Port Stephens

On our first visit to Port Stephens we stayed at Shoal Bay close to the entrance to the port.

At one end of Shoal Bay beach sits an old lighthouse. At the other (ocean) end is Tomaree Mountain. We went for a look at the lighthouse – now a museum and cafe with great views across the bay. It was all closed when we were there however. We then walked the full length of the beach while the sun was going down. The views from the beach are great it has to be said. The following day – weather permitting – the plan was to scale the heights of Tomaree Mountain.

View of the entrance to Port Stephens from the old lighthouse.
The old lighthouse at Shoal Bay
Down Shoal Bay beach from the lighthouse.

Views from the mountain…

The weather seemed OK so we headed off early. Tomaree Mountain rises straight up from the sea to over 160m. It is not a difficult walk up but it is steep in places. As always in Australia the paths are well made and well maintained.

On the walk up to Tomaree Mountain
Half way. Overlooking Shoal Bay

The views from the top are great whichever way you look. The calm Shoal Bay beach sheltered from the worst the ocean has to offer on one side, with several smaller beaches on the ocean side. See for yourself…

View from the top.
View of the ocean side beaches
Both sides. Shoal Bay to the right. Zenith and Wreck beaches oceanside.

Nelson Bay and further inland…

We also made a quick visit to Nelson Bay – a little further into the port/bay from Shoal Bay. Nelson Bay is the most built up area on the southern shore of Port Stephens. Quite a few shops and a marina well stocked with very expensive toys. Boats!

Using Ned to sell pies in Nelson Bay. No threats. Just good pies.
Plenty of money on show at the Nelson Bay marina.

Further into the port is the gap between the south and north shore lines narrows massively thanks to the peninsular called Soldier’s Point. From there we made our way back to Shoal Bay via the long and picturesque Bagnall’s beach and nature reserve.

View east to the port entrance from Soldier’s Point
Bagnall’s beach
The long Bagnall’s beach

Fighter World

The lady at the information office in Nelson Bay gave us a list that they had made of things to do if the weather is a problem. With all the rain this year that was a great idea. One of the places listed was on our way back home, so as we left Port Stephens we visited the Fighter World museum.

Spitfire replica
Dani inside the cockpit of a trainer jet.

Fighter World was a great stop off and it did rain while we were there. Better than that Dani really enjoyed it.

Tail exhaust of one of the jets. Someone working at the museum has a sense of humour.
Dani examines the cockpit of an F-111. A very impressive piece of engineering.

Another trip to Port Stephens is definitely on the cards. There is so much more to see. But after this, our first ever visit there, both Dani and myself still think we prefer Jervis Bay. Perhaps still too early to compare the two places…More to come…



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