Winter is on its way – days spent sunning yourself on the beach and balmy nights spent outdoors are a fading memory. But don’t let the winter weather dampen your spirits!

If you’re keen to get out and about in NSW this winter, but you’re unsure of what entertainment and excitement there is to be had during the colder months, wonder no more! The Retreat Port Stephens has some fantastic winter getaways ideas guaranteed to get you all fired up.

Take a whale watching cruise

1.  Take a whale watching cruise

Winter is the perfect time to spot whales along the east coast of NSW, and Port Stephens is one of the absolute best whale watching locations as these majestic creatures migrate through Port Stephens’ waters between May and November.

A number of cruise operators run dolphin and whale watching cruises out of the Nelson Bay marina, enabling passengers to get up close while enjoying the warmth and protection offered by the well-appointed cruise boats.

If you’re not keen on getting out on the water in winter, rug up in your thermals, grab a pair of binoculars and head to one of the whale-watching platforms or natural vantage points along the Port Stephens coast. If you really want to get your blood pumping, take the Tomaree Head summit walk for stunning 360-degree views of Port Stephens waters – the perfect whale-watching location!

Head to a food or music festival

2.  Head to a food or music festival

Winter is the perfect time to indulge in the delicious comfort foods you love, or experience new taste sensations.

Throughout June, the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival showcases world-famous Hunter Valley wines and amazing local produce, with wine and cooking masterclasses, food tastings, lunch and dinner experiences; plus fun activities like the wine quiz night and “Still Life Paint & Sip Workshops”. The Hunter Valley Wine and Beer Festival falls midway through the festivities and is immediately followed by July’s Hunter Valley Cheese & Chocolate Festival.

If fresh seafood is more your style, Port Stephens plays host to the month-long Love Sea Food Port Stephens festival throughout August, highlighted by the Love Sea Food Festival Weekend on the first weekend of the month. With a mouth-watering range of local fish, prawns, shellfish, crabs, lobsters and oysters, and the chance to meet local producers and chefs, the festival is packed with indulgent opportunities; take a seafood cooking class, join a Tasters Trail or Munch and Move tour, or treat yourself to one of the signature series dining experiences on offer.

Enjoy a music festival

3.  Enjoy a music festival

If great music is more your scene, take a weekend trip away to relax and experience the laid-back vibe of some of the best music in Australia.

The Newcastle Jazz Festival – widely regarded as the best jazz festival in the country – runs over three days in August, with more than 150 musicians and performers delivering over 60 hours of the finest jazz music across four stage areas. There are dance floors set up for those who like to boogie, great on-site bars and food vendors, and the festival is in close proximity to Darby Street – Newcastle’s foodie paradise.

If jazz isn’t your thing, the Newcastle Music Festival runs throughout the first two weeks of August, showcasing amazing local and international musicians from a range of musical genres. With day and night performances, masterclasses and competitions, there is something for almost every music-lover.

Wander local markets

4.  Wander local markets

There’s a lot to be said for the joys that can be found wandering through a great local market, and Port Stephens offers some of the best.

Homegrown Markets Nelson Bay offers an eclectic mix of handmade and eco-focused wares, activities for the kids, food vendors and live music.

Nelson Bay Legacy Markets are held on the first, third and fifth Sunday of every month, offering patrons great stalls, food and coffee in the beautiful surrounds of Neil Carrol Park, right near the stunning waters of Fly Point.

Experience the thrill of beach or big game fishing

5.  Experience the thrill of beach or big game fishing

Winter is a great time to experience big game fishing, and Port Stephens is ideally located for some of the best fishing in NSW.

If you love fishing , or you’ve always wanted to experience the thrill of big game fishing, Calypso Fishing Adventures runs full day tours out of the Anchorage Marina, with itineraries for all budgets and skill levels.

The experienced, knowledgeable local crew will take you to all the best game fishing locations and pretty much everything you could want is included in the tour package price, with bait and tackle, fishing license, lunch and drinks provided.

If you’re not up for a day on a boat, why not enjoy a spot of beach fishing instead? Port Stephens Beach Fishing Safaris run half-day 4WD beach fishing tours that can be tailored to your needs so the whole family can enjoy the adventure, either joining in the fishing fun or relaxing on the beach.

After an hour-long 4WD tour of the expansive Port Stephens sand dunes, spend three hours getting into the fun of beach fishing. Bait, tackle, and equipment are included, and the experienced guides are all keen anglers who are more than happy to snag a great catch by sharing local knowledge and fishing advice.

Looking for something different to do in winter?

If none of the above really float your boat, you can always try one (or more) of the other equally enjoyable winter-friendly activities on offer in the beautiful Port Stephens area of NSW.

Take a stroll around the beautiful Hunter Region Botanic Gardens – pick up some locally-cultivated plants, check out the regular art displays, take a night tour of the gardens to search out Ghost Fungi, or head to one of the many educational sessions on offer throughout winter.

Enjoy an adrenalin-fueled adventure in the Port Stephens sand dunes, with numerous activities on offer including horse riding, camel rides, go-karting, 4WD tours, quad biking and sandboarding. If you’d like to round out your action-packed getaway with some cultural education, Sand Dune Adventures also runs an Aboriginal Culture, Sand Boarding and Quad Bike Tour.

Contact The Retreat Port Stephens and arrange your perfect NSW winter getaway today!

The Retreat Port Stephens is a family owned and operated business offering laid back, affordable accommodation, in natural bushland surrounds overlooking the Birubi Beach sand dunes. We would love nothing more than to help you plan your perfect NSW winter getaway, so if you need local advice, or want some help putting together an itinerary to make your winter getaway a truly memorable experience, contact on us (02) 4982 1244 or fill out our contact form to have one of our friendly staff contact you.