With so much to do in the area, Port Stephens is one of my favourite spots to escape to for a beach camping weekend. So much so I keep finding myself heading back there and taking friends and family with me.
Here’s my guide on the best place to camp and things to do over a weekend spent in Port Stephens.
Where: Port Stephens, NSW, Australia
Getting there: 2 hrs 40 mins drive North of Sydney.
Port Stephens really does have it all. If you’re making a last-minute decision on where to head for the weekend, it’s a great choice. No matter what time of year or whatever the weather is doing, you’ll always find something to keep you entertained for the weekend. The campsite where I stay at is also right next to a beach so perfect for a spot of beach camping.
Check out my other favourite beach camping spots for the weekend. All in New South Wales and within a 4 hour drive of Sydney.
Camp at One Mile Beach
My top tip is to stay at Ingenia Holidays One Mile Beach. It’s situated on the south-side of the peninsula and is where I always stay. I love it because there is always a space to rock up at short notice. Plus, the camping spots are just the other side of the sand dunes that bring you out onto a great little beach for surfing: One Mile Beach. Try and get camping spots 300-305 to place yourself right next to the beach access path, but still close to the amenities block (plus the cafe for a morning coffee). These spots are also on what I would say is the ‘best’ side of the campsite, away from the road.
From $42/night (powered site), 426 Gan Gan Rd, One Mile NSW 2316, (02) 4982 1112.
Port Stephens in a weekend
Here’s a list of the best things I’ve done in this area over all the weekends I’ve visited.
- Surf at Fingal Bay: Either park at Fingal Beach Surf Life Saving Club car park to be close to facilities and kiosk or you can also park halfway up the bay for a more remote spot.
- Walk to Shark Island from Fingal Beach: Time it right and go at low tide when the spit walk is visible.
- Do the Tomaree Head Summit walk for incredible views of the peninsula. There is free parking at Zenith Beach and if you have time, visit the beach itself. It’s stunning.
- Hire a boat from Nelson Bay Boat Hire ($104 for 3 hours) and go dolphin spotting in Nelson Bay.
- Eat lunch at the Inner Light Tearooms. I go here every time for the view.
- For somewhere more fancy, have lunch at Little Beach Boathouse overlooking Little Beach. The mussels in tomato sauce are delicious.
- Eat out at one of the many restaurants in town. I have eaten at Sienna’s Pizzeria Bar & Restaurant.
Places to stop on the way to and from Port Stephens
These are some of the places I have stopped at driving to and from the Port Stephens area.
- My absolute favourite brewery and Sunday lunch stop before heading home is Murray’s Brewery Co. Here you can sit outside on a large deck area, listening to live music (on Sundays at least) whilst digging into an epic smoked meats share board.
- Stop at Birubi Beach in Anna Bay to look out over huge sand dunes. Camel riding tours operate here so you feel like you’re lookout onto a desert! Birubi Beach also turns into Stockton Beach which has 4×4 access.
- At the other end of Stockton Beach, there is a Surf Lifesaving Club and the beach is patrolled (also good for surfing). Enjoy some lunch overlooking the beach at Lexie’s on the Beach.
Don’t miss: Waking up and walking over the sand dunes to One Mile Beach. Or, on a clear night take a head torch and sit under the stars.
If you’re thinking about heading away for the weekend just get in the car and start exploring! I’m always amazed how much I feel I’ve done with my weekend by just getting some distance from my normal life and environment. Even it’s already Saturday lunchtime by the time you get away.
The first time I camped at One Mile Beach I actually ended up there by mistake. It was a Saturday morning with no plans for the weekend ahead and I thought it was too late to do anything but I googled ‘campground’ North of Sydney and this campground at One Mile Beach showed up next to the beach so I headed there. And now it’s one of my favourite spots.
I hope you enjoy your time in Port Stephens if you decide to visit. Happy camping!