There’s more to Port Stephens than its adventurous coastline. Amy ventured west and discovered the region’s historic hinterland, where charming farm gates meet quintessential country pubs and snaking waterways.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Worimi people, who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Port Stephens is situated just 2.5 hours north of Sydney on the NSW coast. The Port Stephens Hinterland encompasses a patchwork of small villages and rural communities known for their local produce and history. The region is located west of Raymond Terrace between Port Stephens, Newcastle, and the Hunter Valley wine region.

About the Port Stephens Hinterland

While many flock to the region’s beaches, the Port Stephens Hinterland offers an authentic experience; its old-world country towns and vibrant farmlands feel like a world away from the town’s pristine Shoal Bay.

You can explore the hinterland in one day. But to fully immerse yourself, set aside two days and one night. There’s plenty to do between the villages – Woodville, Hinton, Seaham, and Glen Oak – from active adventures to leisurely local produce tastings.

Home to some of Australia’s oldest-running establishments, culture buffs can go nuts setting their sights on buildings and businesses rich in history. For nature lovers, the hinterland offers a profound sense of calm, with idyllic farm stays, walking trails, and waterways to ground yourself in nature.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace


Port Stephens Hinterland History

The hinterland of Port Stephens is steeped in both colonial history and Aboriginal culture. The area has been home to the Worimi Aboriginal People, the Traditional Owners of the land, for tens of thousands of years.

The Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve, part of the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, is particularly rich in Aboriginal and geological history. Here, ancient glacial thaw water which dates back approximately 120 million years ago, was discovered and researched from 1925. In the earlier days, the reserve was a significant resource to the local Aboriginal community; the abundant melaleuca (paperbark) was used for cooking, canoes, and fishing lines.

The hinterland’s landscape has long been a Mecca for agriculture. While each township has its unique history, many of these communities house establishments formed in the 18th century, including the locally celebrated Victoria Hotel and Woodville Store.


How to Get to the Port Stephens Hinterland

The Port Stephens Hinterland is made up of a collection of villages and towns, which makes exploring by car your best option. The nearest city is Newcastle, which is just a 50-minute drive away. From Sydney, you’re looking at a two-hour drive, or if you’re extending an adventure around Port Stephens, you can reach Woodville in 50 minutes from Shoal Bay.

Where to Stay in the Hinterland of Port Stephens

Vintage Steel Accommodation

For larger groups looking for a unique experience, Vintage Steel located in Hinton, is as quirky as they come. It’s really what it says on the tin: an enormous steel house made from heritage ironbark timber. From the outside, you might mistake it for a farm shed. But just wait.

Expect exposed steel beams, luxury furnishings, retro decor, and a custom-built wood heater that doubles as a pizza oven. Oh, did I mention the pool?


Urban Connection Farm Retreat

The phrase ‘When in Rome’ springs to mind here. The region is bathed in farmland, so where better to stay than on an actual farm? Aside from running group retreats and farm experiences, Urban Connection Farm Retreat hosts up to six guests in their modern Farm Cottage.

While you’re there you can book a massage or workshop, or order a hamper packed with fresh produce.


Tiny Away

Given the hinterland’s remote, scenic landscape, it may not come as a surprise to find Tiny Away – one of Australia’s leading tiny home groups – has laid foundations here. The Clyde tiny house sits on the banks of the Williams River on a heritage property known for being a historical shipyard in the late 1800s.

Complete with a balcony perched overlooking the river, it’s one heck of a romantic spot for couples. Or, in our case, a gorgeous place for a friend’s getaway!


Hinton Chapel

For a tiny township, Hinton packs a punch with its unique stays. Have you ever spent a night in a church? Didn’t think so.

Just a stone’s throw from the Victoria Inn Pub is the Heritage-listed Hinton Chapel. Established in 1856 and formerly a Church of England, the property has been decommissioned and refurbished to welcome groups of up to six. Expect plenty of old-world remnants, including ornate stained glass windows.

Where to Eat in the Hinterland of Port Stephens

Victoria Hotel

Who doesn’t love a quintessential country town pub? Another, and perhaps the most iconic, historic building in Hinton is the Victoria Hotel. Established in 1840, this local hotspot is in the books as one of Australia’s oldest continually-licensed hotels. Stop by for a hearty lunch and a refreshing beer. We ordered a meal from the $16 lunch menu and it hit the spot.


Riverhouse Cafe

If you’re after a peaceful place to sip coffee or grab a bite to eat, then add the Riverhouse Cafe in Raymond Terrace to your list. The historic building has been given a new lease of life, one with a gorgeous deck to take in sweeping views of the Hunter River and surrounding farmlands.

Things to Do in the Hinterland of Port Stephens

  • Stop by Medowie Macadamia Farm, Australia’s southernmost macadamia farm
  • Walk or cycle along the Seaham Shared Pathways
  • Browse the Woodville Store – Australia’s oldest continually running business established in 1844
  • Go birdwatching at the Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve
  • Pick up local produce at In Our Hands Farmgate or join a Garden Ramble farm-to-plate experience
  • Drive for an hour to taste wines in the picturesque Hunter Valley wine region
  • Go kayaking along the Hinton River
  • Visit Morpeth, a living museum
  • If heading south, start the hinterland journey at The Farmers Wife Gin Distillery (25 mins from Medowie)

Read more: Port Stephens’ New 27km Coastal Walk is Officially Open: And We Got Early Access


Essential Gear for the Port Stephens Hinterland

  • A bottle of water
  • Snacks
  • Hat, sunglasses. and sunscreen
  • A camera (you’ll regret not capturing these scenes!)
  • Swimwear for kayaking
  • Cash
  • Tastebuds

What the Port Stephens Hinterland is Like to Visit

Without much prior knowledge of the hinterland, our time here felt like a magical mystery tour; every place was a surprise. Especially for my friend Dale who spontaneously came along for the ride. Here are a couple of our trip highlights.


Medowie Macadamia Nut Farm

On our way into the hinterland, we stopped at the family-run Medowie Macadamia Farm for a coffee in the sun-drenched garden. While I was tempted by the breakfast and lunch menu, it was the towering shelves of local goods and macadamias – roasted, chocolate-smothered and salted – that caught my attention.

We had a chat with Scott, the owner, who pointed out the 45-year-old macadamia trees fringing the garden and his daughter behind the counter, who plans to take over the business one day. Sitting here, it was clear Scott had created something special for both his family and the community. He said, ‘I’ve had people sit here in both 45 degrees and pissing down rain’.



In Our Hands Farmgate

This was our favourite surprise of the day. After winding through remote fields, we arrived at a quaint shed, full to the brim with fresh produce from the In Our Hands Family Farm. The shelves were stocked with everything from bone broth to chutney, fresh herbs, and honeycomb. We used the honesty system to purchase our treats. Apple mint tea leaves for me and a mulled wine-making kit for Dale! (I know, Dale totally won that round).

Woodville Store

We couldn’t go to the hinterland without checking out the historic Woodville Store. We stepped onto its deck lined with potted plants and wandered beneath the hand-written welcome sign to discover a surprising amount of produce.

Next door was a cute outdoor coffee shop, busy with locals enjoying their mid-morning coffee on the garden’s collection of colourful benches. Unfortunately, my cashless pockets meant I couldn’t buy a coffee. But I did meet a huge fluffy dog who rolled onto my feet for a good five minutes. Arguably better than a hot brew.

Tips for Visiting the Port Stephens Hinterland

  • Plan your toilet stops. We couldn’t find a toilet in Woodville, even at the coffee shop
  • Call ahead or check online to make sure places are open
  • Book your accommodation in advance
  • I had a signal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some networks are patchy in certain areas
  • Bring cash! In Our Hands Farmgate and The Coffee Cubby next to the Woodville Store takes cash only

Port Stephens Hinterland FAQs

What’s the best time of year to visit the Port Stephens Hinterland?

The Port Stephens interland is nice at all times of year, but it’s particularly cosy in the cooler months from April through to September.

How far is the Port Stephens Hinterland from Sydney?

The Port Stephens Hinterland begins roughly two hours north of Sydney if you drive along the M1.