Things to do in Port Stephens: 10 Family Favourites

  • All Ages

Port Stephens is a long stretch of land that peeks out from the coast in the Hunter Region and is one of NSW's best-kept secrets - or worst, depending on who you talk to! 

Just north of Newcastle, you’ll find a cluster of sleepy beach towns - from Soldiers Point to Anna Bay, Fingal Bay, Port Stephens, Shoal Bay and Fishermans Bay, the friendly locals in these townships are more than ready to welcome back tourists after COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions have hindered their ability to operate at full capacity.

So if you’re planning a regional trip we highly recommend you add Port Stephens firmly to your list and start packing up the car. To help you on your way, we’ve pulled together a list of things to do in Port Stephens - and if you don’t get to them all this time around, you can always come back for more fun in the sun!

Things to do in Port Stephens: 10 Family Favourites

1. Go Camel Riding at Stockton Beach

Camel rides Stockton Beach
Go camel riding on Stockton Beach. Image source: Destination NSW.


If you make your way to Stockton Beach in Anna Bay, you’ll be greeted by rolling sand dunes as far as the eye can see. For a unique activity that’ll have you feeling like you’re in the depths of the Sahara Desert, saddle up and head off on a Port Stephens camel ride. These guided tours will pass through the famous Stockton Sand Dunes and traipse the water's edge. Simply rock up on the day or book a spot ahead of time.

Address: Birubi Point Public Carpark, James Paterson Street, Anna Bay

2. Visit Splash Waterpark

Things to do in Port Stephens
Splash Waterpark in Nelson Bay.


Win extra brownie points with the kids by taking them along to Splash Waterpark in Nelson Bay. Children as young as six can spend time exploring a number of inflatable obstacle courses that have been erected in the calm waters of the bay. Think less theme park rides and more open-water adventuring! For $20 general entry, you'll get a life jacket (compulsory), one hour at the waterpark and the safety of several trained lifeguards on duty. Oh and parents, there isn’t an age limit so you’re free to get stuck into the aquatic fun too!

Address: 40 Victoria Parade, Nelson Bay

3. Go Snorkelling 

With so many gorgeous coves, bays and secluded inlets in Port Stephens, it would be remiss of us not to tell you to pop on the snorkel and explore the underwater world snorkelling in Port Stephens. Our top picks for getting an up-close and personal view of the beautiful marine life is to head to Nelson Bay, Fingal Bay or Shoal Bay. If you’re looking to get a bit more serious about your snorkelling, book in a day trip snorkelling or diving with a guided charter - Imagine Cruises, Let’s Go Adventures and Feet First Dive are all great options.

4. Swim at Port Stephens Beaches

Bagnall Beach
The beautiful shore at Bagnalls Beach.


When it comes to things to do in Port Stephens, you better believe visiting the beach is near the top of everyone's list! At the height of summer, everyone flocks to the water and stays there and once you start exploring the area, you’ll totally understand why - the beaches at Port Stephens are absolutely breathtaking.

Head to Bagnalls Beach for a crystal-clear stretch of calm water perfect for kids to play, explore Little Beach Reserve for some sandcastle building, hike up Tomaree Mountain then cool off at Zenith Beach or set up camp at Shoal Bay and spend hours launching off the main jetty.

5. Visit one of Australia’s Favourite Breweries 

Murray’s Craft Brewing Co has earned a reputation for being one of the best things to do in Port Stephens. Inspired by the experimental craft beers made in America, Murray himself brought a bit of that magic here and brewed up a special sanctuary in Bobs Farm, Port Stephens. Come for the craft beer, stay for the vineyard backdrop, enjoy the live music and nosh on some tasty woodfired pizzas.

Address: 3443 Nelson Bay Road, Bobs Farm

6. Spot Some Dolphins 

It really isn’t a classic Aussie beachside holiday until you’ve spotted a pod of dolphins going about their daily travels. And you really don’t have to look far to find some dolphins in Port Stephens but for your best bet, get in the water and explore.

In the Shoal Bay inlet, dolphins have been known to mingle with the locals as they enjoy the water. On the shore, there are plenty of spots to hire stand-up paddleboards so why not get out in the water and say hello to the dolphins! And if you want to increase your chances of spotting these majestic creatures, there are plenty of dolphin cruises in the area to jump aboard.

7. Check out a Real Oyster Farm

Holberts Oyster Farm
Fresh oysters from Holbert's Oyster Farm.


You better bet the folks in Port Stephens have catching and providing fresh seafood down to a fine art. In fact, over at Holbert Oyster Supplies, they invite you to stop by and check out what really goes on at the famous Port Stephens oyster farm. Learn about their growing and distributing process before settling down on the banks of Salamander Bay to enjoy a dozen of their finest freshly shucked oysters, then wash it all down with a glass of wine - delish!

Address: Lot 52 Diemars Road, Salamander Bay

8. Meet the Animals at Oakvale Wildlife Park

Oakvale Wildlife Park
Koala Country at Oakvale Wildlife Park. Image source: Destination NSW.


Plan a day trip to Oakvale Wildlife Park and meet some of the most exciting mammals, reptiles and native birds our wonderful country has to offer. Explore the park on your own, watch one of the educational live shows, feed some farm animals, cuddle a koala, or for the brave - feed a giant, snapping alligator! And remember to pack the kids' swimmers so they can cool off at Splash Bay after a day of hobnobbing with the animals.

Splash Bay Park
The Splash Bay water park at Oakvale Wildlife Park.


Address: 3 Oakvale Drive, Salt Ash

9. Hire a Bike and See the Sights

If you’re looking for things to do in Port Stephens that will keep your little busybodies moving, there’s no better way to see all of the bays and inlets than to hire a bike. There are plenty of bike hire businesses dotted throughout the towns that offer very reasonable prices for day hire. The best part is, it’s fairly flat as you move about the bays and most towns are well equipped with safe paths away from the roads.

10. Get Your Adrenaline Going at Toboggan Hill Park

Toboggan Hill Park
The Toboggan Run at Toboggan Hill Park.


For the thrillseekers among us, you can’t miss an opportunity to zoom through the bushland on a toboggan ride. If catching some downhill speed is a little too daring for you then there are plenty of other fun activities to partake in at Toboggan Hill Park. Get dizzy in the maze, play mini-golf, roller skate or rock climb - your options are endless!

Address: 16 Aquatic Close, Nelson Bay 

Other NSW Holiday Destinations

Weekend Getaways Near Sydney
Treehouse Accommodation in NSW
Where to go Beach Camping in NSW


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