Port Stephens is one the most special places in the country, with the largest moving coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, a thriving and diverse marine environment of the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park that stretches north from Birubi Beach to Forster and is home to various species of dolphins, turtles, fish, and seabirds, and mountains that look like they belong on a tropical island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean rather than the mainland.

There are many walks for visitors to explore the various landscapes of the region, from Tomaree National Park to the Worimi Conservation Lands. Below is our list that we have compiled of our most favourite walks in Port Stephens.

Mt Tomaree Port Stephens NSW


1. Mt Tomaree Summit Walk

Not for the fainthearted, the Mt. Tomaree Summit walk offers up the best views of the area and is well worth the effort if you are up for it. This cardio climb will take you up the 161m mountain where you will be rewarded with the most breathtaking 360-degree views of Port Stephens along the way and from the two viewing platforms at the summit.

Towards the north you can clearly see Yacabba Headland, the protected nature reserve islands of Boondelbah and Cabbage Tree, and then all the way to Broughton Island in the northeast. Looking towards the south, there are views of the stunning Zenith, Wreck, and Box Beaches all the way out to Fingal Spit, Fingal Island, and beyond.

If you time your visit with whale watching season, you should be able to spot breaching whales. Make sure you take some water and a snack to sit and enjoy the scenery at the picnic area at the top, and don't forget the camera as you will definitely want to capture the iconic views. 

With steep steps and paved sections that can become slippery, we recommend not to attempt this walk in wet weather.

Difficulty level: Hard

Time: ~1.5-2hrs return

Distance: 2.2km


Tomaree Head Summit Walk, Port Stephens - Destination NSWTomaree Head Summit Walk, Port Stephens - Destination NSW


2. Wreck Beach Walking Trail

Possibly one of Port Stephens's best-kept secrets, this short walk to Tomaree's Wreck Beach is a definite favourite for anyone wanting to find a picturesque and secluded beach on their travels to spend some quality time at. You can find parking at Verona Road in Shoal Bay and then begin by heading up the Wreck Beach Fire Trail to you find the walk that takes you to the cove. There are short sections of single track and steps so this one might not be accessible for some walkers.

Wreck Beach is a brilliant spot for a picnic and a selfie. However, if you want to go for a swim, then we suggest heading down to either Box Beach or the patrolled Fingal Beach, both of which have better facilities.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Time: ~30min-1hr return

Distance: 2km

Wreck Beach Beach Port Stephens NSW-1


3. Fingal Beach to Tomaree Headland

If you are looking for a longer walk or bike ride to elevate the heart rate, then this moderately easy grade section of the Tomaree Coastal Walk from the shared bicycle path of Fingal Bay's foreshore to Tomaree Headland might be what you are looking for.

There are two options that you can take depending on your ability or if you decide to bike there or travel on foot. The sealed cycleway is the easiest route and makes for an enjoyable, accessible walk or bike ride for the whole family. The alternative is the scenic forest route. However, this way emerges at the spit on the return with a difficult dune and soft sand beach walk back to the Fingal Bay Surf Life Saving Club so it might not be for everyone.

Highlights of this walk are the views, and if you have the time for a couple of detours, Zenith, Wreck and Box Beaches are along the way and worth the extra time if you haven't yet checked them out.

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Time: ~2.5-3.5hr return

Distance: 8.7km return

Bushwalking, Tomaree National Park NSW - Destination Port StephensBushwalking, Tomaree National Park - Destination Port Stephens


4. Tillligerry Habitat Reserve

This walk is a must do, especially for eco travellers and families with children. The loop begins at the Visitor Centre and travels over gravel paths and coastal boardwalks. There is a diverse range of vegetation to be explored, from forest, coastal scrub and wetland environments that support a plethora of Native species from including plants, birds, and marsupials, and many visitors have spotted a koala (the hint is to look for the claw marks on the tree trunks and for scats on the ground). 

Make sure you check out the maps and guides and kids' activity sheets so you can learn about the different species. You can get maps and activity sheets at the volunteer run Visitor Centre open 9am-3pm daily, or on the website.

Difficulty level: Easy

Time: ~30mins-1hr

Distance: 2km loop

There is also an 11.5km option for this walk, the Tilligerry Peninsula Circuit, which is a great for those looking for more of a challenge.  

Tilligerry Peninsula Port Stephens NSW


5. Birubi Beach Walk

Within the Worimi Conservation Lands, the Birubi Beach Walk is a great way to explore the Stockton Sand Dunes. Take the walk along the water's edge where the walking is a little easier, especially at low tide, and go as far as you like. With a 32km stretch of awe-inspiring sand dunes to experience, very few people make the entire journey to the end and back again.

Most people start at the Birubi Point Surf LifeSaving Club which is the perfect spot if you want to cool down with a swim or surf at the end, but if you would prefer to beat the crowds, there is another access point to the dunes from Lavis Lane where Sand Dune Adventures run their cultural, sand surfing and quad bike tours from. 

Although the sand may not be accessible for everyone, there are free beach wheelchairs that can you can book from the Fingal Bay Surf Life Saving Club and transport to Birubi so that wheelchair users can enjoy this must-do experience. 

Difficulty level: Easy

Time: As long as you like!

Distance: up to 34km return

Birubi Beach Port Stephens NSW


6. Worimi Forest Walk

Located 45mins away from Seaside Holiday Resort in Fingal Bay, the Worimi Forest Walk at the southern end of the Stockton Sand Dunes is another great walk in stunning Port Stephens. Beginning at the car park on the Fern Bay Access Trail, the walk will take you past native vegetation that includes old man banksias, coastal sand apple blackbutt trees and swamp mahogany paperbark to you reach the dunes. 

This is an easy grade walk, but there are some steps without handrails. 

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Time: ~45mins-1hr

Distance: 2.8km return

Worimi Conservation Lands, Port Stephens - Destination NSWWorimi Conservation Lands, Port Stephens - Destination NSW


7. Gan Gan Hill Lookout

Gan Gan is the highest lookout in Port Stephens with a 160m above sea-level viewing platform, and commands excellent views of the area, making it a great addition to the holiday itinerary. The 270-degree aspect from the top allows clear views of Nelson Bay, Yacabba Headland and Hawks Nest, Tomaree National Park, Stockton Sand Dunes and all the way to Newcastle.

There are two options to reach the lookout at the top. For a gentle-sloped wheelchair-accessible 100m short walk to the viewing platform, simply drive up to the carpark on Lily Hill Road, but please note, the carpark gets busy at peak times so you may have to wait for a spot. For those wanting a longer walk taking anywhere from a 0.5-1.5 hours, start at the base of Gan Gan and make your way up to the top.

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Time: ~10mins, or 0.5-1.5hrs

Distance: ~200m, or 2km return

View from Gan Gan Lookout Port Stephens NSW

If you are looking for more bushwalking tracks that are not as well trodden, there are many walking trails in the Tomaree National Park surrounding Fingal Bay that you can take.

Find more things to do when visiting the incredible Port Stephens region.


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Taryn Blight

Written by Taryn Blight