48 Hours in… Port Stephens Edition

When winter rolls in it’s all too easy to rug up and hide away! This year, fight the urge to live through your Instagram feed, you won’t even need to venture far. Enter, Port Stephens! Mostly associated with sunny weather and surfing, it’s packed with spots that are perfect for chilly days too.

We’ve thrown together some handy little recommendations for you to make the most of your 48 hours in Port Stephens. Not to mention, you can rest your pretty little head at Port Stephens YHA when you’re all adventured out.



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dannielle Cowderoy (@danniellecowderoy) on

  • Stroll along Wreck Beach - There are 26 beaches in Port Stephens, so it’s never difficult to find a stretch of sand to call yours for a few hours. Whilst many are well-known to locals and visitors, others are harder to find and don’t attract as many weekend crowds. One of these little gems is Wreck Bay, a glorious little spot just behind Shoal Bay. To get there, take the Wreck Beach Walk, a one kilometre trek through coastal forest. Once you’re on the sand, you know you’ve reached Wreck Beach!

  • Shop Locally at Sacred Tree Markets - Port Stephens’ extraordinary natural beauty is a magnet for artists, makers and designers alike. Every now and then, they gather on the shores of Nelson Bay for Sacred Tree Markets. With more than 80 stalls, giving you the prime chance to peruse jewellery, artworks, beautiful objects, local produce and more – all backdropped by the stunning water. There’s also live performances, from singer-songwriters and bands, as well as an array of cultural displays.

  • Views from Gan Gan Lookout - Firstly, this lookout doesn’t require a mega trek and athlete stamina! You just need enough energy to shut the car door and walk a few steps. Standing 160 metres high, the views from Gan Gan Hill are pretty special. From this nifty little spot you’ll see Port Stephens, Soldiers Point, Hawks Nest, Tomaree Mountain, it’s all there.



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Park Core (@theparkcore) on

  • Set sail to watch for Whales - Between May and October each year, thousands of humpback whales swim along Australia’s East Coast and one of the best places to watch them just so happens to be beautiful Port Stephens. Climb aboard a tour to spend hours cruising the waters and watching for the whales to appear.

  • Sand dune surfing - If you drive 15 minutes towards Anna Bay, you’ll soon find these massive, white sand dunes. Whilst you’re not in the desert – it will certainly feel that way! Port Stephens is home to the largest sand dune formation in the southern hemisphere, the Stockton White Sand Dunes. Perhaps, spend the day sandboarding Sahara desert style?

  • Camel ride along the beach - Easily the quirkiest experience in Port Stephens is camel riding! Offering daytime camel rides across giant sand dunes or afternoon trips that leave just before dusk so everyone can witness the gorgeous sunset over Anna Bay. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped right back in time!



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Little Nel (@thelittlenel) on

  • Breakfast at The Little Nel - If you’re gonna grab a bite to eat anywhere in Port Stephens, do yourself a favour and have breaky at The Little Nel! The local favourite has coffee beans from cult Newcastle roasters, and the breakfast and lunch menus are packed with fresh, local ingredients. Try the garlic mushrooms with baby spinach, creamy feta, basil pesto and artisanal sourdough, or the buttermilk pancake stack drizzled with passionfruit curd and prettied up with a rainbow of fruit. Whatever you order, it’s bound to be a real treat!

  • Experience Bub’s Fish n Chips - The legendary, award-winning, fish market serves the best fish n chips in town, not to mention local trawlers unload fresh seafood into the shop daily. Whilst enjoying their Thai fish cakes, salmon steaks or a big bay seafood platter, sit and enjoy the hustle and bustle all around the bay.

  • Afternoon drinks at Murray’s Brewery - There’s beer and wine tasting, live music and a café style menu with a very large and unforgiving cheese platter (highly recommend). Including staples like Whale Ale and Moon Boy Golden Ale which have replaced mainstream beers - every week, a new left of the field beverage emerges. Previous hits have included passionfruit white beer, Easter egg beer and pumpkin ale.

  • Dinner at Little Beach Boathouse - Located on the coast, it’s no surprise that seafood is popular around here. If you’re after something a little fancier than fish n chips on the beach, the only name you need to know is Little Beach Boathouse. Perched at Little Beach, this place is schmick and so is the food! Try the local oysters, the Spring Bay mussels, the Hervey Bay scallops or the house-cured Atlantic salmon – all winners.


So what are you waiting for? Head to Port Stephens already.

    Sign up to YHA Australia

    Get monthly inspiration for your next adventure in Australia.

    Samurai Beach Bungalows (Port Stephens)
    Samurai Beach Bungalows (Port Stephens)
    Gorgeous beaches, lush bushland, stunning bay and sea views and a great chill-out spot - that's Port Stephens and its award-winning YHA.

YHA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to the elders, past and present, and the extended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We recognise their custodianship of the land, sea, & water for over 60,000 years.

YHA Australia is a proud member of Hostelling International - a network of more than 3,000 hostels across 59 countries that share the mission of making travel more sustainable & accessible.