Cultural Experience | Sydney

A day in Port Stephens NSW, Australia

Sun, sand, and dolphins? Yes please!

Spending 12 hours in Port Stephens is not nearly enough time, but if you’re on a time crunch and even a budget, it’s totally possible to have the time of your life.

8:00am Samurai Beach Bungalows

Awake to the sound of native birds perched outside your window and head over to the bush kitchen to whip up your own breakfast. Hostels are great budget friendly ways to stay in a safe, warm place, meet other travelers. You simply provide and cook your own food. Samurai is part of the YHA which means there are not only many all throughout Australia and New Zealand, but they each must adhere to certain standards for keeping you safe and clean.

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Samurai Beach Bungalows

 10:30am Port Stephens 4WD

Catch the bus into Anna Bay and meet up with Port Stephens 4WD to experience the Stockton Bight Dunes in a most unique way: Sandboarding!
Similar to a snow board in shape, the size is slightly smaller and you ride it sitting rather than standing. The Dunes are about 32 kilometers long , that’s nearly 105,000 feet or just under 20 miles, making them the southern hemisphere’s largest continuous moving coastal beach.

surfing dunes

dunes conquered (2)

Dunes Conquered!

11:45am Lunch

While waiting for your next bus, grab lunch at Peninsula Cakes & Pies, the local bakery. In Australia, bakeries are not just sweet sugary cakes and treats, they also have a variety of pies and rolls. To the American, this still sounds like dessert, however, unless specified, a pie means meat pie, and a roll means sausage roll.
Enjoy a sausage roll and top it off with an apple turnover.

1:00pm Moonshadow Dolphin Cruise

Get off the bus in Nelson Bay and stroll down to the marina to board one of the five luxury catamarans Moonshadow Cruises operate. Boasting as the home of approximately 160 dolphins, Port Stephens is known as the dolphin capital of Australia and claims 99% dolphin sighting rate. On the return leg, be sure to hop in the boom net and take a ride IN the ocean.

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Boom net ride off the back of the catamaran!


3:30pm Nelson Bay

Following your cruise, enjoy some time exploring Nelson Bay. During your exploration, be sure to either eat dinner in town, or purchase a few groceries prior to hopping on the bus back to Samurai to cook in the bush kitchen.

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Samurai bush kitchen.


6:00pm One Mile Beach

Only a 25 minute walk or 15 minute bike ride away from Samurai is beautiful One Mile Beach. Enjoy the sound of waves crashing and the soft sand beneath your feet. Maybe you’ll catch a rainbow or discover a crab hiding in the rocks.

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Serene One Mile Beach.


7:30pm Saltwater Pool

Upon returning to the hostel, take a dip and cool off in the 11meter, 36 foot long salt water pool Samurai offers and enjoy the dinner you just cooked.

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Saltwater pool.

9:30pm Wind Down

At the end of your night relax in “the shed” with a game of pool, some television, playing cards with the other travelers, read a book, or maybe pop in a movie before crashing in your bunk.

Christian Buck

Johnson & Wales University | 12 stories

Christian is a Sports, Entertainment, & Event Management alumna from Johnson & Wales University Charlotte campus. Texas born, Colorado raised, North Carolina educated, with an Australian study abroad. No regrets, just lessons learned. "Cause if you never leave home/never let go/you'll never make it to the great unknown/till you keep your eyes open" - NEEDTOBREATHE

2 responses to “A day in Port Stephens NSW, Australia”

  1. Tanis says:

    Wow – all of that sounds amazing! Wish I was there with you 🙂 So glad you are having the time of your life!!

  2. Beth Smith says:

    Great blog, Christian! So happy for you – you are going to have so many great stories to tell and so many memories. I’m glad I can experience parts with you through your blog 🙂

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