Winter is both the season and the reason to get moving on your must-do, destination-adventure list and experience the fun and adrenaline that Port Stephens has to offer.
Here are our top ten activities that you must conquer this winter.
1. Track a Humpback
Feel the rush of coming alongside a breaching 40 tonne Humpback on a Discovery Cruise during the great migration this Winter. Or have breakfast with the whales from the unique vantage point of Crest Café, right on Birubi Beach, where the acrobatics of goliath whales, slapping their tails and breaching just off the beach is the free breakfast show! Some 25,000 whales head North along the Port Stephens coastline, on a 12,000km migration to warmer Queensland waters, between May and August; returning South with calves from August to November.
2. Conquer the World's largest moving sand dunes on a 400cc,2 stroke quad bike to really get the adrenalin going
Hit the shifting sands of Stockton Bight at full throttle and send sand flying. Go high and hit the flat top of dunes up to 30m tall for 360 views, clear to the ocean. Then catapult down slopes of up to 60 degrees! With 32km of dunes to let loose in on a quad. you can carve your own tracks and spill into donuts and fishtails. Enjoy an exhilarating ride and gain insight to local indigenous culture with Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council guides.
3. Break away from the bitumen on a sandboarding safari
Adventure begins with tackling the larger-than-life lunar landscape of Worimi Conservation Lands in a purpose-built Hummer or Coaster, before surfing down steep slopes on a sandboard.
Power along 32km of pristine beaches. Then head into the heart of undulating dunes where Tin City appears like a mirage in the endless sands - an un-tamed, off-the-grid settlement of beach shacks, made famous by the movie Mad Max. Thrillseekers can catapult down peaks of 40m to their heart’s content, enjoying spectacular ocean views from every rise.
4. Explore a 98,000-hectare marine Sanctuary by sea kayak
Push the boundaries with a sea kayak discovery, exploring crystal waters teaming with marine life. Traversing one of the World’s most magnificent marine parks, you can anticipate close encounters with wild bottlenose dolphins, green sea turtles and rare species not found anywhere else. Discover colonies of penguin and seals on the craggy outcrops of the headland and off-shore islands and on the home-stretch, enjoy a spectacular sunset reflected in the waters.
5. Cross a seaside sahara by camel caravan
Camels first came through Australian ports back in the 1800’s for the ill-fated Wills & Burke expedition. 20,000 were ultimately introduced for a vast network of camel train routes, criss-crossing inland Australia. At Port Stephens you can venture into the heart of sand dunes that stretch for as far as the eye can see on camel-back. Experience a sense of desert-solitude as you make your way down to the sea with the camel caravan for sunset over the ocean.
6. Take a wild ride down wilderness mountain-bike trails and cap it off with coffee on the coast
Try a guided mountain bike adventure for a customised cycling experience of the Port, put together with local savvy, or go your own way with a choice of some 160 coastal rides and wilderness trails to work with. Explore challenging bush terrain on sandy trails through National Park with log jumps and downhill rainforest runs. Set off on a long-ride along the coast, linking the villages of Port Stephens, with spectacular vistas and plenty of picturesque refreshment stops along the way; from beachfront coffee-bars to lighthouse tea rooms.
7. Trek to Tomaree Head Summit for a birds-eye view of the whale migration in a blue-water wonderland
One of the most rewarding winter walks, among the endless bush tracks and trails that wind their way through the Port Stephens wilderness. Tomaree Head Summit Walk takes a steadily ascending, scenic route to viewing platforms suspended 161m above the port entrance.It's a magnificent vantage point for viewing the great whale migration and appreciating the spectacular natural landscape. The mountain was critical to military defense of coal-rich Port Stephens during WW11 and a detour on your descent, to the Fort Tomaree Walk, winds through the ruins of military gun emplacements, for a fascinating glimpse of local history.
8. Take on a Mako or land a Blue Marlin, game fishing the outer waters of a World class fishing destination
Home to an annual deep-sea fishing tournament, the craggy coastline and off-shore reefs of Port Stephens offer some of the best game fishing on the east coast. Fish the Continental Shelf where Yellow Fin, Albacore, Blue Marlin and Mako,are all top the list during Winter. Any angler can find adventure and fish like a pro in the hands of expert local deep sea fishing charter operators.
On-shore, keen fishermen are spoilt for choice, with 32km of beachfront and rocky outcrops with deep-water frontage, all the way along the Port Stephens peninsula.
9. Wild golfing bush courses by the sea
Winter stay and play packages give you the freedom to go wild golfing, with access to several of the 22 unsurpassed coastal courses of Port Stephens. At Nelson Bay’s sand-based, par 72 bush course by the sea, you can finish up with Wild Kangaroo Encounters; or enjoy the challenges and rewards of a world-class course and resort, set in spectacular wetlands, at Horizons. Another challenging championship course at Pacific Dunes features a front nine that wind through woodlands with the back nine holes in wetlands; while the all-weather, easy-walking treasure of the Tilligerry Peninsula is to be found at Tanilba Bay. At Raymond Terrace, ancient tallawoods and resident koalas line picturesque fairways – in contrast to the wild bush setting and tricky undulating greens of Karuah Golf Club.
10. Thrill to a hi-speed ride
Get behind the wheel of the one of the fastest European 4-stroke karts, on the biggest outdoor track this side of Eastern Creek! Made to thrill, Go-Kart-Go’s state-of-the-art RIMO Alpha Karts travel up to 60km/h on the straights, with some tricky turns and corners to keep you on your toes. The Senior Karts can go even faster; up to 70km/h – the full F1 experience that makes for a fun family day out this winter. Equally exciting is a high-speed, winding ride on Tobbogan Hill Park’s 1km Toboggan run, through bushland surrounds, at Salamander Bay.