Nelson Bay and Port Stephen are great destinations for a relaxed as well as adventurous holiday if you are travelling with kids. Port Stephens Australia has the longest sand dunes in Australia and 10-mile beach. With a unique landscape comprising water inlets and a long stretch of sand dunes, Port Stephens and Nelson Bay are great places to explore for a day trip or a weekend break.
Exploring Nelson Bay and Port Stephens, NSW
Port Stephens and Nelson Bay are located at a 2 hours driving distance from Sydney. The area is easily accessible from Pacific Highway. Follow the signs to Nelson Bay after passing the City of Newcastle exit on Pacific Coast Highway. The driving distance to Nelson Bay from Newcastle city is approximately 50 km.
The coastal landscapes and sand dunes are visible from Nobby's Beach Area in Newcastle. The driver, however, from Newcastle to Port Stephens takes around 45 minutes. The area between Newcastle and Nelson Bay is undergoing transformation and you will notice a number of private farmsteads and vineyards along the way.
The winding road to Nelson Bay takes you through Port Stephen, Port Anna, Salamander Bay and Soldiers Point. All these locations offer a wide range of accommodation ranging from backpackers hostels to serviced apartments. This area is popular with the weekend traveller, as most of the properties are holiday homes for families living in the Sydney area.
Some of the best holiday accommodation in Nelson Bay including holiday homes, serviced apartments and motels are located within walking distance from Nelson Bay Marina (d'Alboras Marinas). Most tour operators on a day tour stop near the Marina area. Most Dolphin and Whale watching tour operators start their tours from the docking area near the Marina. If you travel to the Nelson Bay area by bus, I suggest organizing accommodation along the Nelson Bay area.
as people who have booked Dolphin and Whale Watching tours catch their boats from the marina. The marina area is also popular for swimming and kayaking in the summers.
Travelling with family, I booked Mantra Aqua Apartments in Nelson Bay . Agoda offers great deals for advance bookings. A two bedrooms Apartment ranges from $180 with access to a hot water pool and spa. The property is ideally located at five minutes walk to the Nelson Bay waterfront. The main shopping area in the neighbourhood has plenty of cafes and restaurants. Woolworth is also located in the shopping mall which is quite convenient if you are planning to spend a couple of days in Nelson Bay.
For budget accommodation, check out cheapest hostel rates with Hostelsworld
Nelson Bay offers plenty of activities for families throughout the year. The Marina area has a number of chartered tour operators who conduct Whale Watching Tours, Fishing Tours, Lunch Cruises and Customized tours based on your group size and interest.
Nelson Bay Marina has the main notice board advertising a number of activities for the visitors. Private charters can be organized for large groups to enjoy customized tours of these interesting parts of NSW.
For less adventurous there is kayaking, paddle boats and water activities near the waterfront area adjacent to the Nelson Bay Marina.
Toboggan Hill Park is open for visitors and is offering plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for kids including Toboggan, Gyro Extreme, Mini Golf and indoor roller skating. The tickets cost around $108 for a family of 4, or you can buy individual rides costing around $5 each. Various passes are available depending on the group size and the number of activities you want to participate in. If you are planning a family holiday in Nelson Bay for the weekend, Toboggan Hill Park is a must-visit.
The Gan Gan Lookout
This lovely lookout is located in Lily roads on the highest point in the region and commands impressive views of Nelson Bay and Port Stephens. On a clear day, the lookout commands a great view of Hawkes Nest and Tomaree National Park. The walk is easily accessible from the parking lot.
The ferry service connects Nelson Bay with Port Stephens and Tea Gardens. The tickets can be booked online. The ferry ride is a great view to enjoy breathtaking views of the region. The ferry service departs Port Stephens at 330pm stopping for short while at the Tea Gardens. Tea Gardens is located on Myall River and is an interesting place to explore. The adult cruise tickets cost around $26 (for Sunset Cruise).
Port Stephens has the longest stretch of sand dunes in Australia, providing an amazing opportunity for sand dune safaris, camel rides, horse riding and quad bikes. Leave early as the crowds build up quickly around weekends and school holidays. These experiences can be easily booked online by following this link .
Sand Dune Safari at Port Stephens
A camel rides costs around $20, while a Sand Dune Safari costs around $20 and $15 for board rental to slide down the dunes. Make sure are dressed up casually, as climbing up and down the dunes can be hectic. The experience is absolutely enjoyable and is great fun with kids and family.
Whale watching charters at Nelson Bay
Another interesting experience is a shark ray and stingray encounter at Irukandji Reserve where sharks and stingrays are kept in massive reservoirs. The guest is given a chance to put on waders and get into the water with these fascinating creatures. This place is a great learning experience for kids and adults alike.
Shark and Sting Ray Encounters
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