Thoughts on Port Stephens?

Jan 31st, 2005, 07:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 226
Thoughts on Port Stephens?

Hi there. After a week in Perth, and five days in Sydney, looking for a bit of a beach getaway close to Sydney. Port Stephens looks to be most interesting with its possibilities for snorkelling, dolphin watching, lying on the beach, etc. We do have to then fly back to Perth afterwards so we would have only 4 nights to explore..that's why we were thinking Port Stephens.
Just curious as to everyone's thoughts about Port Stephens? Is it a nice beach getaway without the hassle of a flight to get there? I know charter buses run there...hopefully on New year's day if we choose Port Stephens... And do I have to worry about jellies at that time of year? We would be looking at the first few days of January.
Thanks everyone, as always, in advance for your assistance. I've usually used the Europe board, and you've all been quite friendly to this first time A/P board user so far!
CaptCanuck is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Nelson Bay, Hawks Nest, Tea Gardens are all lovely Port Stephens destinations. There are sometimes jellyfish in the water but they don't bother us! One other choice might be Terrigal's Crowne Plaza Hotel. Check out and enter Terrigal. This is one of the most beautiful beach areas in Australia. There are several to choose from all easily visited by hiring a car for a day or two. Train from Sydney to Gosford and taxi or bus from Gosford. Good luck.
Lyndie is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 09:16 PM
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Lyndie's right - Port Stephens and area is lovely. There was something on TV last night about limiting the area from dolphin spotting boats to 30 metres (between boat and dolphin) as there's a thought the dolphins are getting stressed by the very tourism they've generated. What a shame, can remember when you could rent a small boat out and the dolphins would come right up you.

Don't worry about dangerous jelly fish that far south, its Northern Queensland coast where the box jellyfish and irukandjis are a problem in summer.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 09:46 PM
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Port Stephens area tends to have more tourists, restaurants, etc, but if you are looking for somewhere completely different, and quiet, and very natural, then go for Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens area. Accommodation much cheaper than P/Stephens, and at Hawks Nest you have the benefit of different waterways, eg. Bay beaches and surf beaches all at your doorstep. Also boat trips across to Port Stephens, if you want leave this truly unspoilt area. Then a short drive to the Myall Lakes National Park, you have lake swimming, sailing, etc,
There is a nice picnic/camping area right on the lake shore called Mungo Brush.
Hawkes Nest, was the Prime MInister favourite holiday spot for many years, somewhere to get away from the crowds, and onlookers. At Tea Gardens (a short drive from Hawkes Nest), there are 2 clubs, one pub (overlooking the Myall River), and a handful of good restaurants. My favourite was the Boomerang Restaurant.
tropo is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 09:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 288
Ahh I hear the regulars saying " I wondered when Paul would see this".


I have done numerous reports on this forum in regards to Port Stephens just do a search and you will find them.

For what it is worth I believe Port Stephens to be one of the best kept secretes when it comes to tourist destinations. You will find the place to be absolutely spectacular, however if you intend being there over the New Year period I would suggest that you start researching your accommodation now as it books out well in advance.


Paul_S is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 226
Thanks for the advice so far everyone!
And Paul, I did a search on you on this are indeed the Port Stephens pro!
I saw some of your accommodation recommendations and have found those web sites...what do you think of the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa in terms of beach access, etc.? It seems that it has opened fairly recently?
And for everyone.. what is the best way to get up there from Sydney..via Coach?
CaptCanuck is offline  
Feb 4th, 2005, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 288
Hi CaptCanuck,

Yes the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa is a top notch resort. It is situated right on Shoal Bay beach, there is only a road between it and the actual beach. There are a number of new resorts being constructed at the moment but few will be ready to take guests until next year (2006).

As to your choices of getting to Neslon Bay ( Port Stephens ) well you could take the bus that leaves outside Sydney Central Station but as you are going to be at Sydney Airport why not just continue up to Newcastle from there with Qantas or Virgin Blue.

The Newcastle airport is actually part of the RAAF base at Williamtown and you can hire a car from there with any of the major companies like Hertz, Thrifty, Budget or Avis.


Paul_S is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 12:58 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Thanks, alisha, for putting us back on the Fodor map! Di
di2315 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 142
Love Shoal Bay - have stayed in the area a few times now... The beach is often deserted on weekdays - the walk to the top of the hill is amazing and the vibe in the area is very relaxed.

I have visited the resort and had a sticky beak and a meal. It looks great. I would give it a go.

We usually rent a house via one of the local real estate agents. I think the minimum for that is about 3 days.
emerald125 is offline  

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