Leaving the car park, we head up a fairly steep mountain, the path takes you across steel bridges, rock steps, logs steps, twists back around to the Shoal Bay area, drops, rises and then we twine our way to the top of a rock ledge, witnessing the tremendous views that Port Stephens has to offer.
Zenith, Box, Wreck Beach,Box Beach, Fingal Bay Sandspit and Point Stephens Lighthouse
To the south of the summit we see Zenith, Wreck and Box Beach. Surfers come far and wide to catch a wave at Zenith Wreck and Box Beaches and the extremely tidal Fingal Bay Sandspit, referred to as Tombolo. I must be a chicken - the water was so rough I wouldn't even attempt it, kudos to all surfers who surf these beaches - I believe they are competition surfing areas.
From Fingal Bay Sandspit is Fly Roads and there is a walk that leads to the Point Stephens lighthouse, and Shark Island on the point. Please note, the sandspit is tidal and disappears very quickly - trust me, you don't want to get caught - check tide information!
Point Stephens lighthouse was in operation from 1862. The lighthouse was built from Sydney sandstone and stands 22 metres high. Fingal Bay was known as False Bay as many a sailor mistook it for Port Stephens Harbour. The last keeper was in 1973. Shark Island is a popular fishing spot for game fishing.
To the north we are surrounded by small islands.
Yacaaba Head, Cabbage Tree Island and Broughton Island,
Yacaaba headland is accessible via Bennetts Beach at Hawkes Nest. A path winding through forest taking you to the northern side of Yacaaba Head and opens up to more spectacular ocean views. The track seems to disappear from here. Teadland is very steep, so experienced walkers only from this point to the old trig station on the summit. Three hours is recommended. This is for my next trip, I ran out of time, but my friends say it's well worth the journey.
Cabbage Tree Island, also refereed to as John Gould Nature Reserve, protects the Gould's Petrel, Australia's rarest long distance travelling sea bird. Each September they arrive here to nest, the world's only known breeding site for the Gould's Petrel. They lay their egg in a rocky crevice and it is totally protected from feral animals. Broughton Island is managed by Myall Lakes National Park. Little Poverty Beach allocates 5 camping spots only.
Broughton Island is a breeding site for the wedge tailed shearwaters, petrels and penguins. It is a fishing, boating, scuba dive, free divers paradise. Enjoy a relaxing swim at one of the sandy beaches along Esmeralda Cove. The sheer thought of almost having an island to yourself, have people flocking to visit Broughton Island. You may camp here but only 5 spots are allocated at a time.
Boondelbah Island and Little Island are under the John Gould Nature Reserve and are considered a second colony for the Gould's Petrels. Boondelbah is uninhabitable and has a lack of dense vegetation unlike Cabbage Tree Island.
Such diverse terrain, beaches with steep sandbanks, thunderous waves crashing the shoreline, grass covered sand hills and treacherous sandspits, Mt Tomaree to the south is engulfed by a tall forest, including a colony of koalas living in the undulating hills of forest vegetation. I still haven't seen one, mind you. My eyeballs were going in every direction - such an enticing summit lookout with information stations I planned my entire trip in Port Stephens at this Summit.
Have a snack at the summit, take loads of photos, bring the binoculars the views are uninterrupted glory of Australia's island and beaches. May get windy so a spray jacket is always advisable.
There is a Gun Emplacement - walk along the shoreline of the peninsula - it is very worth your while, as the two marry up with views and perspective of Port Stephen's history and majestic beaches.
Both walks are suitable for children