Things to do at the Great Lakes Marine Park

Are you curious about life under the sea? Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park is a fascinating tourist destination. Its uniqueness lies in its diverse range of habitats for flora and fauna – mangroves, seagrass beds, salt marsh, and open waters.

Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park, one of the best diving spots in the world, is only about a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from Sydney. The marine park stretches around 378.38 square miles from Cape Hawke to Birubi Beach at the northern end of Stockton Beach. The remarkable marine park includes Port Stephens, Karuah River, Myall River, Smiths Lake, Broughton Island, and Cabbage Island.

Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park is home to diverse marine and estuarine life. Sea turtles, seabirds, and almost 600 species of fish are enclaved in the marine park. The protected and endangered species like the grey nurse shark, white shark, and black rock cod are permanent residents too! A one-day tour isn’t enough to fully explore the vast expanse of Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park. If one is not enough, save your accommodation and visit the next time!

Fun ways to explore the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park

Fun ways to explore the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park

Summer is the best season to engage in water sports. To explore Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park means experiencing aquatic adventures like fishing, boating, kayaking, surfing, snorkelling, and scuba diving. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of humpback whales migrating along the coastline from April to November. You can also watch bottlenose dolphins while riding on a cruise ship. These adorable mammals love to tag along cruise ships as if guiding tourists around the area.

Explore stunning beaches

If getting a tan fits you to a tee, basking under the glorious sun on the beach is a good idea. The coastline of Port Stephens is accessible to some of the best beaches in the world. One Mile Beach, Stockton Beach, and Nelson Bay Beach are stunning beaches you cannot afford to miss.

Explore life under the sea

Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park is home to magnificent coral reefs. Snorkel your way around to enjoy the beauty of life underwater, or go scuba diving at designated spots to explore the deep blue sea. If you are brave enough to lap up big waves, then surfing is the water sport that suits you.

Port Stephens is a fishing playground for kids and adults. Throw a bait or two and see who catches fish at lightning speed! You need a fishing licence, though. So be sure to secure one before heading over to the fishing grounds.

Kayak your way around the waters to relax and have fun. Row your boat with friends to unwind and break the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If getting wet is not for you, you can have fun watching humpback whales and dolphins while cruising the waters off the marine park.

Explore cultural heritage

Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park is rich in cultural heritage too. The traditional owner of Port Stephens – the Worimi Tribe – blends beautifully with the locals and visitors in the area. The park is rich in cultural and spiritual sites. Burial grounds and camping sites are part of the marine park landscape. The indigenous people’s beliefs about the land and sea date back thousands of years. Their traditional way of life continues despite living in a new era. They still gather food the way they used to.

Explore points of interests

Locals and travellers love to explore these remarkable features of the marine park:

  • Cabbage Tree Island, also known as John Gould Nature Reserve, is the primary breeding site for the Goulds petrel, a threatened seabird.
  • Broughton Island, the second largest island in NSW, is a vital habitat for the endangered grey nurse shark and black cod.
  • Habitats that include reefs, beaches, and rocky areas provide sanctuary for diverse fauna and flora.
  • Port Stephens is the largest drowned river valley in NSW due to extensive and diverse estuaries and shorelines.
  • Myall Lakes is the brackish barrier lake system in NSW.
  • Smiths Lake is the largest intermittently open and closed lake in NSW
  • The largest mangrove and salt marsh
  • 5% of the area is seagrass.
  • Scenic and historical lighthouses at Point Stephens and Seal Rocks are heritage-listed sites.
  • Historic shipwrecks
  • Recreational fishing, aquaculture, and commercial fishing grounds provide vital socio-economic values in the region.
  • Scuba diving and snorkelling sites are favourite eco-tourism activities.
  • Whale and dolphin watching is a significant tourism activity in the region.

Help preserve the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park.

About 50 to 80% of all life on earth is beneath the ocean surface. Therefore, we must protect marine and estuarine life against the environmental pollution of marine resources. Also, there is a global and local decline in fish species populations.

Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park is a multipurpose tourist destination. It provides a haven for marine and aquatic resources while at the same time catering to sea adventures and activities.

Have fun exploring the fantastic Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park with your friends and loved ones, but don’t forget to be responsible in handling marine life and resources.

Book your accommodation at The Retreat Port Stephens now!

Book your accommodation at The Retreat Port Stephens now!

If Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park provides sanctuary to marine and estuarine life, The Retreat Port Stephens offers a safe and comfortable sanctuary for your accommodation.

Our location at 4302 Nelson Bay Road, Anna Bay in New South Wales, offers a vantage point to tourist destinations in and around Port Stephens.

We offer a customised retreat to suit your holiday requirements. Our knowledgeable staff provide personalised service you can count on – from facilities to bedding and toiletries. We aim to make your stay with your loved ones pleasant and comfortable.

Don’t miss your chance to explore the world-renowned Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park. It will be fun and exciting. We will ensure that your accommodation with us will be pleasurable, too. Contact us at (02) 4982 1244 or email