What to do in Port Stephens in winter: Beaches, coffee, wine and whales.

It's one of those ridiculously good-looking blue-sky winter days that seem to scream to the world "look how mild Australia's winters are!". As we stand on a rocky headland overlooking the Pacific Ocean, we spot a whale and its calf. Moments later we see another, and then another; their distinctive spouts alerting us to their presence. Excitedly, we rush inside our beach house at Fishermans Bay, little realising the show has only just begun. 

Inside, the chic three-bedroom house looks out over an uninterrupted vista of sea, broken only by explosive surf breaks that pummel into the headland. As we explore our new abode, wandering from room to room, we cannot escape the whales – slapping their fins, streams of warm air puncturing the sky, occasionally breaching in a "look at me" kind of way. By sunset we've clocked at least 40 whales and haven't had to venture further than the 100-square-metre deck. It's like having dress circle seats along the humpback highway.

We arrived at our beach house, WHATAVIEW", 14 Ocean Street, Fishermans Bay via Lemon Tree Passage on the premise of experiencing Port Stephens in winter. Located 2½ hours north of Sydney, Port Stephens offers old school holidays reminiscent  of simpler times. Generations of Australians come for its natural beauty, abundant wildlife, oysters by the bay, safe swimming beaches and deep blue waters home to dolphins, and this season, whales in their thousands. 

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