Port Stephens and its unique bay and pristine coastal waters and volcanic islands is in New South Wales (NSW) Australia, just two and a half hours drive north of Sydney. It’s a scenically beautiful region which offers a chance to see dolphins all year around and Humpback Whales, fur seals and Minke Whales from May to November. Port Stephens is known as the Dolphin Capital of Australia with a resident population of around 90 Bottlenose Dolphins inside the bay and hundreds of Common Dolphin just offshore. Winter is mild over here with daytime temps seldom dropping below 18 degrees Celsius and summer temps at sea hovering around 25 degrees.
The port itself is a flooded volcanic river valley formed 300 million years ago with two large rivers exiting through the bay into the South Pacific Ocean. The Worimi colonised the port 12,000 years before Captain Cook sailed past and named this stunningly beautiful place after Sir Phillip Stephens. It’s a whale watchers paradise and it’s also a haven for bird watchers with the 5 main offshore islands hosting an array of seabirds. At least 4 species of Albatross are regularly encountered offshore and Broughton Island is home to the northernmost colony of Little Penguin, which can only be found in Australia and New Zealand. The bay itself is more than double the size of Sydney Harbour and the entire coastal region including the Bay and its rivers and lakes is within Australia’s Marine Park System. In fact at 98,000 hectares it is the largest Marine Park in NSW. Additionally, more than 50% of the coastal area is protected within both the Tomaree National Park or the Myall Lakes National Park and there are some great land-based viewing points in the Park for those landlubbers who don’t want to venture out to sea.