Weekend in Port Stephens

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Bobbi's B and B

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Saturday, November 27, 2010

So it's been a long while since I've driven a car, and I've been missing it. Last Friday on the spur of the moment we decided to rent a car and head off up north to Port Stephens.

Port Stephens is a large harbour area about three hours north from Sydney. It is known as 'blue water paradise'. The bay is beautiful, with crystal blue waters teeming with wildlife including dolphins, pelicans, albatross, seals and even Humpback whales further off shore. 

We were staying in the town of Nelson Bay on the Tomaree Peninsula. It was a nice enough little town and a welcome change of pace from Sydney. We prebooked a room in Bobbi's B&B which was a bit expensive. However Bobbi herself was a nice old dear and the place was lovely. Her Maltese Terrier Tazzie was also a gracious host and entertained us in the evening time. There was also a pool which we didn't get to use unfortunately. 

We started our journey Saturday morning at 5.30am and journeyed to the airport to collect the hire car. There were rental outfits closer to home but the office opening hours are longest at the airport, I think Hertz are 24hour. We used them even though it was expensive enough last minute. Also because I am 'underage' there was an extra 30 dollars per day charge. Grr. One month and I'll never be underage for anything again though! :(

We decided to detour via Berorwa on our way north as we had originally planned to get the train up there to hike to Berorwa Waters simply because we liked the name. Berorwa is set on the Old Pacific Highway and is located in bushland right near the Hawksbury river.

We continued north along the Old Pacific Highway which winds its way through spectacular scenery around the Hawksbury area before coasting through the many many towns and strip malls of the Central Coast. Not very much to see for that section of the drive until we reached Lakes Tuggarah and Macquarie. The latter was the more scenic drive as we took the 131 along the north shore, circumventing Newcastle and onto Nelson Bay.

The Tomaree peninsula is on the south side of Port Stephens. There is the Tomaree National Park which offers pristine bushland. There is Stockton Beach where sand dunes stretch down along the coast, up to 40m high. There are various offers offering dune tours and you can also sandboard down a dune. Nelson Bay itself is full of companies offering dolphin cruises and whale cruises. We didn't venture on any of these this time, but we'll be up this way again!

Our landlady recommended the Gan Gan Lookout which is in the Nelson Bay village and offers a view stretching in along the bay. It was a steep climb for the Corolla and was very windy up there but I was pleased with the view.

We also went out along the peninsula to Shoal Bay which had calm harbourside waters and walked over the dune to the wilder Zenith Beach, which is beautifully sandwiched between two round peaks.

Towards twilight we headed to Annas Bay which at the end of Stockton Beach, so we strolled around the sand dunes there for a while and enjoyed the evening..

On Sunday we had a hearty breakfast prepared by Bobbi, and then said our goodbyes. We decided to visit Fingal Bay, a gorgeous semicircular beach culminating in the Fingal Bay Sand Spit. This links the peninsula to an island off shore. We walked from the south end of the beach the whole way up (maybe two miles). The tide was high and mostly obscured the spit but it was strange to see waves coming from opposite sides and rolling over the sand. I have also attached an aerial picture to show clearly what I'm talking about... 

We visited some more areas around the peninsula before taking the Freeway back to Sydney as the day had gotten quite overcast and miserable. The weather has so changeable here in Oz that it's almost like being back in Ireland (only warmer!) !       
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Comments

ann markham on

great photos !!!!!! yer looking good guys !!!!!! xoxo

Gary on

Looks like things are going well over there - we've blizzards and traffic jams all over the country, heading for -10 this evening!!

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