About Port Stephens

Port Stephens, a coastal paradise in New South Wales, beckons visitors with its stunning beaches, abundant marine life, and a wide array of outdoor activities. Apart from its exceptional surf breaks, you can go on thrilling adventures such as scuba diving alongside grey nurse sharks, swimming alongside wild dolphins, or joining one of Port Stephens cruises for a snorkelling sesh. The region also offers innovative tours to explore the Stockton sand dunes and Barrington Tops National Park, making Port Stephens an ideal destination for a weekend getaway.

Nelson Bay is a major tourist hub in the region with a bustling shopping scene, restaurants, and incredible resorts. Nelson Bay cruises are a must if you’re planning a visit here; and in tandem, whale watching in Nelson Bay is also a popular activity. The whale watching season starts from May to November, a whale cruise from Nelson Bay will ensure your encounter with these gentle giants will be a memorable one. On the other hand, if you're keen on hanging out with the playful Bottlenose Dolphins of Port Stephens, you’re welcome to visit any time of the year, since over 140 of them call this place their year-round home!

Explore the nearby Tomaree National Park; conquer its signature hiking trail to enjoy panoramic ocean views, or channel your inner Tom Hardy with a sandboarding tour on the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes. On the other hand, if a summery, beachy, breezy energy is what you’re after, then you can start with a breakfast at The Little Nel, head down to Fingal Bay for a refreshing dip, come across a soldier crab army, and the perhaps conclude your day with a camel ride at Birubi. It’s safe to say that Port Stephens is more than generous when it comes to options.

Port Stephens has a history spanning thousands of years, with the Worimi and Birpai people being the original inhabitants. Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770, it became a significant maritime hub in the 19th century. Today, Port Stephens is a thriving tourist destination, its historical significance blending with stunning natural landscapes and recreational activities. Visit Port Stephens today and explore its many facades!

Port Stephens Cruise Experiences

Dolphin Watching cruises

1 Cruise

From $40

Nelson Bay Cruises

3 Cruises

From $40

Whale Watching Cruises

2 Cruises

From $75

Featured Cruises

3 Cruises

1.5hr Dolphin Discovery Cruise

Watch the lively bottlenose dolphins of Nelson Bay in this adventure cruise with a Twist & Twirl waterslide, boom net ride & more. High sighting rate.

Duration 1hr

From $40

2.5Hr Whale Watching Cruise - Nelson Bay

Cruise to the ‘Humpback Highway’, and along the outer island to see Humpback Whales, dolphins & other marine life up close. Operates May-Nov.

Duration 2hr

From $75

1.5Hr Whale Watch Express

Join the Whale Watch Express cruise to the ‘Humpback Highway’ and encounter the mighty whales of Nelson Bay - exclusive experience for 12 guests only.

Duration 1hr

From $95

Know Before You Go

Best Time To Visit

With its abundance of beaches and thrilling adventure activities, Port Stephens is an ideal destination for beach hopping. It comes as no surprise that summer is the prime time to visit. However, if you’re looking to witness the majestic Humpback whales during their annual migration along the east coast, plan your visit between May and November.

Public Holidays

Monday, 1 January: New Year's Day
Friday, 26 January: Australia Day
Friday, 29 March: Good Friday 
Saturday, 30 March: Easter Saturday 
Sunday, 31 March: Easter Sunday 
Monday, 1 April: Easter Monday
Thursday, 25 April: Anzac Day
Wednesday, 25 December: Christmas Day
Thursday, 26 December: Boxing Day

Other public holidays declared by the state and territory governments:

New South Wales
Monday, 10 June: King’s Birthday
Monday, 7 October: Labour Day

Events & Festivals

Tomaree Trail Run Festival
A running event that offers various distances and challenges, allowing participants to explore the scenic trails of Tomaree National Park, while enjoying breathtaking coastal views.

Love Sea Food Port Stephens
Love seafood? Then you should definitely check out this culinary celebration that showcases the region's fresh seafood offerings. Expect various dining experiences, cooking demonstrations, and food tastings.

Sail Port Stephens
Held in the pristine waters of Port Stephens, this annual yachting regatta also includes a fun social and entertainment program for all ages!

School Holidays

New South Wales: 15 April to 26 April

New South Wales: 8 July to 19 July

New South Wales: 30 September to 11 October

New South Wales: 23 December 2024 to 6 February 2025


With its undeniably stunning coastal setting, it’s no wonder that most accommodation in Port Stephens offers excellent views of nature and its splendid sights. Wake up to ocean views in a beachside resort, glamp at the water's edge, or sleep in luxury at a boutique hotel. Popular services like Airbnbs are also available.


Port Stephens boasts a vibrant dining scene that showcases the region's abundant local produce. From waterfront restaurants to cosy cafes and charming breweries, there is something to suit every palate. Indulge in freshly caught seafood, savour dishes inspired by farm-fresh ingredients like macadamias, avocados, and figs, and experience the culinary creativity of talented chefs.


Port Stephens is just a convenient 2.5hr drive north of Sydney. If you prefer flying, Newcastle Airport is the closest, only a 30-minute car ride from Nelson Bay in Port Stephens. To fully experience the region's 26 stunning beaches and charming coastal villages, having a car at your disposal is highly recommended for optimal exploration. Pre-book your car before arriving here.

Port Stephens Tourist Information

Shopping & Market Hours

Port Stephens harbour is twice as big as Sydney’s with many gems waiting to be discovered. The Woodville Store in Port Stephens hinterland is where you can fish out all things snacky – meals, local goodies and everything in between. Expect good country hospitality, plus, you'll be supporting a local business.

Salamander Bay Square is a hub for fashion, food, and other services. And for an alternate, non-expensive and unconventional shopping site, head to Salamanca Bay Recycling. It is the epitome of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’.

Medical Services

My Medical Services Port Stephens offers primary medical services in Salamander Bay.

Blogs & Articles

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Visit Nelson Bay For The Seaside Retreat Experience

We intend to bring you the best tourist spots in Australia. So, dear readers, allow us to introduce Nelson Bay to you! Just a 3-hour drive from Sydney, this township stands as the largest in Port Stephens.

Let's Meet The Resident Dolphins Of Port Stephens

If you swing by Nelson Bay in Port Stephens anytime of the year, you're in for a real treat – a sneak peek into the entrancing world of the bottlenose dolphins.

Wassup in Port Stephens? Sunnyside, Surf, SUP & So On!

Arthur Morgan-style horse riding on the beach, sandboarding down gigantic sand dunes, cruising alongside breaching humpbacks, and surfing in style at sunset – Port Stephens is all about those exotic coastal vibes.