Port Stephens is an area surrounding the Port Stephens Bay, just north of Newcastle in New South Wales.
The council area of Port Stephens stretches from Seaham, west of the Pacific Highway to Fingal Bay at the tip of the Tomaree Peninsula and has about 65,000 inhabitants. Major centres are Raymond Terrace (with the Town Hall) and * Nelson Bay - a town popular for holiday makers.
The urban area at the eastern end of the Tomaree Peninsula comprises suburbs like Fingal Bay, Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay, Salamander Bay (with a fair sized shopping mall) Soldiers Point, Corlette, Anna Bay, Boat Harbour, One Mile Beach and Bobs Farm.
The area is very popular for its breathtaking coastal scenery, protected waters at the bay, good fishing, and the opportunity to watch whales during the migration season (May - November) and the resident dolphins.
View from the popular look out point on Gan Gan Hill.
The most convenient means of transport in and around the area is by car.
There is a regular bus service from and to Newcastle.
One of the suburbs of Port Stephens is Williamtown, an RAAF base, which also has a civil airport "Newcastle Airport" with frequent links to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other regional airports in Australia.
- Stockton Sand Dunes. Miles of sand which is easy to explore on foot but watch out for 4x4s racing around some areas. This is where Mad Max and parts of that ubiquitous Aussie anthem 'Down Under' were filmed. edit
- One Mile Beach. Named after the town One Mile rather than the other way around, is a stunning place to visit whether you surf or not. Atmospheric views down the peninsular and dramatic swells abound here. There's a car park just off the beach and a small store that sells refreshments. edit
- Tomaree. The south head of the Port Stephens bay offers a steep bushwalk on a paved track and metalic steps that lead to the top of Tomaree Hill. The top of the hill has breathtaking views of the Bay and nearby ocean islands. Another walk leads to the sites of WW2 artillery guns that were never fired at an enemy. edit
Whale watching cruises leave from Nelson Bay and are well worth it in the seasons that humpbacks pass by (May to November). You may also see dolphins and penguins. There is a variety of vessels and price ranges to choose from at the marina.
- Moonshadow Cruises, Shop 3, 35 Stockon Street, Nelson Bay, ☎ (0)2 4984 9388, . Specialises in dolphin and whale watching. The whale watching cruise runs at 10:00 and 13:30 for 2.5 hours. And if you don't get to see whales, they offer a second whale-watching trip for free within the following 6 months. $60. edit
- Imagine Cruises, Nelson Bay, ☎ (0)2 4984 9000, . The whale watching cruise operates at 10:30 and 14:00 and lasts for 3 to 3.5 hours. If no whales are sighted they offer a second free trip. $60. edit
There is a colony of resident dolphins that can be seen from the beaches or from the popular cruises that leave from Nelson Bay.
Nelson Bay has some of the best shore dives in NSW and attracts scuba divers keen to photograph the varied macro sea life at the sites of Fly Point and Halifax. The following dive shops offer gear rental, tank refill, and diving courses.
- Feet First Dive, 17/34 Stockon St, Nelson Bay (Near the parking at the town centre), ☎ 02 4984 2092, . edit
- Pro Dive, (At the Marina), ☎ 02 4981 4331. edit
- Sienna's Pizzeria Bar and Restaurant, 1 Trafalgar Street, Nelson Bay, ☎ 02 4984 4900. Excellent Italian food. The site is licensed and BYO with $5 corkage. $30. edit
- Red Neds, Stockton Street, Nelson Bay (Look for the statue of Ned Kelly). A popular place for its gourmet pies. edit
- Melaleuca Backpackers, 2 Koala Place, One Mile Beach (Formerly 33 Eucalyptus Drive), ☎ Ph/Fax: (61) 2 4981 9422, . Quirky backpackers hostel with lots of character and lovely owners. Dorms $28-35. edit
- Botaba Bed and Breakfast (B&B Accommodation in Port Stephens Boat Harbour), 32 Andrew Close, Boat Harbour NSW 2316, ☎ (02) 4981 9018, . Botaba Bed and Breakfast is surrounded by native bushland. 'Adults Only' with 2 rooms, each with private ensuite facilities and direct access to the garden. Fluffy bathrobes and natural body products are provided . Cooked breakfast each morning. (-32.7852360758,152.1109271049) edit
- Samurai Beach Bungalows - Port Stephens YHA, Cnr Frost Rd and Robert Connell Close Anna Bay NSW 2316, ☎ (61) 2 4982 1921, . checkin: 1pm; checkout: 10am. A beautiful little hostel with a pool, bikes, unique bush kitchen and wifi available. Has the feeling of being in asia with lovely statues scattered around the garden. They have a few different room styles from dorm rooms to privates with both shared or private bathroom. Located about 5km out from Nelson bay in a peaceful garden setting. $30 to $170. edit
- Bayviews B&BPort Stephens, 85 Cromarty Bay Road Soldiers Point, ☎ 0249 847676. checkin: from 2 pm; checkout: by 10 am. December '02 purpose-built B&B opposite Cromarty Bay treelined beachfront reserve at Soldiers Point. Consistently ranked in the regions "Top 10" offering accommodation for up to 4 guests with the same great tariff as when they opened... $90.00. edit
- Oaks Pacific Blue Resort, 265 Sandy Point Road, Salamander Bay, ☎ +61 7 3246 1735, . checkin: 14:00 hrs; checkout: 10:00 hrs. These self contained apartments located in Salamander Bay provide affordable accommodation for the holiday makers. Facilities include Day spa, gymnasium, heated spas, Japanese steam room, heated lap pool and tennis courts. edit