana Katz (subscribe)
Ivana is passionate about travel, writing, photography and website design. She enjoys helping people start a new business and turn their hobby into a profitable venture. Visit Ivana at www.web4business.com.au
Published May 6th 2013
Out of my way, I'm coming to see dolphins
Imagine, you have just boarded Tamboi Queen's MV Spirit catamaran and are enjoying a quiet cruise on the serene waters of Port Stephens, when suddenly, a crazy woman starts running up and down screaming 'OMG OMG OMG DOLPHINS!'

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
OMG OMG OMG Dolphins!


I apologise to fellow cruisers, but when it comes to dolphins, I can't help myself. I have swum with dolphins, I have been kissed by them, patted them and still I can't get enough. I will take every opportunity to see them and be close to them.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Watch out, crazy woman (on the left) coming to snap pics of dolphins.


Whilst holidaying in Nelson Bay recently, I was excited to get on Tamboi Queen's 2 hour Dolphin Watch Cruise. And what an experience that was.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
MV Spirit ready to depart


Shortly after we departed, the captain of the boat received a tip from a crew member on one of their other ships giving him the exact location of a pod of dolphins. So we headed straight over. And sure enough, a number of dolphins swam playfully near us. I was beside myself, snapping lots of pictures and shooting videos.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Everyone excitedly snapping pictures of nearby dolphins


As we glided over the water, one of the dolphins swam directly under us. What a beautiful sight!

The captain lowered the boom net, allowing those brave enough to get in the water. I was tempted, but seeing the dolphins from top of the boat was my main priority.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Boom net comes down


We followed the dolphins for about 30 minutes and then slowly headed over to Shoal Bay, enjoying the stunning view before us.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Shoal Bay beach


When we arrived at our destination the captain opened up a slide, located at the back of the boat, so those adventurous souls could pack more fun in.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Steep slide at the back of the boat


dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Head first, feet first or back to front


The crew on the cruise was exceptional friendly, helpful and very funny. The captain even allowed a few of us to steer for a while on our way back to the port. If he hadn't been paying attention, I would have headed back out to find more dolphins.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Very friendly staff




dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Captain, take us to more dolphins.


Coffee, tea and biscuits were available free of charge for all on board and a bar with drinks and snacks was also open.

Overall a fantastic day for everyone on board. Not only did we get to see the dolphins up close, but the children enjoyed the slide and boom net. And the rest of us got to have a lot of laughs with the staff and see beautiful scenery on a gorgeous sunny day.

Tamboi Queen cruises offer a number of fun experiences.

1.5 hour Dolphin Watching Cruise with boom net rides aboard MV Surprise and MV Tamboi Queen
Cost: Adults $23, Children: $10

2 hour Dolphin Watch Cruise with boom net, water slide and spa aboard MV Spirit and MV Spirit of Port Stephens
Cost: Adults $26, Children $13.50

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Amazing dolphins


3 hour Whale Watching with bonus Dolphin Watch and Outer Islands CruiseCost: Adults $60, Children $25

Dunes to Dolphins Mega Combo - Dolphin Watch cruise and a sand boarding adventure on Stockton Sand dunes
Cost: Adults $39, Children $27

Whale Watch Combo 3 hour whale watch cruise and a sand boarding adventure on Stockton Sand dunes
Cost: Adults $68, Children $38

Broughton Island All Day Cruise explore the island, go snorkelling or join a tour
Cost: Adults: $85, Children $45

Student, Concession and Family pricing is also available on all cruises. Please check the Tamboi Queen Cruises website for more information.

Tamboi Queen offer a Dolphin Watch guarantee dolphins are viewed on 99% of cruises, however, if no dolphins are sighted a free cruise voucher will be issued.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
View of the marina




dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Snack bar


dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Inside the catamaran


Paid parking is available near the marina or you can park at one of the side streets.

The water of Port Stephens are very calm and the vessel stable, so you don't need to worry about sea sickness, unless you are particularly susceptible, in which case you may want to speak to a pharmacist before you head on your cruise.

When packing for a day out on the water, don't forget to bring sunscreen, your swimsuit, a towel and something warm in case it gets windy or the weather turns. And most importantly, don't forget the camera and binoculars.

If you are visiting Port Stephens One Mile Beach Holiday Park is ideal family accommodation as it offers beachside apartments, villas, cabins and caravan park sites as well as a swimming pool, kids club, recreational room, volleyball and tennis courts, BBQ facilities and putt putt course.

dolphin watching cruise, dolphins, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Excellent day for everyone on board
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Why? Fun cruise with dolphins nearby
When: All year round
Where: Dock D d'Albora Marina, Nelson Bay
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