School Holiday Activities

Download the 21/22 summer guide courtesy of What's On In Our Backyard.

1. Dolphin and Whale Cruising
Port Stephens is rightly regarded as the dolphin capital of Australia. With over 120 bottlenose dolphins calling Port Stephens home, it’s no wonder they’re sighted so often. Joining a cruise is easy Click here to book online. 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 33,000 whales, mostly Humpbacks pass within a few miles and a whale watching cruise is an unforgettable experience. Click here for detailed information on their journey, sightings and great places to view from land. 

2. Sand Dunes
Here’s a high adrenaline adventure you’ll be talking about for weeks. Sandboarding 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 lies within on a 4WD Tour or ride your own Quad Bike, taking you over the dunes to explore a place you will never forget. Click here to book online.

3. Animal Adventures
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 Wildlife Park, 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. Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary has partnered with Port Stephens Koalas to provide a unique opportunity to see these beautiful creatures. Enjoy koala tours and talks, pass by the koala hospital and get up close in their natural habitat via the Newcastle Airport SKYwalk and viewing platform, an elevated treetop canopy boardwalk and observation platform.   

4. 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. When your finished just up the road an exciting experience awaits where children and adults of any age can hand feed, pat and play with some of the most awesome creatures in the world, Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters, an experience you will never forget.

5. Tomaree Mountain
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 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. Escape Trekking can you guide you up the summit and when you reach to top enjoy a tasting plate and watch the sun go down or for the early risers a sunrise tour. 

6. 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 ride. For something a bit different and unique, a camel ride is for you with Oakfield Ranch. You can Book online here.

7. Fighterworld
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.

8. Movies
A theatre complex for all cinema 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. 

9. 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? Port Stephens Surf School have the perfect beaches and instructors to do learn, but if you would rather the calm waters of Shoal Bay Beach, paddleboarding with Shoal Bay SUP is the way to go. Guided kayak tour the waters of Port Stephens and you never know if or when the local dolphins might show up to swim next to you. Port Stephens Paddlesports are here to help you get out there and experience the wonder and wildlife.

10. Hire a Bike or Scooter
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 waterviews from Bagnalls Beach to Dutchies Beach to Nelson Bay, some shaded riding through bush, reserves and plenty of parks, playgrounds and cafes along the way. Shoal Bay Bike Hire offers easy to ride bikes that will easily transport you around the area up and over the gentle hills along the bay, or pick one up 24/7 from Boomerang Bikes at the Port Stephens Visitor Information Centre, Nelson Bay. Bay Scoot & Wheels hires scooters, motorbikes and cars.

*Current as of December 2021.