Situated approximately three hours' drive north of Sydney and one hour from Newcastle, beautiful sunny Port Stephens on New South Wales' mid-north coast is one of the state's most popular year-round playgrounds. Approximately one hundred thirty square kilometres in area, this large sheltered expanse of water is a natural wonderland, as well as a great place for fun-loving backpackers to stay in the hostel and indulge in water sports such as swimming, sailing, skiing, snorkeling, whale-watching, diving, and canoeing.
For those who like their water sports to be more extreme, it’s also possible to enjoy jet-skiing and parasailing, while cool things to do on the dry land include hiking, horse-riding, mountain biking, and go-carting. Alternatively, if simply chilling out is more your thing, there are dozens of lovely, sandy beaches throughout the area where you can swim in crystal-clear water and relax in the sun.
Surrounded by classic Australian bushland and kilometres of beautiful natural coastline, Port Stephens is also a magnet for nature-lovers. Myall Lakes National Park, Tomaree National Park, and Tilligerry National Park -- as well as several other nature reserves -- are all a short drive away, and wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, possums, and echidnas can all be spotted in the area. There are also many native birds to be seen, including kookaburras, parrots, and galahs, while dolphins can often be observed out in the bay. In winter you might even see a whale. Most national parks and nature reserves have walking trails, so if you’re active and adventurous, be sure to check these out.
Port Stephens isn't one specific town, but consists of several pretty villages scattered along the bays and throughout the bushland of the area. Although most of the action is centred on Nelson’s Bay, there are several other picturesque spots close by, including Soldier’s Point, Anna Bay, Fingal Bay, and Hawk’s Nest.
To cater for independent travelers visiting the area, there are several backpacker hostels in Port Stephens and its surrounds; most offer a very high standard of budget accommodation, as well as the option to book local tours, cruises, and other leisure activities. Many also offer bike, canoe, and surfboard hire. Most backpacker hostels in Port Stephens are situated close to public transport, shops, and other facilities, making them convenient for those who don't have their own transport.
Port Stephens is very easily accessible, being located just a short distance off the Pacific Highway, the main route connecting Sydney with the New South Wales north coast and Queensland. After leaving Newcastle, many backpackers spend a few days relaxing here before heading further north. For travelers using public transport, several bus companies service the Port Stephens area, including Greyhound and Port Stephens Coaches. Since it's on such a popular route, several buses head in either direction each day.
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