Port Stephens Safaris & wildlife activities

Our most recommended Port Stephens Safaris & wildlife activities

Port Stephens: Dolphin Watching Cruise & Boom Net Experience

1. Port Stephens: Dolphin Watching Cruise & Boom Net Experience

Take a cruise around magnificent Port Stephens Harbour on the biggest boat in the bay. Keep an eye out for the resident Bottlenose Dolphins as you head out on the water. Take in the sights of Tomaree and Yacaaba Headlands, Shoal Bay, Nelson Bay, and the Northern Harbour. Sit back and relax on the deck area, or if you feel like getting a bit wet, join in the boom net action. Slide down the Twist, Twirl, and Splash Waterslide attached to the boat, which whirls you into the boom net. Enjoy entertaining and informative commentary on board. If you feel like indulging in something a little different, there is a licensed bar on board that you can choose to purchase from. 

Nelson Bay: Dolphins, Slides, and Spa Cruise

2. Nelson Bay: Dolphins, Slides, and Spa Cruise

Spend a magical 2 hours looking for dolphins off the coast of Nelson Bay and get some time to splash about in stunning blue water. Choose from a morning, afternoon or tea-time departure and be entertained by the informative commentary as you go on search of beautiful dolphins jumping through the ocean waves. Get stunning views of the harbor, including spectacular Tomaree and Yacaaba headlands. Relax on the deck with a stronger drink and snacks purchased at the licensed bar. Laugh your way around the harbor as you make use of the large boom net and water slide. Soak up your surroundings at the on-board salt water spa.

Port Stephens: Snorkel With Wild Dolphins

3. Port Stephens: Snorkel With Wild Dolphins

Your dolphin adventure begins at d'Albora Marina, Nelson Bay at 6:15 AM. Once you've checked in and been fitted with your wetsuit, mask and snorkel, the vessel leaves the dock and travels out through the heads of Nelson Bay. Whilst traveling out to the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park, you'll be trained in the swim protocols and given a snorkel briefing (if swimmer option selected). Once the dolphins have been located and their behavior monitored and found to be favorable for a swim, the the first group of swimmers enters a net at the bow of the vessel, all the while attached with a safety lanyard to the catamaran. The vessel will stop while your group (and your divemaster) enter the water - it will then begin to move slowly forward. The dolphins will swim back and forth between the bows of the vessel, quite often within a meter of the swimmers and seemingly fascinated by the strange creatures being towed in the water behind them! You'll be so close to the dolphins, it will be just like being a part of the pod! You can of course also just observe the dolphins from the boat without entering the water.

Port Stephens: Koala Sanctuary General Admission Ticket

4. Port Stephens: Koala Sanctuary General Admission Ticket

Spend a few hours or a whole day at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary learning about Australia’s beloved koalas and the threats they face. Walk amongst the beautiful Australian bush and see koalas in their natural environment doing what they do best – sleeping and eating.  Sanctuary Story Walk is a meandering 250-meter pathway offering an immersive educational experience of the koala and its habitat. The koalas at the sanctuary have been brought there for treatment and rehabilitation after injury, with the aim of returning them to the wild if possible. At the Koala Hospital veterinarians care for koalas requiring treatment and general check-ups. You can watch through a viewing window as veterinary staff carry out examinations and administer treatment to koala inpatients, however there is no guarantee when these procedures may occur. Newcastle Airport SKYwalk is a 225-meter-long pathway with viewing platforms raised 10 metres into the tree canopy. The unique tree top perspective is a great photo opportunity. You may even find yourself eye-to-eye with a cuddly koala – always remember, look but don’t touch, they are wild animals. Due to the natural setting of Port Stephen’s Koala Sanctuary you may spot echidnas shuffling around on the ground around the walkways. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of an adorable brush tail possum hanging out in a tree hollow as well. After you have experienced all the attractions Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary offers, finish with a visit to Fat Possum Kiosk. Grab a snack, coffee or treat and browse a variety of souvenirs and gifts. Proceeds go towards the continued conservation effort of koalas and their threatened habitat. Visiting Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary entails a round-trip walk of about 1km in length. All pathways and elevated viewing platforms are easily accessible and designed for all ages and abilities. Some limited bench seating is provided along the Sanctuary Story Walk.

Port Stephens Small Group Dolphins & Dunes Combo

5. Port Stephens Small Group Dolphins & Dunes Combo

Travel over the Sydney Harbour Bridge towards the North Coast region of Port Stephens. With crystal clear waters, Port Stephens boasts over 26 pristine beaches, National Parks, diverse marine life and allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Embrace the local atmosphere and grab a bite to eat for lunch (own expense) at one of the many cafes at Nelson Bay.  Join a dolphin watching cruise as you search for local bottlenose dolphins within the bay. Meet the crew and relax on the spacious viewing decks, help yourself to free tea or coffee or enjoy a drink from the licensed bar. You will have the opportunity swim in the boom net attached to the boat so make sure to bring your swim suit and a towel. Next go to Stockton Beach where you can dip your toes in the ocean before jumping on board a big 4WD vehicle to go over the huge dunes to find the biggest dunes possible for all the sand boarding you can handle.

Port Stephens: Interactive Aquarium plus Little Ray Cuddle

6. Port Stephens: Interactive Aquarium plus Little Ray Cuddle

The Little Ray Cuddle is a unique and gentle activity perfect for all ages and great for families looking for an extra special animal encounter. Your ticket includes both the shallow water encounter where you can feed and pet sharks and rays, and a 20 minute intimate encounter with the rays and stingrays in Fingill Lagoon. When you arrive at Irukandji you will be greeted by a friendly team who will equip you with wetsuits and wear and keep souvenir socks to wear into the water. They will run through some specific instructions about interacting with the animals before guiding you into the lagoon. Together you will sit quietly and wait as the keeper summons the rays to glide over your laps for a very special cuddle. You can pet them as they hover around you and enjoy getting to know their individual personalities. After your encounter is done you are free to wander the aquarium and interact with the animals from the shallow waters of the lagoons. You can head over to the tropical lagoon to meet a variety of shark species that live there and listen to the educational talks from the keepers as they share their wealth of knowledge with you. Your whole encounter will leave you with a newfound appreciation for these gentle, elusive creatures and with a deep sense of stewardship for the ocean. Afterward, rinse off under a warm shower before checking out the rest of the aquarium. Don't forget to check out the souvenir shop for a large range of sustainable gifts, cute fluffy toys, snacks, cold drinks, and hot coffee.

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What people are saying about Port Stephens

Fantastic. Thoroughly recommend it. Great for families. Worthwhile spending the extra $10 to hire a wet suit so you can walk into deeper water to feed and pat the rays and sharks.

Absolutely heavenly and an experience I’d never forget. Will definitely be back near yearly. Too good to pass on. And for the price? Couldn’t ask for more

So worth the money just to be out listening to the ocean. Both of my daughters really enjoyed the trip.

The dock is easily accessible. Friendly staff. Boom net experience is awesome

A fab family experience to touch, learn & support!