Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published April 16th 2014
Beach and waterfront holiday
About two and a half hours from Sydney, the city of Port Stephens is a natural jewel on the north east coast of New South Wales. Surrounded by and overlooking the Tasman sea, Port Stephens is a fantastic holiday destination for friends, family or couples to enjoy the seaside town and all it's activities particularly beaches and water sports.
At Nelson's Bay, the more adventurous of us has the option of choosing from an array of water related activities including sailing (a yacht), hiring out a boat, jet skiing single or tandem, fishing, snorkelling amongst the dolphins, jet boat, kicking out in the sea and a lot more. There's something to suit everyone.
For families or couples, dolphin and or whale watching is a must see. Dolphin watching cruises take you out at any time of the year whereas whale watching usually only happens between July and September. Dolphin watching cruises for an hour and a half costs about $26 per head; whale watching cruises are usually longer and take you further out to sea into deeper waters.
You won't be disappointed; the dolphin watching cruises almost always guarantee that you will see dolphins - playful, fun loving; they enjoy riding the waves and diving in and out of the water to show off to the tourists.
The crew on board will point out and announce the various landmarks and schools of dolphins swimming around so you won't miss them. At the main jetty area where you will find many boats docked, there is an information centre where you can find out all you need to know about where to go, stay, eat etc.
There are also restaurants, cafés including subway, ice cream parlour and a place where you can get high tea for just $18 per head for a group of four or more.
Parking along the entire street parallel to the water is paid parking for four hours at about $1.30 per hour however if you drive to the side streets behind the main tourist area ie. the residential area you can find free parking which is especially useful if you're planning to do some activities and need parking for a few hours.
An easy driving distance away is Salamander Bay, another beautiful beach with boutique stores and shopping. Of the twenty six beaches that make up Port Stephens, the ones on the Nelson's Bay side such as Soldiers Point, Jimmys Beach Reserve, are protected from the waves and so are more suited to families and fishing, whereas the beaches on the other side such as one mile beach, also an easy driving distance, are suited to surfing and beach sport. You can also catch a ferry for $4 per head to the Tea Gardens, also overlooking the water, have a coffee and return by ferry.
Overall, a great road trip for a day or a beachside holiday for the family.