It’s funny how sometimes a certain event can cause you to go somewhere you would never go otherwise. Then that somewhere turns out to be a place you realise should have been on your list of places to visit.
That is what happened for us on the weekend. The event: a wedding. The place: Port Stephens.
Port Stephens is located about 2.5 hours North of Sydney on the Australian East Coast. We were there for 2 days in total, but could have spent many more exploring the bays and beaches. There were so many. In fact, there are 26 beaches in Port Stephens. This includes surf and protected ones.
The Harbor is more than twice the size of Sydney Harbor.
We decided this is one place where we should come sailing one day.
There are so many little bays and coves with peaceful anchorages. Headlands and islands for snorkelling/diving. Quiet towns for those wanting to attend a cafe or restaurant. National parks for those wanting to be at one with nature.
Of course, we didn’t have time to see all the beaches, so here are the things we experienced.
One Mile Beach. Ok, no photos of this one, but such a great spot for a refreshing swim in small waves. I’m not joking about refreshing. We are used to 24-26 degree water at the moment, but down there it was around 18 degrees.
There is plenty of space to find parking there.
Shoal Bay. One of many great anchorage spots if coming by boat.
It is a beautiful protected beach, with a number of cafes and pubs down one end.
If you keep walking/driving past the cafes & pub you will arrive at the Tomaree lookout walk. It’s a 30 minute walk up. I’m guessing it is worth the walk, but we did not have the time or shoes to do it.
Instead we went to the Gan Gan lookout where the first few photos in this post were taken.
Another quiet bay is Salamander Bay, where the wedding reception was held. This looks like another good anchorage.
Our favourite beach was Fingal beach.
Ryan loved it so much he bought a pair of the surf club board shorts. Ok, maybe that was not because he loved it so much. He had packed only one pair of boat shorts. The pair with a Massive hole in the crotch. It was particularly entertaining when I noticed it during our first swim at One Mile Beach.
Fingal beach is the place I would bring children to learn to surf. The waves were perfect. I was aching to have my board there. I told Ryan this is where I want to go back and try out these perfect (for me) sized waves.
There is a surf school there, for those who are keen to learn.
Here are the things we did not do but would love to next time we go (when we sail there of course):
1. Snorkelling – there is a place called Fly Point which is meant to be good for snorkelling. You will find it between Nelson Bay and Little Beach
2. Diving/free diving – there are 6 Islands off Port Stephens with some good reefs. I would have to find out the fishing rules, but if it is allowed spearfishing is definitely on the cards
3. Exploring the Islands, bays and anchorages
4. Exploring the sand dunes – sandboarding or quad biking. That area is known as the Worimi Conservation Lands.
5. The hike up to the Tomaree lookout
Whether you are travelling by boat, plane or car, this is a must visit area.
For further information about Port Stephens you can visit: http://www.portstephens.org.au