Head 2.5-hours north of Sydney and you’ll find Port Stephens. It's dotted with bays and inlets, and it happens to be double the size of Sydney Harbour — meaning double the amount of water-themed activities to have.
But it’s not just a summer destination. If you’re a keen adventurer, you can pack in as much action as you like — from horse riding along sweeping beaches to hiking along stunning coastal trails. And if you’d prefer to relax, spend your time wandering between waterfront cocktail bars and decadent restaurants.
The difficulty is working out where to begin — especially if you’ve only got a few days up your sleeve. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to where to eat and drink, and things to see and do, on a weekend escape to Port Stephens.
With water, water everywhere, summer would seem like the obvious time to visit when the weather is warm and the days are long and sunny. But the other seasons have a big drawcard: whales. Head there between May and November to catch these majestic creatures migrating along the coast while you’re conquering a trek or riding a camel along the beach.
Port Stephens is just a 2.5-hour drive north of Sydney making it an ideal destination for a weekend escape from the city. Don’t have a car? Catch a bus from Central or Chatswood Stations to the region — it’ll take about three hours.
With so many beautiful, natural areas, Port Stephens is friendly to budgeters. Those low on funds can spend their time picnicking at beaches and wandering through bushland. But, if you’ve cash to splash, hit the high-end restaurants and fancy bars and load up your itinerary with tours.
Given that people travel from the other side of the world to see Port Stephens’ dolphins up-close, you ought to do the same. Also make sure you summit Tomaree Head for panoramic views. Then there’s Stockton Beach — backdropped by the biggest dunes in the Southern Hemisphere where you can ride a horse through the waves.
Treat your special someone to hearty brunches, local wine and some of the best seafood on the east coast.
Slurp local oysters, ride through the dunes and unearth 'Mad Max' sets on the coast.
There's more to this region than its 26 beaches.
Savour sea-to-plate fare while sipping champagne, then take a dip in an oceanside pool.
Don't go into hibernation this year. Follow your wanderlust up the coast instead.
Animal encounters and adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities await.
Amble your way around the coastal region on your own two feet — or on two wheels.