Adventure | Family | Food and Wine | Road Trip 18 May 2017

11 Best Things To Do In Port Stephens This Winter

While Port Stephens is best known for its beautiful blue waters, beaches and summer holidays, year-round you’ll find a vibrant region brimming with activities. Sunbaking might not be on the agenda in winter, but there’s still so much to do and see around Port Stephens that it was hard to narrow it down to just 11 things. Pack the car, head out of the city and enjoy a fun-filled winter weekend getaway in gorgeous Port Stephens.

Ride a camel over some of the world’s largest sand dunes

Take a camel ride at Birubi Beach, plodding through the giant moving sand dunes and down the beach. Oakfield Ranch Camel Rides operate from the lower carpark at Birubi Beach and standard tours run on weekends and during the NSW School Holidays. Riding on the back of a huge camel is an experience you won’t forget, plus it’s a great photo opportunity that’s even better at sunset.

Camel Riding on sand dunes at Port Stephen New South Wales

Encounter sharks at Irukandji 

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, get up close and personal with some of the most feared underwater creatures. Husband-and-wife team Ryan and Lia are passionate about dispelling harmful myths that make us afraid of the ocean’s most important creatures, so bring your brave face and slip on a wetsuit – it’s time to dive into the unique interactive aquarium at Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters. Feed massive smooth rays, cuddle a Port Jackson shark, and swim with huge three-metre-long tawny nurse sharks while you hear about why these giant marine creatures are part of an important marine ecosystem.

Little kid get to experience Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters

Taste crafty brews at Murray’s Brewery

Murray’s Brewery’s promise of no boring beer extends to the beautiful outdoor beer garden where the taps are loaded with unique stouts, lagers, and IPAs, there’s local wines to taste, bocce to entertain all ages, chickens running about and live music on weekends. There’s also a pavilion dedicated to high tea, and an up-scale spot with a la carte dining. Drop in for the daily brewery tour at 2.15pm, simply pass through for lunch at the onsite restaurant, or bring a picnic rug and sprawl out on the lawns.

Rip about the dunes on a quad bike

Home to the largest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, there is no better way to tour this incredible natural wonder than on bikes of the four-wheel variety. Plus, you can also try your hand at sand boarding while you’re up here. Sand Dune Adventures have the biggest bikes, perfect to race up the incredible dunes and enjoy stunning views of the Tasman Sea.

Quad bike riding adventures on the Sand Dunes of Southern Hemisphere

Go whale watching in the deep

The cooler weather brings these majestic mega mammals up from southern waters, passing Port Stephens on the annual migration to Far North Queensland. Watching the Humpback Whales jump, slap and play is an experience you cannot miss and best seen from the water. Climb aboard a boat with Moonshadow Cruises who operate the largest and most luxurious cruise in the region.

Watching the Humpback Whales jump, slap and play while on the breathtaking Moonshadow Cruises

Dine your way around Port Stephens

As you’d expect thanks to its seaside location, Port Stephens is big on seafood. Book a table for a long lunch at Little Beach Boathouse and slurp back local oysters while admiring the amazing views over Little Beach, Nelson Bay, try the seafood chowder and crab arancini Sandpipers Restaurant closer to town, or watch whales migrate past from your table at Crest Birubi Beach.

Alternatively go straight to the source at Holberts Oysters, and visit the Nelson Bay Fish Market for the catch of the day. As the sun starts to set, run over to The Point Restaurant at Soldiers Point, or back to Crest Birubi Beach.

Amazing view outside the Little Beach Boathouse Restaurant at Nelson Bay New South Wales

Fly down Toboggan Hill 

Toboggan Hill Park is literally just around the corner from Oaks Pacific Blue Resort and is home to fun for the whole family. The star attraction is, as the name suggests, a one-kilometre-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. Plus there’s dry ice-skating, jumping castles, mini golf, a climbing wall and more rides. 

Go for a bush walk

Port Stephens is a haven for avid bush walkers with a variety of breath-taking national parks at your disposal. Tomaree National Park is the closest with a variety of tracks to suit different fitness levels, there’s short walks that even the kids will find easy or longer hikes for the more experienced. If you have to pick just one, the short but challenging Summit Walk rewards with brilliant views at the top.

Stunning view from above of Tomaree Head Summit Walk Port Stephens New South Wales

Join the Eats ‘n’ Beats dinner cruise

Enjoy a three-course meal onboard the luxe Moonshadow as you cruise around the bay with local musicians providing a romantic soundtrack. Sit back, relax and enjoy a night out on the water as the stars sparkle up above. It’s certainly a memorable way to spend the evening while sipping Hunter Valley wines or locally brewed beers.

Couple watching the stunning view on the water from the Moonshadow Dolphin Watch Cruise at the Port Stephens New South Wales

Visit Oakvale Wildlife Park

The kids will love Oakvale Wildlife Park. Meet native wildlife like kangaroos, koalas, emus, dingoes, quokkas and cassowaries, or explore the farm with llamas, Highland cows, donkeys, goats, guinea pigs and more. There’s also tractor rides, a baby animal nursery, splash play park, playground and daily shows. Just a 20 minute drive from Oaks Pacific Blue Resort towards the airport, don’t miss this great day out.

Feeding llamas and other wildlife animals at Oakvale Wildlife Park

Go Karting

For the adrenalin junkies, Port Stephens has one of the biggest, fastest and most thrilling four-stroke go kart hire tracks in the region at Go Karts Go located in Nelson Bay. They also have special Junior Go Karts that can cater for kids as young as three, so the whole family can enjoy this thrilling excursion.