Port Stephens is only around two hours from Sydney and fantastic location for a weekend away or a holiday with kids. It’s a family favourite for us because it’s not to far and there are so many great activities for kids and families. Port Stephens in just north of Newcastle and encompasses popular holiday destinations; Nelson Bay, Anna Bay, Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay and Soldiers Point.
Port Stephens with Kids
Where to stay
There are a loads of great holiday parks in Port Stephens. Our favourites are always BIG 4 or NRMA Holiday Parks because they always have great facilities and high standards. There’s Bays Holiday Park in Anna Bay, Big 4 Soldiers Point, Koala Shores Holiday Park, and loads more.
Where to eat
My absolute favourite place to eat is in Nelson Bay. It’s called Café Kin and it’s food is AMAZING! I could eat their breakfast granola bowl every day and never get sick of it. They also have super cute kid’s unicorn waffles.
If you’re looking for easy family food, The Wood Oven at the Nelson Bay marina also makes great food. Their pizza was fantastic and it’s a beautiful location to eat in.
If you want something that is really great for kids I recommend the Bluewater Grill at Nelson Bay Gold Club. There is a play area for kids and the food is great. It’s perfect for larger groups.
What to do in Port Stephens with kids
There are loads of fun activities to do in Port Stephens with kids. Here are some of our favourites:
Camel Riding at Anna Bay
Oakfield Ranch runs camel rides over the dunes at Anna Bay every day from 10am-3:30pm. Each ride is 20 minutes and costs $40 for adults and $30 for kids. They don’t take bookings and lines can get long so I recommend getting there about 9:45am.
Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters
Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters is such a fun place to visit in Port Stephens with kids. It gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with rays a reef sharks, even getting to feed and pat them. You stand in an open lagoon while they swim up to you. It really is such a unique experience and little marine lovers will get a lot from it.
Last time we were in Port Stephens we went on a dolphin cruise! Full discloser – we didn’t actually see any dolphins! But it was a great way to see the coast and the kids had a blast because the boat had a slide that landed in a net behind the boat. Dolphins or no dolphins, it was still a great activity. We went with Moonshadow cruises.
Nelson Bay Markets
The Nelson Bay Legacy markets run on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of the month at Neil Carroll Park. There’s lots of handmade goods, plants and treats and it’s a lovely way to spend the morning.
The Homegrown Markets are on at the Nelson Bay foreshore around once a month, but more in summer. They are all about hand made and locally grown. You can check out their dates on the website.
Walk to the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage
The Lighthouse Keeps Cottage in Nelson bay is now a museum and café with an amazing view of the bay. Learn about the history of Nelson Bay and its lighthouse and grab something to eat at the same time. You can either walk up the hill or drive and park if you’re not one for walking (like me!). It’s an amazing view.
Sand Dune Safari
So, we haven’t actually done this one yet but I’ve had so many friends tell me how fun Sand Dune Safari is. You go out into the Anna Bay sand dunes with a tour company and have the opportunity to stand up or sit down ‘sand board’ (like snow boarding on sand) down the dunes. To be honest the only reason I haven’t done it yet is because the idea of walking back up a sand dune isn’t very appealing! But if you are an energetic family then this one is for you!
Hopefully this gives you plenty of ideas for heading to Port Stephens with kids! Let me know how you go.