Walking Trails

The Tomaree National Park encompasses coastal bushland, sand dunes, heathland, forests, over 20 kilometres of dramatic rocky coastline and stunning, white, sandy beaches.

Whatever you do don’t miss the Tomaree Head Summit walk. It’s not difficult and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over Port Stephens, the surrounding coast as well as Broughton, Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah Island nature reserves. While you’re there, check out the historic gun emplacements, part of Fort Tomaree built in 1941 as part of Australia’s World War II east coast defence system.

Enjoy one of the many walking trails in Port Stephens.

DOWNLOAD Bushwalks around Port Stephens

Fort Tomaree Walk

This easy walk on a paved track around the lower slopes of Tomaree Head brings you face-to-face with local military heritage – World War II Gun emplacements, built in 1941 to defend the east coast of Australia. Learn about Fort Tomaree from interpretive signs, or take a guided Discovery tour for even more detail. A further track takes you up elevated walkways on Tomaree Head Summit walk, which offers breathtaking lookout views over Port Stephens and nature reserves like Cabbage Tree Island. Humpbacks migrate past here in winter and spring, so you’ll want to bring your camera for whale watching. Finish your visit by relaxing on the lovely sands of beautiful Zenith Beach, near where the walk begins. Or make your way to the nearby picnic area; an idyllic spot to unwind underneath the shade of angophora trees.

Directions: start at the Zenith Beach carpark and follow the paved track.

Important info

Distance: 1km (one-way)
Time suggested:30 minutes each way
Difficulty: Medium difficulty

You should know:

  • There are some steep sections and pavement can become slippery when wet, so use caution when walking
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch / whale watch
  • A toilet is available at the boat ramp, a two minute walk from the track entry back towards Shoal Bay
  • Zenith Beach is a sanctuary zone, meaning no collecting or fishing is permitted.

Tomaree Head Summit Walk

Take the invigorating short walk to the summit of Tomaree Head, 161m above the Port Stephens entrance. As you hike the track, you’ll enjoy unparalleled views of idyllic Port Stephens and its coastline. From the top, you can even see as far as Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands – these nature reserves are the world’s only nesting sites for the endangered Gould's petrel. When you reach the summit, the panoramic north coast views are bound to impress. Be sure to check out the historic World War II gun emplacements; you can even take a guided Discovery tour. Take your binoculars as you might be lucky to see some dolphins. There’s a picnic table at the lookout, so if you have time, take a picnic lunch or some morning tea to enjoy as you take in the view. On the way back down, don’t forget to try Fort Tomaree walk.

Directions: from Nelson Bay follow the Shoal Bay Road to the start of the walk at the Zenith Beach carpark; follow the path to the summit which is paved in parts.

Important info

Distance: 1km (one-way)
Time suggested:45 minutes each way
Difficulty: Medium difficulty

You should know:

  • It’s a good idea to put sunscreen on before you set out and remember to take a hat and plenty of drinking water
  • Wear sturdy shoes and take care along the steep sections on this walk as well as paved areas that can become slippery when wet
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to whale watch – the best time of year is between May and October
  • Toilet facilities are available at the boat ramp back towards Shoal Bay, a two-minute walk from the track entry
  • Zenith Beach at the start of this walk is a sanctuary zone within Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park – please note that collecting or fishing is not permitted within this zone

Wreck Beach Walk

If you’re looking for a peaceful spot to soak up the serene marine splendour of Port Stephens, do the easy walk to Wreck Beach - tucked away behind the houses at Shoal Bay and visible from the majestic lookout at Tomaree Head summit.

From Verona Road, follow the track uphill and onto the fire trail which eventually takes you onto Wreck Beach walk. Walking through this lush coastal angophora forest leads onto a small cove, with beautiful sand and open views of the ocean, which is perfect for seasonal whale watching. You might even spot a bottlenose dolphin frolicking with their calf in summer. You’ll feel great as you walk barefoot along the beach as the water laps at your feet. When you’re finished, settle down in a relaxing picnic spot and enjoy the solitude of one Port Stephens’ best kept secrets. This beach is not patrolled and may have strong currents or rips, so be careful if you go in the water.

Directions: a small track from Verona Road or Lionel Avenue takes you up the hill where you turn right at the T-intersection and then left onto the Wreck Beach fire trail.

Important info

Distance: 1km (one-way)
Time suggested:20 minutes each way
Difficulty: Medium difficulty

You should know:

  • It’s a good idea to put sunscreen on before you set out and remember to take a hat
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to whale watch
  • Strong rips and currents may be present at Wreck Beach, which is not patrolled – take care in the water and please supervise children at all times
  • Wreck Beach is a sanctuary zone

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