Insiders Guide: The Best Beaches in and around Port Stephens

36 days ago

Whether you’re looking to catch a wave, get off the beaten track, go for a 4WD drive or fancy a beach day with the family, there’s a beautiful beach waiting for you at every turn in Port Stephens.

With up to 26 beaches to choose from, it’s a traveller’s dream! To help you make the most of your time in the region, we’ve created this handy guide on the best beaches in Port Stephens. Keep reading to find your perfect sandy spot!


Fun for the Family

one mile beach port stephens

Credit: Jarryd Salem


It’s always advisable to swim at a lifeguard-patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags, especially if you’re with children or not a strong swimmer.

Luckily, there are plenty of patrolled beaches in Port Stephens to spend the day. Check out the quiet surfing neighbourhoods One Mile Beach, Birubi Beach, Fingal Bay Beach, and Anna Bay - the entry point to Stockton Bight Sand Dunes.

One Mile Beach is one of the most popular patrolled surf beaches in Port Stephens. Stretching for a mile long (hence the name!), the pristine white sandy beach is perfect for both families and surfers. More on surfing later.


Not just a fantastic swimming and surfing beach, Birubi Beach is also the hub for the region’s renowned sand dune activities. Day and sunset Camel rides run by Oakfield Ranch depart from here and is also a good 4WDing spot! Check out Crest Birubi Beach for a delicious breakfast or lunch, with a side of beautiful beachfront views. 

The idyllic holidaying spot that is Fingal Bay Beach boasts lots of facilities, including BBQ and picnic spots, awesome lookouts and nearby cafes, restaurants and accommodation. It’s easy to see why this relaxed bay is a favourite with families and holidaymakers. Staying in the area for a few days? Why not check-in at the convenient and affordable beachfront Seaside Holiday Resort?


Coastal Pockets

corlette beach port stephens

Those looking to spend some time at one of the many quieter sheltered beaches in Port Stephens, Corlette, Fly Point and Dutchman’s Bay Beach should not be missed.

Home to a beautiful bay, Corlette Beach is perfect for a lazy afternoon dip. While in the neighbourhood, take a stroll around the headland - with picnic areas and playgrounds dotted along the water’s edge - there’s plenty to keep you busy. Fancy a drink? Keep walking and enjoy a sundowner or a bite to eat at the nearby Anchorage.

Walk or cycle from Corlette Beach and stumble across Dutchman’s Bay Beach (otherwise known as the beloved “Dutchie’s Beach”). A beautiful quiet spot in Nelson Bay with calm water swimming, grassy areas for picnics and BBQ facilities and a children’s playground, this secluded spot is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle.


Another gem in Nelson Bay is Fly Point. A favourite amongst visitors and locals, it is also a perfect spot for snorkelling and diving due to the abundance of sea life and lush underwater gardens. Wade out in the protected aquatic reserve and dive under for a chance to see tropical fish, octopus, sea slugs, colourful coral and much more.


Surf’s Up 

birubi beach port stephens

Credit: Destination NSW


Learning to surf? You’ve come to the right place! Port Stephens has plenty of surf beaches that are great for pros and beginners alike. Port Stephens Surf School can help you find your feet, providing friendly and professional private and group surfing lessons at the three most popular surf beaches - One Mile Beach, Birubi Beach and Fingal Bay Beach.

Not just for beginners, Birubi Beach is home to many renowned surfing competitions including Surfing NSW and the World Surf League’s NSW Pro Surf Series and Surfest’s Burton Automotive Pro Junior, acknowledging the beaches in Port Stephens are some of the best surfing spots in New South Wales. 


Alternatively, take advantage of the long stretch of beach and clean waves on offer at One Mile Beach. With plenty of nearby accommodation options and attractions on the doorstep, it’s the perfect place to stay a while.

Or head to Fingal Bay Beach - a hub for watersports, this patrolled beach is one of the most popular surf spots. With lots of onshore activities and food options, there’s plenty to keep you busy for the day and into the evening. 


Hidden Gems

fingal island port stephens

Credit: Destination NSW


There are plenty of beaches in Port Stephens that offer something a bit different, whether it be beautiful rock pools, secluded beaches surrounded by bushland, pristine islands or clothing-optional beaches.

Exercise caution when accessing any off-the-beaten-track and unpatrolled beaches, check the tide and weather forecast, and always swim with a friend.

If exploring natural rock pools is your jam, head to the neighbourhood of Boat Harbour and you won’t be disappointed.


Are you someone who wants to earn that ocean swim or just love a walk? Hiking the Tomaree Coastal Walk is a must. Hike the famous Tomaree Head Summit Walk for spectacular views over some of the most beautiful beaches in Port Stephens including Zenith, Wreck and Box Beaches. At the base of Tomaree Head is Zenith Beach. Part of the Tomaree Coastal Walk and framed by rugged and rocky headlands, Zenith Beach is only accessible by foot and is one of the most photographed beaches in Port Stephens.

Looking for a bit of privacy where one might be able to embrace oneself fully with nature? Just north of One Mile Beach is the clothing-optional beach of Samurai Beach. Only accessible by 4WD, this beach is wild, wonderful and secluded.

For those fancying a bit more of an island adventure, head to Fingal Island or Broughton Island for an unparalleled beach experience.


Fingal Island is accessible by boat from Nelson Bay, and is home to Point Stephens Lighthouse, rugged coastal scenery and secluded swimming spots. It is extremely dangerous and inadvisable to cross the Fingal Island sand spit to get to Fingal Island and therefore, the best way to experience the island is through AquaMarine Adventure’s renowned local tour.

Explore the rugged coastline and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of Broughton Island for a day, or even camp overnight! Part of the Myall Lakes National Park, booking for camping is essential. The island is accessible by boat and tours from Moonshadow-TQC Cruises are only available on specific dates, so plan accordingly!


Go for a drive 

sand dune adventures port stephens

Credit: Destination NSW


This wouldn’t be a go-to guide to the best beaches in Port Stephens if we didn’t hold a candle to the largest beach in the area. We’re talking about Stockton Beach, home to the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes of course!

Located in the Worimi Conservation Lands, the beach is an impressive 32 km long, ending in Anna Bay. A gateway to the famous Stockton Bight Sand Dunes, the sandy stretch provides four-wheel drive access to over 350 hectares of dune driving (one of the largest coastal dune driving areas in NSW). You will need to purchase a 4WD Beach Permit in advance.

No 4WD? No dramas. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the largest moving coastal dunes in the southern hemisphere, with many local tour operators such as 4WD Tag-Along & Passenger Tours, Sand Dune Adventures and Port Stephens 4WD Tours offering wild and mild activities such as 4WD tours, quad bikes and camel rides.


Thinking of making a weekend of it or wanting to extend your stay? With so much to do and see, we don’t blame you.

Find out more about the range of budget-friendly and premium accommodation options on offer. From luxury stays, resorts and rainforest retreats to beachside villas and family-friendly holiday parks, you’re in for a treat!

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