Port Stephens is an hour north of Newcastle and its main town Nelson Bay is known as the ‘dolphin capital of Australia’. Embracing the south of the harbor, Tomaree Peninsula has deserted beaches, national parks and sand dunes. On its tip sits Nelson Bay. On the south side of the peninsula is Sumarai Beach where clothing is optional and One Mile Beach with gently sloping sand and incredibly blue water. There are campervan sites at Fingal Bay Holiday Park.
With its good surf beaches, laid back vibe, historical architecture, hip bars, many dining options and thriving art scene, Newcastle is worth a day of your time. Learn about the military history of Newcastle and explore the underground tunnels at Fort Scratchley. Spot birds and wildlife at Hunter Wetlands Centre. Walk the 5 km scenic and historic coastal walk known as Bathers Way. Enjoy the soaring architecture, stained glass and peace in Christ Church Cathedral. Learn the history of Newcastle from its Indigenous origins at the engaging Newcastle Museum. Walk Nobby's Head to the lighthouse to surround yourself with ocean views and fresh salt air. Climb Queens Wharf Tower for commanding views of the city. Visit the 'lock up', a police station turned artists' studios. Its padded cell is still in tact. Feed emus and cuddle a wombat at the Blackbutt Reserve.
More Information on Newcastle and Port Stephens.
The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine growing region and it is choc full of wineries – more than 150 to be precise. Nestled in the fertile valleys 2 ½ hours north of Sydney and two hours inland from Port Stephens, you can enjoy attitude-free wine tasting. Stop in at the Hunter Valley tourist information centre in Maitland and grab some winery maps for a self-guided tour. If you don’t fancy driving, tours are available in vehicles, horse drawn carriages, and on bikes. Time Out put together a top ten wineries list and CNN did a top seven. A personal favorite is Wyndham Estate.
Wyndham Estate Winery, Hunter Valley.
While the wine in the Hunter Valley is a draw card in itself, the region has even more to offer. It is a foodie’s heaven with food and wine schools, world class restaurants, cheese makers, olive oils, smoked fish, and a range of local produce. The region is perfect for hot air ballooning. There are day spas, activities for the kids, antiques, gardens and historic villages.
We have a detailed article and map of the Hunter Valley highlights.
A centrally located caravan park in which you can stay in your camper van is the BIG4 Hunter Valley. With a wood-fired pizza oven, a swimming pool and everything else you might need, this is resort living.
Hunter Valley wine tours
Gold Coast to Sydney: an overview
Part 1: Brisbane - Gold Coast | 3 days
Part 2: Gold Coast - Byron Bay | 200 km | 3 days
Part 3: Byron Bay - Dorrigo National Park | 373 km | 3 days
Part 4: Dorrigo National Park - Myall Lakes | 362 km | 3 days
Part 5: Myall Lakes - Hunter Valley | 208 km | 2 days
Part 6: Hunter Valley - Sydney | 165 km or 388 km | 1 - 4 days
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