Port Stephens: An Idyllic Coastal Paradise

Port Stephens is an idyllic coastal paradise that stretches across northeastern New South Wales, Australia. (Image:  Simon_sees via  flickr CC BY 2.0 )
Port Stephens is an idyllic coastal paradise that stretches across northeastern New South Wales, Australia. (Image: Simon_sees via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

Port Stephens is an idyllic coastal paradise that stretches across northeastern New South Wales, Australia. It is renowned for its vast expanse of sand dunes that sit in contrast to its extensive bay and harbor areas. It is a popular tourist destination, offering an abundant range of land and sea activities.

With boundless sea and sand, Port Stephens is famous for its spectacular marine surroundings; hence it has been dubbed the “blue water paradise.” It is over 200 km north of Sydney and stretches 30 km from east to west and 10 km from north to south. Nestled inside the mouth of Port Stephens is the area’s largest town, Nelson Bay. The beach features a wide stretch of white sand greeting the Pacific Ocean.

Port Stephens is also home to the longest moving sand dune system in the Southern Hemisphere. The monumental sandscape has a breadth of 32 km and a width of roughly 2 to 4 km stretching from Anna Bay southward to Stockton Beach. The majestic white dunes can tower to over 40 metres in height, with up to 60 degree slopes. These naturally shifting structures began to form 6,000 years ago when sand began to shift from the sea and accumulate on land. The force of the waves and sea breeze sculpted sand dunes of various sizes, and the mass slowly migrated westward at a speed of about 4 metres per year.

Port Stephens is also home to the longest moving sand dune system in the Southern Hemisphere. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Port Stephens is also home to the longest moving sand dune system in the Southern Hemisphere. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Standing on the peak of a monumental sand dune, with its wind-blown sand, you can witness a perfect skyscape — limitless blue sky, feathery white clouds, and an abundant expanse of golden sand.

Sandboarding is one of the most popular activities. Visitors of all ages can surf down massive sand dunes up to 40 meters high, making for a truly exhilarating adventure. For a desert-like experience, hire a Jeep to climb the magnificent sand dunes, or take a guided tour to experience the breathtaking scenery and historical landmarks. Quad bikes are also on hire for an invigorating adventure.

Camel riding by the sea

This leisurely tour offers the unique experience of making the sand dunes feel like a desert. The sounds of waves breaking on the nearby beach might just be an oasis waiting over the next dune. Your camel ride might take you along the beachfront after low tide, or through the rugged terrain of the sandy dunes.

Port Stephens is also known as the dolphin capital of Australia. it is home to over 150 bottlenose dolphins. There are a range of daily activities — from cruises to wild dolphin swims — that allow you to get up close and personal with these intelligent and playful creatures in their wild habitat.

Port Stephens is also known as the dolphin capital of Australia. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Port Stephens is also known as the dolphin capital of Australia. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The annual whale migration season between June and November draws thousands of visitors to cruises or vantage points along the coast to relish the whale watching experience. From mid May to early September, Port Stephens is a favorite destination to watch Humpback and Southern Right whales passing through the warmer tropical waters as they venture north toward their breeding grounds. During mid-September to mid-October the southern migration can be spotted, featuring humpback mothers and their newborn calves.

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