Port Stephens beaches

  • Zenith beach, Image Hamilton Lund

  • Bennetts Beach, Hawks Nest, Image James Pipino

  • Snorkelling at Nelson Bay, Image James Pipino

  • Skimboarding at Fingal Bay, Image Hamilton Lund

  • Little Beach Marina at Nelson Bay, Image Hamilton Lund

Fast facts

  • An aquatic paradise, with dramatic headlands and lookouts, and an action-packed activities list that stretches from the sea to the sand, from the bays to the bushland
  • 215 km north of Sydney on the North Coast

Why go there

Port Stephens has 26 superb beaches dotted around the bay that start at merely fabulous and then run right off the meter. Protected by the enveloping arms of the bay, there are calm, safe beaches such as Fingal and Shoal Bay that are tailored for family fun. Head outside the shelter of the bay and you’ll find wonders such as One Mile Beach with its booming surf.

Further south is Stockton Beach and the country’s largest coastal dune system, stretching for more than 30 km to the northern outskirts of Newcastle.

What lies below the waves is just as fabulous. Just east of Nelson Bay, Little Beach ends at the tiny promontory of Fly Point. So prolific is the marine life here that the area has been declared an aquatic reserve.

The main feature of the Fly Point-Halifax Park Aquatic Reserve is a 100 metre sponge-covered ledge at a depth of 10 to 15 metres with schools of bream, nannigai and blue groper. Walk to the end of Nelson Bay, step off the beach and you're there.

Divers have another superb site just off the coast at Broughton Island, with such outstanding features as the “Looking Glass”, a split that runs through the middle of the island, crowded with marine life.

Don’t miss

  • Dune buggies, quad biking, horse-riding, camel treks or dune tobogganing at Stockton Sand Dunes.
  • Crystal clear waters of Nelson Bay and Broughton Island for diving.
  • A dolphin cruise with one of the local operators.
  • The quaint Nelson Bay to Hawks Nest ferry across the bay.
  • The waves at One Mile Beach with Anna Bay Surfschool.
  • Koalas at the southern end of One Mile Beach.
  • The views from the reserve at Nelson Head Lighthouse.
  • Local oysters, fresh from the bay.