Things to do in Port Stephens.

From water sports to nature walks, these are the best things to do in Port Stephens.

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Photo credit: Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

A little less than an hour north of Newcastle City, Port Stephens is a holiday destination that has it all. Boasting a string of seaside towns with sparkling waters, pristine wilderness and stunning beaches, Port Stephens is an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream. Enjoy foodie hot spots, open-air markets, giant sand dunes, wildlife encounters, and villages that cater to everyday life as well as foreshore parks, coastal walks, cycling paths, and trails that lead to beaches bounded by native bushland. It’s a dreamy destination that locals relish in, and people from far-flung places come to experience.   

The list of things to do in Port Stephens is long, so pack your bag and start planning your coastal getaway. 

Things to do in Port Stephens: Eat

Photo credit: Shoal Bay Country Club

Shoal Bay Country Club

The Shoal Bay Country Club is an iconic gathering spot that is all things beautiful. From the stylishly laidback interiors to the spectacular views across the bay to the food that this multi-purpose venue serves. Mermaid’s Café is the spot for breakfast, The Kitchen & Patio is the go-to for cocktails and seasonal dishes and Atmos is a Greek-inspired dining experience that you’ll want to carve out time in your schedule to visit.

35-45 Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay

Photo credit: Rick Stein at Bannisters Port Stephens

Rick Stein at Bannisters Port Stephens

Bannisters Port Stephens is also home to Rick Stein at Bannisters – the celebrity chef’s signature restaurant. Working closely with executive chef Mitchell Turner, Rick Stein heroes locally sourced seafood and pairs his delicacies with his own wine, created in collaboration with Hunter Valley winery Brokenwood. 

Start with freshly shucked oysters and sashimi before moving on to the incredible list of seasonal mains. You can’t go past the Singapore Chilli Crab Stir-fried with garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander which is one of Stein’s personal favourites. Make sure you don’t wear white for this one as it’s made to eat with your hands – the messier the better!

147 Soldiers Point Road, Soldiers Point 

Things to do in Port Stephens: Drink

Photo credit: Cheeky Dog 

Cheeky Dog 

Cheeky Dog guarantees to amp up the holiday vibes with a relaxed vibe, tropical cocktails and easy eats. The space is open plan and there’s a solid live music lineup so good times will keep rolling. As for drinks, they’ve got all your usuals in stock alongside a moreish Mediterranean-inspired food menu. Add the Cheeky Dog to your Port Stephens hit list and you’ll be a regular in no time! 

147 Soldiers Point Road, Soldiers Point 

Things to do in Port Stephens: Stay

Photo credit: Bannisters Port Stephens 

Bannisters Port Stephens 

Transformed from an iconic ‘60s resort into a swanky boutique hotel, Bannisters effortlessly captures the coastal charm of Port Stephens. Boasting a range of plush rooms and suites that offer ocean and parkland vistas the hotel is a haven of rest and relaxation. Using a fresh palette of cool tones, with a pop of pastel, each room has a simplistic charm that let the views do the talking. And best of all, you’ve got one of the best restaurants in the region on your doorstep. 

147 Soldiers Point Road, Soldiers Point 

Photo credit: Talm Beach House
Talm Beach House

For the ultimate luxury stay, head straight to Talm Beach House. The house sleeps up to 10 with four suites offering relaxed coastal comfort. If you’re planning a group stay, be sure to get in early and snag the Master Bedroom that comes complete with floor-to-ceiling windows from which you can indulge in a spot of whale watching and dolphin spotting. An outdoor fire pit provides the perfect excuse to linger outdoors well after the sun has gone down. 

8a Birubi Lane, Anna Bay 

Photo credit: Anchorage Port Stephens 

Anchorage Port Stephens 

With views of the port from every window, Anchorage Port Stephens is a seaside lover’s dream. The decor is charmingly nautical with a Hamptons twist. Opt for the Loft Bedroom or Master Suite to enjoy 180 degree views out over the sea. With an onsite restaurant, bar, pool and spa, you won’t want to leave! If relaxation is the name of the game for you, this is where to base yourself. 

26 Corlette Point Road, Corlette 

Things to do in Port Stephens: Play

Photo credit: Stockton Dunes (Image Credit: Destination NSW)

Check out the Dunes

Arguably one of the best things to do in Port Stephens is the largest moving sanding dunes in the southern hemisphere, the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes. Part of the Worimi Conservation Lands, this natural wonder reaches heights of up to 40 metres and slopes of 60 degrees. Adventurers are out in full-force sandboarding, camel and horse riding, hiking, quad biking and four-wheel driving.  

Photo credit: Fingal Bay (Image Credit: @jezzeka.brown)

Beach Hopping

From the calm bay beaches of Nelson Bay to the ocean swells at Anna Bay, you’re truly spoilt for choice in Port Stephens. Birubi Beach is the gateway to The Stockton Bight Sand Dunes. Shoal Bay and Nelson Bay beaches are dreamy spots for paddle boarding, kite surfing and boating, while the ocean-facing beaches of Tomaree National Park – Zenith, Wreck and Box Beach – will have you feeling worlds away from it all.

Photo credit: Paddle Port Stephens

Water Sports & Wildlife

Deep dive into the waters of Port Stephens and discover a wildlife sanctuary for dolphins, migrating whales and a colourful array of sea life. There is so much fun to be had off-land including paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling, diving, surfing, and boating. Paddle Port Stephens have a range of rentals up for grabs (including the ever-popular transparent kayak) as well as some fantastic sunset and discovery tours. 

Photo credit: D’Albora Marina

Visit the Marina

Sitting alongside Nelson Bay Beach, D’Albora Marina is where the boats come and go. Waterfront restaurants serve ocean-fresh seafood, and cafes open as the sun rises over the bay. Settle in and listen to tales of seafaring adventures, climb aboard one of the many tour boats or your private vessel, and have one of your own.

Photo credit: Mount Tomaree (Image Credit: Port Stephens)

Take a Walk

Tucked away along the coastline of Port Stephens, the coastal walks surrounding Shoal Bay are one of its biggest drawcards. Tomaree Head Summit Walk may be steep, but you’ll be well-rewarded with spectacular coastline views. For something a little more grounded, Wreck Beach Walk meanders through a coastal forest to a secluded cliffside beach. 

If you enjoyed this edit of the best things to do in Port Stephens and are looking for more adventure along the Central Coast, be sure to check out our edits of the best walks on the Central Coast and the best things to do on the Central Coast.