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Port Stephens A Nature Paradise Not Far From Sydney

camel rides port stephens

I will forgive you if you think this photo is the Sahara Desert and not NSW. I had to take a double look when I recently spent time in Port Stephens on two separate trips to take photos for this post. It had been raining for days, so I took off overnight to the vicinity, and this was my first stop. These camel rides are one of many attractions in Port Stephens.

Crest Birubi Beach

Crest was the first stop at Birubi Beach, a beachside cafe with great views over the Stockton Sand Dunes. I opted for Calamari with a Thai salad. I love the vibe at this cafe, and the service was tremendous. So was my meal. The views at Birubi Beach are astonishing, and it is hard to believe this paradise is only a few hours from Sydney. Next, it was off to book into Wanders Retreat, an eco-village.

Wanderers Retreat

Vivienne warmly welcomed me to Wanderers Retreat, and settled into my treehouse. I was in nature heaven. Nature is my rock, and staying in a tranquil treehouse, surrounded by Australian Natives, Kookaburras and possums in the night, was heaven for me. Included in the treehouse is a Weber Family BBQ, private deck with chairs, parking is undercover, sparkling wine and chocolates, port to sip at the end of the evening, coffee plunger and more. Mine also had a spa bath, microwave, fridge and air conditioning to keep the hut warm.

I hadn't even put my bags down when four kookaburras came to greet me. Well, they came for food, and I had prepared for that. I was also ready to feed the possums at night and brought along some mandarins.

Wanderers Retreat is close to Anna Bay which offers a few takeaways, an IGA and a bakery.


A 400-metre walk from Wanderers Retreat takes you to One Mile Beach, arguably one of Australia's prettiest and best surf beaches. One Mile, patrolled during the summer months, is also known for its great fishing.

One Mile is home to the Tri Port Stephens Triathlon Festival held in May and the World Surfing's NSW Toyota Pro held in November at Birubi Beach.

Swell Café is a popular cafe during the warmer months. Unfortunately, when I went for breakfast, they were closed. Bummer.


On my visit to Boat Harbour, the swell was massive. The photo doesn't do justice to how ferocious the ocean was this day. I couldn't help thinking how a person caught in the water like this would never have a hope of living. Watching the waves was both mesmerising and slightly frightening.

It is hard to fathom a closely guarded secret in Boat Harbour called the "Champagne Spa", a rather dangerous spa if you ask me. I did not see it for obvious reasons, and I have read it is not safe for small children and definitely, a no-goes in the surf like this.


For the record, this post is two separate visits.

I took the ferry from Tea Gardens to Nelson Bay on a winter's day that appeared to be calm. So calm that I had a jacket and was wearing shorts. LOL, stay tuned. The link to Tea Gardens is from one of my other blogs; I publish four!

In summer, I would probably be lucky to get a ticket on this ferry; however, I scored one in winter. I was the only passenger on the first ferry of the day. The Skipper booked me in, and off we went.

It was:

Calm along the Myall River, Tea Gardens.

Calm along the Myall River, Hawks Nest.

Calm along Winda Woppa.

I enjoyed the majestic views including, Jimmy's Beach and the Pelican love-in on a sandbank at low tide. So I decided to move outside.

Oh dear, everything was hunky-dory until the seas began to swell. I began to freeze. I began to hold on for my life. I then decided I best go back inside. And, I laughed at the excitement of the swell. By the way, I could see the Skipper was watching that his only passenger wasn't falling overboard.

I didn't see any dolphins on the way to Nelson Bay, but I did on the way home, in calmer waters. The dolphins came in so close to us I could see the texture on their skin. Spectacular!

Nelson Bay Port Stephens Shopping

Nelson Bay Shopping

Nelson Bay shopping precinct offers coffee shops, restaurants, groceries, medical, gift shops and boutiques. The streets are pretty and lined with flowers and trees. It certainly has a holiday vibe about it.

Nelson Bay Bush Walks
Bushwalking Near Nelson Bay

The Fly Point Nature Reserve is a natural reserve covering 8 hectares at Fly Point, Nelson Bay. It begins from the car park on Dixon Drive and runs through to Little Beach. It's a beautiful scenic walk and a place to discover incrediblel flora along the way. The views across the bay are spectacular.

Nelson Bay Marina
Fish and Chips

Bub's Fish n Chips is my all-time favourite. I've dined there a few times. As well, you can stock up on your seafood! I was amazed at the fisherman across the marina weighing their haul of fish; I've never seen fish so big in my life!

bub's fish n chips nelson bay

Port Stephens is a beautiful part of NSW. As you can imagine, it becomes packed with tourists in the summer and holiday seasons, and no wonder there is so much to do and explore. I'll certainly be heading back soon as there are many places I'm yet to discover.

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