Nelson Bay is the tourist hub of the Port Stephens region, with a wide range of activities to enjoy on and off, the water. Do you feel the need the speed? They why not burn up the water on a jet ski or go parasailing up in the skies. Do you love to exercise outdoors? Then hire a kayak and paddle the waterways, looking for turtles and dolphins. There is something for every interest and budget, all lined up for you to do this weekend.
Although all of these options sound perfect, one of the most popular ways to get out on the clear waters of Port Stephens is to hop on a cruise boat and go searching for some of the local residents. They are always happy and ready to greet you...
Meet the friendly Port Stephens locals. Image: Imagine Cruise Facebook
1/ Dolphin Watching Cruises can be booked all year around, to spot the 100 Bottlenose dolphins which live in the bay. Cruise boats also offer Whale Watching Cruises between May to November each year, to watch some of the 22,000 whales which travel past Port Stephens on their annual migration. For more details, see the websites for Moonshadow TQC and Imagine Cruises. Don't forget your camera!
2/ Parasailing is a popular activity at tourist hubs all around the world and Nelson Bay is no different. If you love to get up high and experience the thrill of flying through the air, then book a flight over Port Stephens - you won't find a better view than a birds-eye view! See the website for WTF (Want To Fly) Parasailing for details.
4/ Hire a Jet Ski from the Bay Booking Office at d'Albora Marinas (above), or through Port Stephens Booking Office, located opposite the Information Centre nearby. Ride solo or double and reach speeds of up to 85 kilometres per hour! No license is required in the designated area on the water, which is bigger than 2.5 football fields.
5/ Book a Fishing Charter and come home with a haul of snapper, jew or king fish for dinner! Game fishing is also available between November and May, with Port Stephens internationally renowned as a marlin fishing hot spot. See the website for Pacific Blue Charters for details.
6/ Hire a SUP or Kayak and combine exercise and relaxation in one activity! Cruise the bright blue waters of Port Stephens and look for turtles, dolphins and schools of fish, as they dart through the shallows. See the websites for Port Stephens Paddleboats, Nude Kayaks and Shoal Bay SUP for details.
Hire a SUP or a kayak with the friendly staff at Port Stephens Paddleboats, Shoal Bay
7/ Take a Ride on the Tea Gardens Ferry - which is a one-hour ferry ride between Nelson Bay and Tea Gardens, with entertaining commentary along the way. Dolphins are sighted on 95% of cruises. See the Port Stephens Ferry Service website for details.
8/ SPLASH Waterpark is a "pop up" inflatable water park which opens each summer along the Nelson Bay Foreshore, at the end of the marina. It is open all school holidays and then each weekend until the end of the April school holidays. This summer activity isn't just for the young ones - it is also popular with adults too! See the SPLASH Waterpark website for details.
9/ Sailing is another way to enjoy the beauty of Port Stephens, with local company Blue Water Sailing offering luxury private cruises of the bay. Their yacht, aptly titled Champagne on Ice, is located at The Anchorage Marina at Corlette. Cruise the bay and enjoy sumptuous local seafood as you spot dolphins swimming off the bow. See their website for details.
10/ Port Stephens Surf School is a hugely popular business during the summer months - particularly in the school holidays! All ages can get involved, with group lessons and private lessons available. They run their surf lessons at One Mile Beach, Birubi Beach and Fingal Bay, and also offer SUP lessons and hire at Dutchmans Beach. See the Port Stephens Surf School website for all the details.
Have you found a water sport or activity that has you counting down the days until the weekend? The ones listed here all cost money, however you can easily go snorkelling at Fly Point, go boogie boarding at a local beach, go fishing off the coastline or simply walk along a scenic, sandy beach. Spend the weekend exploring the clear, blue water of Port Stephens.