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Things to do in
Port Stephens

Our most recommended things to do in Port Stephens

Port Stephens: Dolphin Watching Cruise

1. Port Stephens: Dolphin Watching Cruise

Take a cruise around magnificent Port Stephens Harbour on one of the biggest boats in the bay. Keep an eye out for the resident Bottlenose Dolphins as you head out beautiful Port Stephens Marine Park. Take in the sights of Tomaree and Yacaaba Headlands, Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay, and the Eastern Harbour as you sit back and relax on the deck area. If you feel like getting a bit wet, feel free to use our boomnet. Enjoy entertaining and informative commentary on board. If you feel like indulging in something a little different, there is a licensed bar on board that you can choose to purchase from. 

Port Stephens: Unlimited Sandboarding & 4WD Sand Dune Tour

2. Port Stephens: Unlimited Sandboarding & 4WD Sand Dune Tour

You have to experience sandboarding in Port Stephens. The thrill of sliding down the spectacular Stockton Sand Dunes is so much fun. From the meeting point at Birubi beach, you will board the custom-built off-road vehicle to start your adventure on the short, bouncy ride into the largest moving sand mass in the southern hemisphere. The dunes stretch 32 kilometers, the entire length of Stockton Beach, and can reach over 40 meters high, the same as a 10 storey building. The views alone are spectacular. Once you are in the dunes, the team will give you a rundown on sandboarding and how to use the handmade custom-designed boards for maximum safety and speed. Then you are off. Climb to the top of the dunes, jump on your board, then slide on down and repeat. Your ticket includes unlimited sandboarding so you can stay and play as long as you like. For most people that’s about 1 – 1.5 hours. When you're done just jump back aboard one of the 4WD buses, that leave every half an hour, and be taken back to the Birubi Beach starting point. It’s an amazing experience for everyone, no matter your age. The instructors are always on hand to help, answer any questions about sandboarding, Port Stephens or the dunes and to make sure you have maximum fun. Don’t forget to bring your camera along as you’ll have the chance to capture some amazing Port Stephens holiday snaps.

Port Stephens: Dolphin Watch Cruise with Swimming & Slides

3. Port Stephens: Dolphin Watch Cruise with Swimming & Slides

Spend a magical 2 hours looking for dolphins off the coast of Nelson Bay and get some time to splash about in stunning blue water. Choose from a morning, afternoon departure and be entertained by the informative commentary as you go on search of beautiful resident dolphins on the Port Stephens harbour. Get stunning views of the Eastern harbor, including spectacular Tomaree and Yacaaba headlands. Relax on the deck with a drink and snacks purchased at the licensed bar. Laugh your way around the harbor as you make use of the large boom net and water slide.

Port Stephens: Sandboarding & Sandsurfing with 4WD Transfer

4. Port Stephens: Sandboarding & Sandsurfing with 4WD Transfer

Embark on an epic adventure on the largest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. Once at the meeting point, you will board a comfortable 4WD vehicle for a 10-minute drive across the expansive dunes to the private and secluded sandboarding area, far away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation. Here you will be greeted by a friendly instructor who will teach you the safe method of sandboarding for both the sit down and stand up styles. You can choose from a range of different boards, both with and without bindings - or, pair up with a buddy and ride tandem. The bowl-shaped dune features both smaller slopes and a monster slope - you choose the size of the hill based on your confidence level. Sandboarding is suitable for all ages and abilities. There is a shaded picnic area with tables and chairs provided at the dune, so feel free to bring your own food and drinks and enjoy a picnic whilst taking in the incredible panoramic views of beach, dunes, and forest. There are plenty of amazing photo opportunities within this unique landscape. Best of all, you can stay and play as long as you like. Most people will generally spend 1-2 hours. There is a shuttle to the dunes and back every 15 minutes, so when you are ready to head back just hop on the the next shuttle.

Anna Bay: Irukandji Entry and Shallow Water Shark Encounter

5. Anna Bay: Irukandji Entry and Shallow Water Shark Encounter

The shallows encounter offers you the opportunity to get close to sharks and rays in a natural lagoon-style habitat. Get to know the true nature of these animals in a safe and educational environment. When you arrive at Irukandji you will be greeted by staff members who will guide you through the whole process, from learning how to interact safely with the animals to providing you with all the equipment needed to enter the water and meet the animals. Choose from the option of wearing your own clothes in the water and just getting your feet and ankles wet, or renting a wetsuit for an extra $18 to wade deeper or sit down in our natural style lagoons. You can choose to go barefoot or cover up your toes with a pair of wear and keep souvenir socks. At the lagoons, you will be given a feeding stick and food for the sharks and rays, and then guided around to the different pools by a knowledgable fish keeper. Each of the pools is home to different species of fish with specific food and information provided at each one. You will get to reach in and interact with the animals as they swim around in their aquatic homes. Irukandji features 2 large, deep, natural-style lagoons housing a variety of different animals. In the Fingill lagoon, you’ll meet a whole bunch of friendly and curious rays who will glide over your feet and eagerly snatch the food from your sticks. Reach down to pet them and feel the different textures of their skin. Then over at the Tropical lagoon, meet a few more rays plus a variety of shark species including zebra sharks and brown-banded bamboo sharks. You can interact with them while listening to the keepers as they give educational talks about sharks, rays, and marine conservation. During our Big Shark Talk, our friendly fish keepers will invite you into the shallows as they bring up our large Tawny Nurse Sharks and Whitetip Reef Sharks. Afterwards, you can rinse off under a warm shower and towel down before heading in for a cruise around the gift shop for a large range of sustainable gifts, cute fluffy toys, snacks and cold drinks.

From Sydney: Port Stephens Dolphin Cruise & 4WD Sandboarding

6. From Sydney: Port Stephens Dolphin Cruise & 4WD Sandboarding

Enjoy the scenic drive from Sydney to Nelson Bay. Experience a dolphin watching cruise. Explore and sand board the famous Stockton Sand Dunes at Birubi Beach and visit one of Port Stephens’ wineries. Day Tour includes: Express Premium coach transfers from Sydney to Port Stephens and return Dolphin watching cruise 4WD and sand boarding See the Worlds Largest Coastal moving Sand Dunes at Anna Bay. Visit Port Stephens Winery Complimentary bottled water

Port Stephens: Birubi Beach 4WD Tour with Sandboarding

7. Port Stephens: Birubi Beach 4WD Tour with Sandboarding

After meeting your tour guide at the departure location, you’ll board a red, air-conditioned 4WD vehicle. Enjoy commentary provided throughout the tour onboard the vehicle. The first stop is 2 kilometers down Birubi Beach, where your tour guide will show you how to find and dig for pipis under the sand. Feel free to take photos, and you may even have a chance to see some RAAF fighter jets fly past at low level. After 20 minutes on the beach, you’ll head into the sand dunes to the sandboarding area. Your tour guide will show you how to sandboard correctly, assist with photos, and answer any questions you may have. Slide down the dunes for 45-50 minutes before returning to the departure location.

Port Stephens: Koala Sanctuary General Admission Ticket

8. Port Stephens: Koala Sanctuary General Admission Ticket

Important Note: Construction of a $2M expansion to the Koala Hospital has commenced and will conclude in September / October 2024. There may be some disruptions caused by this construction that could impact your stay with us at the Sanctuary. We plan to, where ever possible, minimise construction impacts to avoid as much inconvenience caused. Spend a few hours or a whole day at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary learning about Australia’s beloved koalas and the threats they face. Walk amongst the beautiful Australian bush and see koalas in their natural environment doing what they do best – sleeping and eating.  Sanctuary Story Walk is a meandering 250-meter pathway offering an immersive educational experience of the koala and its habitat. The koalas at the sanctuary have been brought there for treatment and rehabilitation after injury, with the aim of returning them to the wild if possible. At the Koala Hospital veterinarians care for koalas requiring treatment and general check-ups. The Sanctuary SKYwalk is a 225-meter-long pathway with viewing platforms raised 10 metres into the tree canopy. The unique tree top perspective is a great photo opportunity. You may even find yourself eye-to-eye with a cuddly koala – always remember, look but don’t touch, they are wild animals. Due to the natural setting of Port Stephen’s Koala Sanctuary you may spot echidnas shuffling around on the ground around the walkways. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of an adorable brush tail possum hanging out in a tree hollow as well. After you have experienced all the attractions Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary offers, finish with a visit to Fat Possum Kiosk. Grab a snack, coffee or treat and browse a variety of souvenirs and gifts. Proceeds go towards the continued conservation effort of koalas and their threatened habitat. Visiting Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary entails a round-trip walk of about 1km in length. All pathways and elevated viewing platforms are easily accessible and designed for all ages and abilities. Some limited bench seating is provided along the Sanctuary Story Walk.

Nelson Bay: Port Stephens Island Snorkel Adventure Cruise

9. Nelson Bay: Port Stephens Island Snorkel Adventure Cruise

Don’t miss this stunning Outer Island & Ocean Adventure. Anchoring in a fabulous, secluded location for a snorkel or swim in clear and protected waters Travel onboard the fast 40ft power cat Envision, focusing on a thrilling and fun ride on the water. With a small number of guests your experience will be relaxed, personalised, and crowd-free. Once the cruise arrives at our destination, your experienced guide will introduce you to the islands’ underwater world, fill with wobbegongs, rays, corals, sponges and a variety of fish. If you prefer not to snorkel, you’re welcome to swim in the shallows. Our experienced crew will take you to the best location on the day. Please note - This is an offshore cruise and is not suitable for children under 10 years - This is an offshore excursion and is subject to weather and sea conditions - Must be a competent swimmer for this cruise option

Nelson Bay: 1hr Dolphin Watch Express

10. Nelson Bay: 1hr Dolphin Watch Express

Port Stephens has over 100 Bottlenose Dolphins that reside inside the Bay….on our crowd-free 'Dolphin Watch Express' we'll spend time getting to know these friendly 'locals'. Our vessel, 'Envision' moves through the water quickly, but safely and smoothly - you'll want your camera handy as we cruise along beautiful Shoal Bay, past our iconic Headlands and across to 'Dolphin hot-spot Jimmy's Beach. Relaxed - Personalised - Crowd-Free! Dolphin Guarantee - Free Return if no Dolphins seen during the cruise Chat with our Friendly & Knowledgeable Crew Enjoy 360° viewing Hear some Interesting & Informative Commentary

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What people are saying about Port Stephens

Overall rating

4.6
(588 reviews)

Had a great time with the family learning about the different creatures being cared for at the park, the tours were very educational and the guides helpful and friendly. Would recommend this outing, not too overwhelming.

Really enjoyable. Yan was great and we had a lovely day. Wine tasting was very rushed but it was a nice place - maybe consider cutting it out of the itinerary or extending the stop a bit more.

Great trip and I was most impressed with the care taken to let the dolphins do what they wanted without influencing their actions.

It was lots of fun - we only lasted just under an hour though as such a hot morning!

Very thorough and totally worth the money, really enjoyed the experience