Looking for something fun to do these school holidays? Port Stephens is the perfect school holiday destination, with plenty of activities to suit the fussiest five-year-old, budding photographer or the adventurous. Help form a humongous human Humpback, create your own bird feeder, tackle one of our many cycle trails or capture the best nature shot in Port Stephens to win a fantastic Shutterfest prize. Here is our list of top activities for this July school holidays in Port Stephens.
With Tomaree National Park, the Worimi Conservation Lands (encompassing the monumental Stockton Bight Sand Dunes) and a marine park covering 98,000 hectares... it’s little wonder we attract so many nature lovers to the region. Take a Marine Park day cruise to see our resident dolphins and between May and November be amazed by the passing parade of migrating Humpback whales - a magnificent sight. See koalas in their natural habitat, pat a kangaroo, take a coastal walk, discover scenic mountain bike trails, or climb Tomaree headland and be rewarded with a spectacular view! This is nature's playground so let’s celebrate all things Mother Nature…
We still have plenty of activities happening during the final weeks to coincide with the School Holidays...
- Children's Day @ Hunter Region Botanic Gardens - July 4
- Wild About Whales @ Tomaree Crescent, Boat Harbour - July 4
- Ocean & Coastal Care Initiative Marine Life Displays - July 5
- Myall River Guided Kayak Tours with Lazy Paddles - July 6 & 13
- Sunrise Photography Cruise with Moonshadow TQC Cruises - July 8
- Tilligerry Habitat Koala Open Day - July 9
- Nature is Fun @ Hunter Region Botanic Gardens - July 12
- The Human Whale @ Fingal Beach - July 15
Collect the full Naturefest program from the Port Stephens Visitor Information Centre or download here
As part of the Naturefet program on Saturday 15th July, the human Humpback makes a comeback… at an all new location! Come and get some porpoise in your life and join our World Record attempt to create the biggest human humpback as we celebrate Naturefest and the annual whale watching season. Join all the fun as the mammoth mammal takes shape on the sand of Fingal Beach. Registration is from 10am – 12noon in the reserve at Fingal Bay with the formation at 12noon on the beach.
A FREE shuttle departing every 30mins between 9am - 11am from D’Albora Marina, Nelson Bay CBD & Shoal Bay.
Shutterfest Photography Competition
2016 Entry - Serena Stubbs - "One Mile Magic"
Be it by camera, smartphone or GoPro Shutterfest is your chance to capture a winning moment of natural wonder at Port Stephens. These school holidays, break away from the TV and tablet. Go outdoors and get creative with your camera, to win great prizes in Shutterfest – a free photographic competition and highlight of Naturefest, Port Stephens. Naturefest is Port Stephens’ annual celebration of the region’s abundant natural assets and from June 1 until July 16, holidaymakers and keen photographers are encouraged to put forward their favourite photo of local
wildlife, landscapes, and seascapes, for Shutterfest. Below are some of the great images we have received so far... Entry and we will add your photo to the gallery.
Dolphin and Whale Watching
Port Stephens is rightly regarded as the dolphin capital of Australia. With over 150 bottlenose dolphins calling Port Stephens home, it’s no wonder they’re sighted so often. So grab your camera, and your swimmers too as most vessels have a boom net where you can get wet and have an exciting ride. From May to November you can witness the awe-inspiring antics of the whales as they pass along our coast. Over 25,000 whales, mostly Humpbacks pass hundred's of metres of shoreline, with whale watching cruises providing that upclose and unforgettable experience.
Here’s a high adrenaline adventure you’ll be talking about for weeks. Sand boarding on the Stockton Sand Dunes is a great experience for the whole family and many tours depart regularly. Feel the wind in your hair, but don’t forget to keep your mouth shut! Stockton Bight has a special cultural significance to the Worimi people because it contains a large amount of cultural history. Discover more about the dunes and what lines within on a 4WD tour or ride your own quad bike, taking you over the dunes to explore a place you will never forget.
Get up close and personal with cuddly farm animals and Australian wildlife, bottle feed baby animals, hand milk cows, pat koalas, and more at Oakvale Farm and Fauna World, otherwise get back to nature, and take an organised guided walk with Tilligerry Habitat and look for koalas in their natural habitat, or maybe saddling up for a riding adventure on camel or horseback sounds like you.
For the Thrill
If its adrenaline your after Toboggan Hill Park has it, take a challenge on the 1 km Toboggan Run reaching speeds up to 50kph which will keep you wanting more, rock climbing offers easy and challenging walls for all ages and lots more. Race around a 350m track with fast straights at Go Karts Go, the biggest fastest and most exciting go-kart hire track, perfect for ages 3 years and up. When your finished just up the road an exciting experience awaits. Children and adults of any age can hand feed, pat and play with some of the most awesome creatures in the world, Sharks and Rays at Irakunji Shark & Ray Centre - an experience you will never forget.
Tomaree Summit is a walk well worth the effort. The view at the top overlooking all of Port Stephens is truly breathtaking. Tomaree National Park provides a magnificent backdrop to the coastal towns and villages of Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay, Boat Harbour and Anna Bay.Keep your eyes out for koalas dozing high in the trees. If you’re interested in Australian military history, make sure you take the short walk along Fort Tomaree walk to Tomaree Head and the World War II gun emplacements. The headland, part of Fort Tomaree, played an important role in Australia’s east coast defence system during World War II. Most of the Fort’s buildings and guns have been removed; however, the historic gun emplacements remain. It’s easy to see why this location was chosen – the headland features panoramic views of Port Stephens and the coast.
Horse and Camel Riding
Experience the peace and tranquility of our beautiful surrounds here on horseback with Sahara Trails. Enjoy one of the scenic guided trails or amazing beach rides with the beach and dune extravaganza, definitely a memorable experience for the whole family from the absolute beginner to the most experienced riders. For something a bit different and unique, a camel ride is for you with Oakfield Ranch.
Be a Top Gun
Imagine the kids delight when they get the opportunity to sit inside the cockpit of a Mirage Fighter or Macchi jet trainer and imagine what it must be like to command one of these great machines. Fighterworld is a totally "hands on" experience, visitors can walk around, touch and peer into the cockpits of Mirage fighters, a Sabre, the Gloster Meteor and the first Vampire jet built in Australia. Fighter World has an observation deck, good disabled access and a cafe for snacks, lunch, and coffee. Also, a great spot to catch a glimpse of RAAF jets taking off and landing and you could be lucky to see them in action up above.
A cinema complex for all movie fanatics. What a better way to spend a cold wintery or rainy day. Nelson Bay Cinemas, located in the heart of Nelson Bay with 3 cinemas, the latest technology and a candy bar where you can grab the ever-popular popcorn and choc top.
Surfing, Kayaking, SUPing and Putt Putt
Feeling sporty? Grab a surfboard or a golf stick, family fun for everyone. Putt-Putt offers a 20 hole course fully undercover and lit for night golf, a 260m driving range and par 3 golf course and an outdoor baseball pitching machine, definitely, enough to keep the kids amused. You can hire all the equipment and BBQ facilities are available. Wanting to learn to surf, we have the perfect beaches to do that.
Hire a Bike
What a great way to discover the area. Port Stephens is great for cyclists and bike riders from serious mountain bikers right through to families who enjoy a safe and scenic bike ride. A Port Stephens bike ride offers amazing views and very little traffic. From Salamander Bay right through to Fingal Bay pass some spectacular water views from Bagnalls Beach to Dutchies Beach to Nelson Bay, some shaded riding through the bush, reserves and plenty of parks, playgrounds, and cafes along the way. Guided tours a fantastic way to see the best of Port Stephens. BOOK HERE.
With so much on offer, you will have to stay overnight or two... We have some great family friend accommodation options available, read more here