Nestled against Tomaree National Park is this haven of stunning beaches and coastline where dolphins are a regular sighting and humpback whales pass by.
Australia’s natural beauty is right on your doorstep in Nelson Bay, where you can hike to lookout points with spectacular views, cycle along the coastline, sail in waters home to dolphins and dive in coral reefs. Just a few hours’ drive from Sydney, this little coastal town is the perfect place to relax and enjoy lazing on the sand or surfing at one of the many beaches.
Some of the best spots for diving are at the nearby marine reserve Fly Point and Broughton Island. At Fly Point, look for the exotic pineapple and angel fish that live among the colourful coral. Adventurous fisherman can take a game fishing charter in the deeper waters to catch tuna, marlin and swordfish.
You can spot dolphins from the beach at Nelson Bay. Get out on the water for an unforgettable close-up view. In the cooler seasons you can also see majestic humpback whales. Some whale-watching tours visit the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands, where you can sandboard down dunes as high as 40 metres (130 feet), and visit aboriginal shell middens, burial areas and camping grounds that predate European settlement.
Spend a day exploring Tomaree National Park, which surrounds Nelson Bay. Hike up Tomaree Head Summit for incredible views over the water and forested headlands. Explore World War II gun emplacements on the Fort Tomaree walk. At low tide you may have access to Fingal Island, where you can walk along the beach to the ruins of the 19th-century cottage of the Point Stephens lighthouse keeper. The lighthouse itself, built in 1862, is still standing and active.
After an adventurous day outdoors, relax with a glass of local wine and a dinner of freshly caught seafood in one of Nelson Bay or Port Stephens’ restaurants that have an oceanfront view.
Bicycle paths are everywhere in Nelson Bay. Rent a bike to explore the area. Alternatively, buy a Bay Explorer Ticket to get unlimited use of the local bus service.