Yes, Port Stephens is known as the blue water paradise and popular with beachgoers in summer, but it’s also the go-to destination in winter to see humpback whales and enjoy the great outdoors.
“There is nothing worse than hibernating at home driving each other mad over winter,” says Pip Sutton, Business Development Coordinator at Port Stephens Accommodation. “It is not good for the soul!” she adds. And she should know, as oodles of people looking for a comfy winter getaway head to Port Stephens Accommodation.
They’ve been managing holiday rentals in Port Stephens for more than 30 years, offering the best locations, facilities, and prices… and know the region well. So we asked Pip for her top ten tips for planning a Port Stephens winter escape.
- Be prepared to be outdoors. Port Stephens is all about nature, so bring a jacket, scarf, beanie and some comfortable shoes and get out and about!
- We have some of the best land-based whale watching spots on the east coast. Boat Harbour or Fingal Bay are perfect, if you have binoculars then even better. Humpback whales migrate north past Port Stephens from May to August and then head back to the Antarctic from September to November. They love frolicking in our waters so you’re certain to spot some and get a great shot to post on Instagram.
- If you want to get up close to the humpback whales join a whale watching cruise, with multiple departures daily.
- A walk to the top of Tomaree Headland is a must for anyone with even a moderate level of fitness. Allow about 45 minutes and follow the track to the top for panoramic views up and down the coast and of the Harbour (you might even see some whales from here).
- If you love fishing, you’re spoilt for choice with plenty of great fishing spots including beach, rock, estuary and offshore fishing with several charter fishing boat companies and safaris. Local fisherman recommend Fingal Beach and Bagnalls Beach for whiting, Shoal Bay Beach for flathead and Nelson Bay Breakwall for bream, snapper and mulloway.
- If you’re not willing to brave the water you can tee off at our golf course or bring your bike and enjoy a scenic ride along the beautiful bay. There’s a huge network of cycleways from the one-hour Corlette to Bagnalls Beach or Halifax Beach to Nelson Bay Lighthouse rides, but if your legs want a real workout, take the two-hour Shoal Bay to Tomaree Point trail or four-hour Fingal Bay via Shoal Bay and Tomaree! Don’t want to bring the bike? No worries, you can hire one through Bay Bike Hire, Shoal Bay Bike Hire or Boomerang Bikes.
- Another great winter activity for all the family is exploring the Stockton Sand Dunes, the largest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. You can take an organised tour, go sandboarding down the massive dunes or go quad biking along the 32km stretch of sand.
- Winter provides great value for money to visit Port Stephens and it is a little less manic as experience in summer with the joustling crowds of summer. You will have the beach to yourself, the pick of cafes and restaurants, no need to book days ahead for activities.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. We actually see mainly crisp, clear days over winter. If you are looking for a weekend away then wait until we have sun forecast and make a booking (over winter there is usually last-minute accommodation available and you can currently stay with Port Stephens Accommodation for two nights and pay just $20 for your third night).
- Source accommodation with a good outlook, so that you can have some relaxation with a book, a newspaper, a cup of coffee or even a glass of wine overlooking the water at sunset.
Whether you’re looking for a ritzy rental beside the bay or want to book a budget stay, Port Stephens Accommodation can deliver with more than 200 properties to choose from. It’s easy to browse through the portfolio of properties on the website and see the all-inclusive tariffs with bookings available 24/7.