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Inspiring Weekends: 8 Best Things To Do In Nelson Bay, Australia

Diah
Updated Aug 06, 2018

When the calendar dates show a long weekend coming up, surf the Internet and book your weekend getaway to Nelson Bay, Australia. The pretty town on the southern coastline of Port Stephens has many activities to keep your weekend busy and fun.

Nelson Bay is a tourist destination town on the southern shore of Port Stephens on the North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. It can be reached within 2.5 hours drive from Sydney, or within a 1-hour drive from Newcastle. Here are 8 great suggestions of things to do in Nelson Bay for a fun weekend.

Top 3 activities to book in Nelson Bay

1. Swimming at Nelson Bay's famous beaches

The beautiful city of Nelson Bay
Source: Nelson Bay

Dutchmans Beach and Little Beach of Nelson Bay are famous for their calm waters. These beaches are safe and children friendly. It’s the cheapest way to enjoy the weekend sun at Nelson Bay.

If you want to do more aquatic activities than just swimming, you can rent a canoe and sail with your children on the calm waters. Grab a picnic bag and have a lunch picnic by the beach. You and your children will enjoy a short getaway at its best.

Dutchmans Beach

Address: 1 Burbong St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315, Australia

Little Beach

Address: Nelson Bay NSW 2315, Australia

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

2. Close encounter with aquatic life at Fly Point

Excellent surprise diving a few weeks back with @throppo #westisbest #lovemyrotto #marinelife #greynurseshark

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You can experience a close encounter with aquatic life at Fly Point, an aquatic reserve with prolific marine life on the east of Nelson Bay. Diving and snorkeling there are exceptional.

If you love diving, don’t miss out on diving at the “Looking Glass” dive site at Broughton Island, the signature diving site at Nelson Bay. Looking Glass is a split that runs through the middle of the Broughton Island, crowded with marine life such as grey nurse sharks.

Let's Go Adventures Dive Nelson Bay

Address: 8 Teramby Road, D'Albora Marinas, 2315 Nelson Bay Australia

Price: from 130 USD for boat dive

Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm.

Duration: around 5 hours required.

Access: Let’s Go Adventures Dive Nelson Bay is right at D'Albora Marinas, Teramby Road

Contact: +61 2 4981 4331

Website: Diving at Looking Glass Dive Site

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

3. Dine with a view at D’Albora Marinas


D’Albora Marinas is a collection of seven marinas, a home to over 1,400 vessels. You can enjoy your dinner at the waterfront with a great selection of restaurant overlooking the vessels.

There are a few of Italian restaurants that serve delicious Italian food with the freshest ingredients. Check out Ormeggio at The Spit, one of the famous Italian restaurants at the marina.

Ormeggio At The Spit Restaurant

Address: D'Albora Marinas, Spit Road, Mosman, 2088 Nelson Bay Australia

Price: from 300 USD for two people

Opening Hours: 12 to 3 pm, 6 to 10 pm.

Access: Ormeggio At The Spit is right at D'Albora Marinas, Spit Road

Contact: +61 2 9969 4088

Website: Ormeggio At The Spit Restaurant

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

4. Greet humpback whales on a cruise


Each year more than 3,000 humpbacks pass close to the coast of Port Stephens, migrating to warm tropical waters from late May to July, and from September to November, the whales can be seen returning to the Antarctic with their calves.

The humpback whale is a protected species and is a very energetic large whale. They are regularly observed breaching, tail slapping, leaping, and performing body rolls.

A whale-watching cruise is an experience not to be missed. Whale cruises from Nelson Bay take about 3.5 hours, and your craft cruises from Nelson Bay, out through the Heads, to the Pacific Ocean.

Whale Watching Cruise

Address: 3/35 Stockton Street, 2315 Nelson Bay Australia

Price: from 56.70 USD

Opening Hours: 8 am to 5 pm.

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Access: Moonshadow Cruise is just 3 minutes’ drive from D'Albora Marinas

Contact: +61 2 4984 9388

Website: Whale Watching Cruise

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

5. Say hello to the dolphins in Port Stephens


Port Stephens is blue water paradise, the permanent home of 160 bottlenose dolphins. Dolphin watching is a 1.5 to 2 hour experience, inside the waters of Port Stephens.

Dolphins love to ride the bow waves of a boat. They seem to play “now you see me, now you don’t.” But it can be an on-off show due to the fact that they can dive to depths of 300 m and hold their breath for about 7 minutes.

Most boats lower a boom net, which you can sit in, about 30 cm into the water. With any luck, the dolphins will come to play near you.

Dolphin watching is usually included on a whale-watching cruise. Check out best local operators for whale and dolphin watching cruise such as Moonshadow and Imagine Cruise.

Dolphin Watching Cruise

Address: Teramby Road, 2315 Nelson Bay Australia

Price: from 29 USD

Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm.

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Access: Imagine Cruise is right at D'Albora Marinas, Teramby Road

Contact: +61 2 4984 9000

Website: Dolphin Watching Cruise

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

6. Enjoy the sunset with the roos at Nelson Bay Golf Club

#roohazard #tiemekangaroodownwarters #nelsonbaygolfclub

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Nelson Bay Golf Club is not just a place to play and enjoy the golf activities. It is the home of the indigenous creatures of Nelson Bay, the kangaroos.

You can walk or ride the golf cart to meet with the kangaroos and you can even interact with them. Experience, photograph, and enjoy walking or riding in a golf cart amongst wild eastern grey kangaroos and other unique Australian wildlife such as koalas.

For Kangaroo Encounter Tours, you can book the tour from Nelson Bay Golf Club website.

Kangaroo Encounter Tours

Address: 57 Dowling St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315, Australia

Price: from 15 USD per person

Opening Hours: Sunset time

Duration: around 1 to 2 hours required.

Access: Nelson Bay Golf Club is only 5 minutes’ walk from Nelson Bay CBD

Contact: +61 438 615 136 (Kangaroo Phil)

Website: Kangaroo Encounter Tours

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

7. Ride a bike: from Salamander Bay to Fingal Bay

Life behind bars at #portstephens is not too shabby. #beachlife #outsideisfree #rideportstephens #garmin

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If you are big fans of bicycling like me, bicycle riding is a healthy alternative to explore the town of Nelson Bay. It offers amazing scenic views and very little traffic (since they only have single lane roads and only one set of traffic lights).

Port Stephens Council has approximately 50 km (31 mi) of shared cycleways throughout its communities. It has designated cycleways that provide safe cycling around the peninsula. These cycleways can take you from Salamander Bay right through to Fingal Bay with some spectacular water views.

Bay Bike Hire

Address: The Nelson Resort (visit Reception), 3-7 Government Road, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Price: from 40 USD per day

Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm.

Access: Bay Bike Hire is open 24/7 near Port Stephens Visitor Centre

Contact: +61 2 4916 4600

Website: Bay Bike Hire

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

8. Sand boarding at Worimi Conservation Lands


Located only 10 minutes from the centre of Nelson Bay and just over 30 minutes from Newcastle, the Worimi Conservation Lands form the largest sand dune system in Australia, covering an area of 4,200 hectares (10,378 acres).

The mobile sand dunes can climb up to 40 m (131 ft) high and there are many ways to enjoy the area. Sand boarding is a fantastic way to enjoy the unique terrain. It’s time to get dirty.

If you are an adrenaline junky, get your heart racing with a thrilling ride on the back of a quad bike as part of a guided quad biking tour. Explore the dunes at your own pace by purchasing a beach vehicle permit and steering your way through the desert in a 4WD.

Worimi Conservation Lands does not only consist of sand dunes, it also has 32 km (19.88 mi) long beach where you can relax by the water and enjoy the magnificent coastal scenery after the activity on the sand dunes. Several crystal clear rock pools at the water’s edge are teeming with marine life. Kids can explore the shallow waters and get up close to native sea life.

Quad Bike Tours

Address: 2163 Nelson Bay Rd, Williamtown NSW 2318, Australia

Price: from 135 USD

Opening Hours: 9 am to 4 pm.

Duration: around 1.5 hours required.

Access: Sand Dune Adventures is an easy 2 ½ hour drive on the freeway from the Sydney CBD or 1 hour 45 mins from the start of the Sydney Newcastle Freeway.

Contact: +61 2 4033 8808

Website: Quad Bike Tours, Worimi Conservation Lands

See our full list of recommended hotels in Nelson Bay and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nelson Bay

Encounters with nature

From relaxing swimming to a deep encounter with marine life, and from cruise tours to sandy tours, Nelson Bay has everything that you need for your perfect weekend getaway.

This article was originally published on Mar 19, 2017

I’m an Indonesian girl who loves to travel the world. I’ve been to 4 continents, 17 countries, and still counting for more. I’m a Communication Specialist, Marketing Consultant, and Freelance...Read more

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