Tips to enjoy your trip to Port Stephens while on a budget.

A retreat to Port Stephens with friends and loved ones is good if you have the cash to splurge. But what if you are travelling on a shoestring budget?

You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy Port Stephens. Nature has its way of soothing tired body, mind, soul, and pocket.

This charming region, about 2.5 hours north of Sydney, is a perfect getaway from the doldrums of daily life. It boasts of pristine beaches, parks, and wildlife. A lot of fun and exciting outdoor activities await the adventurous spirit. If the weather does not cooperate, there are indoor activities to snap everyone out of boredom.

Your accommodation is friendly on the pocket too. We’ve got good news for you! The Retreat Port Stephens, a family-friendly oasis, is now ready to accept Stay NSW Vouchers worth $50. Just apply for vouchers at to be deducted from your accommodation.

What is Port Stephens known for

What is Port Stephens known for?

Port Stephens is popular among the locals as the ‘Blue Water paradise’. This northern region, which is double the size of Sydney harbour, is surrounded by pristine beaches, dunes, and marine life.

Things to do in Port Stephens for free

The best things in life are free. Believe it or not, Port Stephens has a lot of free stuff to offer.

  • Take a walk at the Native Flora Gardens.

Indulge the senses with local and Australian native plants while strolling along the pathways. Formerly the site of HMAS Assault from 1942 to 1945, the Aboriginal canoe trees provide a habitat for diverse birdlife. A great water view of Nelson Bay greets visitors while traversing the steps in the garden.

  • Ride a bike or hike at the Tomaree National Park

Traverse the trails or head over to the Tomaree Head Summit. Enjoy a picturesque ocean view across Port Stephens. Have fun while bonding with loved ones over lunch at the summit on the bench.

  • Frolic on the beach

Port Stephens is home to some of the best beaches, all of which you can visit without spending a dime.

A lover of sunset would take photos at Zenith Beach.

Kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders would love the flat water at Shoal Bay.

Families would love One Mile Beach and feel secure about patrols around the area.

  • Appreciate art

Take advantage of the free entry to the Tomaree Community Art Centre and admire the collection of beautiful works exhibited by local artists.

  • Feast on the panoramic view at Gan-Gan Hill

The Gan-Gan Hill is the highest lookout in Port Stephens. Standing at 160 metres, one can afford to have a panoramic view of the whole of Port Stephens at no cost.

  • Explore d’Albora Marina

The beautiful yachts, cruisers, and fishing boats at the d’Albora Marina are lovely sights. It is one of the many attractions at the heart of Nelson Bay.

  • Dolphin and whale watching

The thrill and excitement of watching dolphins and whales is enough reason to call Port Stephens a Humpback Highway.

Nelson Bay Activities for the Family

A family vacation would not be complete without taking a dip in one of the swimming bays around Nelson Bay. The tranquil waters at the bay are perfect for relaxation and bonding time with the family.

A picnic lunch under one of the shady trees would satisfy the food cravings of everyone.

Things to do in Nelson Bay with toddlers

Things to do in Nelson Bay with toddlers

1. Fun and Adventure

  • Visit Oakvale Wildlife Park, a wildlife park for families located in Salt Ash
  • Enjoy mini-golf, indoor ice-skating, tractor rides, and indoor rock climbing
  • Sand-boarding at Birubi Beach, Anna Bay
  • Camel rides at the dunes
  • Go Karts for adults and kids over 5
  • Sahara Trails horse riding

2. Water Fun

  • Watch the whales and dolphins
  • Kayak hire
  • Snorkelling
  • Jet Ski

3. Cheap thrills

  • Fishing
  • Playground

The best indoor activities in Nelson Bay

If you think a rainy day would spoil the mood, think again. Nelson Bay offers a lot of indoor activities to beat boredom.

  • Nelson Bay Cinema – Watch your favourite movie with the family
  • Super Strike Ten Pin Bowling – Kids would love the 10-pin bowling alley near Salamander Bay Square Shopping Centre
  • David Grahams Gold Complex – A mini-golf course for all ages
  • Spirited – A creative play café with a baby area, toddler area, and an all-ages zone. It serves food and coffee.
  • Nelson Bay Markets – Get the best veggies and fruits from the locals at the best price.

Romantic things to do in Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a perfect place for lovers and honeymooners. Discover nature and each other with these activities:

  • Swim with the wild dolphins – Port Stephens is the only place in NSW where humans can swim with wild dolphins.
  • Go quad biking on the sand dunes – Ride up and down the dunes while learning about the Aboriginal history.
  • Hire a bike in Port Stephens – It just costs $20 for 2 hours for an adult’s mountain bike.
  • Visit Koalas at Tilligerry Habitat – This enchanting place is complete with boardwalks and a garden nursery.
  • Watch the sunset at the beach – What could be more romantic than gazing at the sunset and each other.

Things to do in Anna Bay

  • Learn to scuba dive
  • Hire a jet ski
  • Take a cruise and watch dolphins and whales
  • Enjoy sand-boarding or quad biking

Things to do in One Mile Beach

One Mile Beach is not your ordinary beach. It has a golf course, a playground, picnic facilities, and a mouth-watering BBQ. Have fun and explore what the beach has to offer:

  • Port Stephens Lighthouse – The balcony provides a magnificent view over the island.
  • Camel rides – Enjoy the stunning views while mounting the camels.
  • Shark and ray encounters – A unique interactive aquarium where visitors can feed marine life.
 Stay at The Retreat when in Port Stephens

 Stay at The Retreat when in Port Stephens

The fun and activities at Port Stephens are endless. Your vacation would not be complete without choosing the best accommodation to suit your budget. The Retreat Port Stephens accommodation is a perfect sanctuary for couples, families, groups, schools, and weddings. We offer the ultimate holiday experience to relax, explore and commune with nature.

Need help planning your next Port Stephens getaway? Call us on (02) 4982 1244 or send an email to We are conveniently located at 4302 Nelson Bay Road, Anna Bay NSW 2316.