Beach | Adventure | Family 02 April 2018

5 Epic Outdoor Things To Do in Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a relaxed and magical place to escape and enjoy the best that nature has to offer. With 26 pristine golden beaches (including New South Wales’ longest beach), the largest coastal dunes in the southern hemisphere, and a special place to watch the sunrise over the ocean on the east coast, Port Stephens is the ultimate coastal destination to kick back and relax while on vacation. 

Beyond the stunning beaches and dunes there’s plenty to do in the region, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney. Here are five epic outdoor adventures and bucket list worthy things you can experience while visiting calm and coastal Port Stephens.

Quad Bike with Sand Dune Adventures

The largest coastal dunes in the southern hemisphere make a magnificent playground for quad bikes. On four wheels you can make fast tracks, kicking up sand and having a blast as you go.

As well as kicking about on quad bikes, throw in the opportunity to go sandboarding and learn about indigenous culture for a truly one-of-a-kind excursion. Sand Dune Adventures, owned and operated by the Worimi people on their private land, will take you there. Race through incredible dunes with stunning views of the Tasman Sea on a quad, leap off a sand hill on waxed board, and learn about the Worimi people and their connection to this spectacular place.

Adventurers race through incredible dunes with stunning views of the Tasman Sea on a quad

Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters

Husband-and-wife team Ryan and Lia are passionate about dispelling harmful myths that make us afraid of the ocean’s most important creatures. Bring your brave face and slip on a wetsuit – you’re about to climb into the tanks as you get up close and personal with various stingrays and sharks.

These giant marine creatures aren’t the bad guys. With Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters you’ll learn about the vital part they place in the marine ecosystem. Feed massive smooth rays, cuddle a Port Jackson shark, and swim with huge three-meter-long tawny nurse sharks

Safe to say this family-friendly activity is both exhilarating and educational. 

Kids enjoying the moment as they experience Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters in Port Stephens NSW

Toboggan Hill Park

A short walk from the Oaks Pacific Blue Resort you’ll find a super fun park for the whole family. Set amid natural Aussie bushland, Toboggan Hill Park at Nelson Bay features dry ice-skating, jumping castles, mini golf, a climbing wall and various rides. 

The star attraction is, as the name suggests, a one-kilometer-long steel toboggan track. The shiny metal track winds downhill through eleven thrilling twists and turns. You’re in control of your cart, so if you’re feeling the need for speed, go wild and feel the wind in your face. Each toboggan is controlled with a simple, kid-friendly brake mechanism. Simple family fun.

Perhaps best of all there’s an automatic uphill tow that takes you 300-metres up the hill before the ride so you can go again and again and again without running out of steam.

Swim With Wild Dolphins 

More than 140 bottlenose dolphins call Port Stephens home, and you can dive into the ocean to meet them on this thrilling bucket-list worthy adventure. Become part of the pod when you join the wild dolphins in the ocean, interacting with them as they freely swim about.

Running between October and April, the unique Dolphin Swim Australia snorkeling experience departs early and returns by lunch. Spend the rest of the day buzzing after such an incredible morning in the dolphin capital of Australia.

If you’d rather see the aquatic mammals without diving in, you can often spot pods of the creatures from Port Stephens rocky coastal headlands and vast beaches. Or go out on the water with a popular dolphin watching cruise.

Couples enjoying the moment as they watch the playful dolphins swim in the sea of Port Stephens New South Wales

Loop around the Pool

The Oaks Pacific Blue apparently has the longest pool in Australia. Here almost every apartment at the resort faces the big blue lagoon, some even have direct access so you can slip straight out and into the water. 

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to swim around the entire 480-metre loop. It’s easier said than done to conquer the moat as you might get distracted along the way.

Slip into one of the Jacuzzis, chat to someone walking over the bridges, swap to the Japanese steam room, or be tempted to lie down at one of four man-made beaches. Pop your kids on an inflatable swan, take your time, and enjoy a leisurely circuit.

Oaks Pacific Blue with apartments at the resort facing the big blue lagoon