Port Stephens Tourism

Mid North Coast NSW Australia

Port Stephens Beaches Tourism North Coast NSW AustraliaPort Stephens “Blue Water Paradise” and the “Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of Australia” is located 50km north of Newcastle on the NSW North Coast of Australia and is a leisurely 2 1/2 drive along the F3 Freeway from Sydney.

As a major NSW North Coast tourist destination Port Stephens has everything the holiday maker could want:

  • A resident population of bottlenose dolphins, migrating humpback whales in season and home of Australia’s rarest seabird, the Goulds Petrel
  • Pristine, unspoiled waterways, over 25 golden sandy beaches, eco-diverse Marine and National Parks and spectacular bushwalking
  • Accommodation ranging from budget backpacker hostels through boutique B&Bs to luxury hotel and self catering family holiday accommodation

See Dolphin & whale watching accommodation packages…

  • Eating establishments from fast-food and take-way to exclusive restaurants and romantic dining hideaways
  • Holiday activities & tourist attractions that run the gamut from lying on a sun-baked beach to high adventure in a helicopter or soft adventure on a quad-bike on the Stockton Bight

Apart from enjoying the beautiful waterways of Port Stephens with Imagine Cruises, here are some other unique tourism attractions in Port Stephens with operators who share our passion for the principles of ecotourism:

Bushwalking, Coastal & Heritage Walks in Port Stephens

Any time is an ideal time to soak up the scenery from some of Port Stephens more accessible bushwalking spots – information, directions and trail maps are available from the Visitor Information Centre in Nelson Bay. Phone 1 800 808 900.

  • Tomaree Headland – hike to the top of Tomaree headland guarding the entrance to Port Stephens. Round trip from 40 minutes to 2 hours with panoramic views to Seal Rocks in the north and Newcastle in the south. Access is via a well-defined walking track near the entrance to the Tomaree Holiday Lodge at Shoal Bay.
  • Corlette Headland – spectacular Port Stephens water views and delightful Australian flora featured. An easy walk from 25 minutes to an hour. Reached by driving down Corlette Point Road and parking just before the Anchorage Resort.
  • Native Flora Gardens – one of Nelson Bay’s most beautiful but overlooked attractions. Covers 8 hectares at Fly Point beginning off the car park on Dixon Drive and running through to Little Beach. Lots of little walking paths to explore.
  • Heritage Trail – the site of Nelson Bay’s first church and the 111-year-old postmasters cottage are among the historical points of interest. The heritage Trail walk stretches from Dutchies Beach along the waterfront past the Nelson Bay Marina, around Fly Point, past Little Beach and finishes up at the Inner Light residence on Nelson Head (another great spot to visit with views out through the Heads and over Shoal Bay).
  • Boat Harbour Headland – rock walk and bush walk to one of the best landmarks for whale spotting.

Port Stephens Koala Spotting – Tilligerry Habitat State Reserve

Do you want to see koalas in the wild? With local guides who have Advanced Ecotourism Certification? Visit Tilligerry Habitat State Reserve in Tanilba Bay, an innovative community project that offers daily guided koala spotting walks and informative commentary in Lemon Tree Passage on the Tilligerry Peninsula.

The Habitat covers 15 hectares on the shores of Port Stephens between Tanilba Bay and Mallabula on the Tilligerry Peninsula. Interpretive trail walks run for about 2 hours. Walkers can spot koalas, Australian native birdlife, learn to throw a Australian Aboriginal boomerang and identify bush tucker. Phone 02 4984 5677

There are many other spots around the Tomaree Peninsula where you are likely to see koalas. Keep your eyes open and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you come across a sick or injured koala (or any other native Australian animal), call the Native Animal Trust Fund (NATF) at 0500 502 294.

Bird Watching in Port Stephens North Coast NSW Australia

Phil Slack, Imagine’s resident birdwatcher and naturalist, has been a friend of Imagine Cruises for many years, assisting the tour crew with Australian wildlife identification.

During summer, thousands of muttonbirds, or shearwaters, breed on the islands off Port Stephens. A particular summer sight to watch out for are the Jaegers that migrate to the NSW coast of Australia from the Arctic. Phil recommends watching out for these Jaegers that can be seen in spectacular dogfights with the local Port Stephens Terns (gulls with black crests), trying to steal fish that they have caught.

Magnificent White-bellied Sea-Eagles can be seen year round, as can Little (or Fairy) Penguins that breed on nearby islands. On clear days, the barking of the Penguins can carry far across the Port Stephens’ water.

Phil’s favorite time of year for bird watching is winter during the whale-watching season. At this time of year, Albatross arrive from the sub-Antarctic. Unfortunately we are seeing them less and less, in particular the enormous Wandering Albatross, because they are killed by long-line fishermen who target species like tuna, sharks and swordfish. Long-liners cast bait-laden hooks into the water, which the albatrosses then dive for and are then inevitably hooked themselves and drown. If you would like to know more about this issue, visit www.birdsaustralia.com.au, and sign their petition.

In winter there are the spectacular Australasian Gannets that catch fish by plunging into the water from a great height at high speed. They are visitors from their summer breeding colonies in Bass Strait and New Zealand. There are other New Zealand migrants here too, such as large flocks of Fluttering Shearwaters. Predatory Great Skuas, large relatives of the Jaegers, also arrive from Antarctica.

During your Port Stephens holiday visit, Phil also recommends a visit to The Wetlands Centre and Kooragang Wetlands near Newcastle. Check out www.wetlands.org.au and www.hcmt.org.au/kooragang. Closer to Nelson Bay, Phil recommends a visit to the walking trails at the village of Taylor’s Beach. You could also try a cruise up the pristine Myall River with the Wallamba – Phone 02 4982 0099.

Wine Tasting & Tours in Port Stephens

The Hunter Valley isn’t the only place on the NSW North Coast of Australia you’ll find quality winemaking and tours. Port Stephens has three excellent wineries and all of them will welcome you to taste their products and tour their facilities:
Port Stephens Winery & Boutique Wine Centre & Murrays Brewery
Phone 02 4982 6411 or visit www.portstephenswinery.com
Wonganella Wines
Phone 02 4982 6121 or Email wonganellawines@telstra.com

Discover your National Parks

  • Tomaree National Park
  • Port Stephens Lighthouse (part of Tomaree NP)
  • Broughton Island (pert of Myall Lakes NP)
  • Glenrock State Conservation Area
  • Wallaroo Nature Reserve
  • Karuah Nature reserve
  • Kooragang Nature reserve

Phone – 02 4984 8200 or visit NPWS at 12B Teramby Road, Nelson Bay

Find whalewatching spots in the NSW National Parks…


  • For small native animals (eg. bird, lizard, possum, tortoise), throw a blanket or towel over it to immobilize it, then quickly scoop it up and put it in a ventilated box and cover it. Keep it warm, quiet and undisturbed to minimise shock. Take it to a vet or call the Native Animal Trust Fund.
  • Larger animals may be too dangerous to handle (eg. koala, kangaroo). Keep an eye on the animal, protect it from further harm and call the Native Animal Trust Fund for assistance.
  • Never attempt to give sick, injured or orphaned native animals food or water. This is dangerous for any animal in shock or under stress. Native animals need specialised food only.