The popular tourist region of Port Stephens is located about an hour north of Newcastle, or 2.5 hours north of Sydney. Port Stephens is a popular destination for families, couples and retirees – particularly those who appreciate the easy drive from both Sydney and Newcastle. The area offers some spectacular natural beauty, with a bay twice the size of Sydney Harbour as its centrepiece.
The towns dotted along the bay are the most well-known tourism attraction in Ports Stephens. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. The white sandy beaches are pristine and include the largest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. Whale watching is a major drawcard, with sightings common during the season. Dolphin and other scenic cruises are popular too. You can ride camels, horses and quadrunners or drive your 4WD vehicle onto the sand. Play golf, bushwalk, surf, swim or just relax. Accommodation ranges from caravan parks to resorts or B&Bs – there is something for everyone in Port Stephens.
Towns in Port Stephens
Nelson Bay, with nearby Shoal Bay, is arguably the centre of the region. Nelson Bay is home to a marina and dozens of quality restaurants, and Shoal Bay sits at the bottom of the Tomaree Headland – with fabulous bush walks on its doorstep. Anna Bay, Fingal Bay and One Mile Beach are small hamlets with surf beaches. Heading inland from Nelson Bay, hugging the shore you will find Corlette, Salamander Bay and Soldiers Point. These areas include million-dollar-plus mansions that rub shoulders with beach shacks as well as brick homes built by retirees and families. Further afield you will find Tea Gardens, Buladelah and Karuah to the north – all popular with holiday makers. Tea Gardens for families, Buladelah for his houseboats and Karuah for its famous oysters. Raymond Terrace was settled by Europeans in the early 1800s and is home to well-maintained settlement buildings. Lemon Tree Passage and Tanilba Bay have both stunning scenery and historic buildings worth visiting. The Williamtown/Salt Ash region towards Newcastle is home to many tourist attractions – such as the Shark & Ray Encounters, Oakvale Farm & Fauna World, Fighter World – plus it is home to the Williamtown RAAF Base.
Port Stephens Renovations or New Build?
There are many residential options in the Port Stephens area. From amazing houses overlooking the beach or bay, to inner city apartments to sprawling family homes on acreage – the choice is yours. The large commercial areas, such as Raymond Terrace, are popular with workers, while the bay is a well-known destination for retired baby boomers.
There are heritage restrictions in some areas, but Port Stephens is a popular place to build a new home. You can buy a large block of land and have a custom-designed home built to suit you and your family. Or there are many new housing estates across the region where you can buy house and land packages or build a custom-designed new home. Check out Pacific Dunes at Medowie, with its own golf course, or Seaside Estate Fern Bay. Realestate.com.au or domain.com.au can help if you are searching for an existing property to buy and renovate.
Visit the Port Stephens Visitor Information Centre’s website for tourist information.
The Port Stephens Council website has information about development and local facilities. It also has brochures you can download to find out more about Heritage Restrictions and Development, with information about who to contact to find out more about how this might affect your renovations or building needs.