Two days, ten beaches, 27 kilometres, and one epic walking trail. From forests bursting with wildflowers to vast beaches sandwiched by towering sand dunes and irresistibly blue water, Amy found herself feeling awe-struck along the newly-opened Tomaree Coastal Walk.


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

Officially opened on the 1st of September 2023, the Grade 4 Tomaree Coastal Walk is Port Stephens’ newest overnight hike, just 2.5 hours north of Sydney on the NSW coast.

The point-to-point route spans 27 km from Tomaree Head Summit to Birubi Point through Tomaree National Park. The entire hike can be completed in 2 days, with accommodation options of all levels available close to the route.

About the Tomaree Coastal Walk

The Tomaree Coastal Walk strings together Port Stephens’ surreal coastline, offering access to off-the-beaten-path beaches, culturally significant landscapes, and 2,318 hectares of protected flora and fauna.

The trail itself snakes through native shrubs on rocky headlands, across deserted beaches home to resident dolphins (and in season, whales), and ends at Birubi Point Aboriginal Place and the Worimi Conservation Lands, home to NSW’s largest sand dunes.

Read more: 9 Epic Whale Watching Spots Near Sydney


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Beach, NSW

Walking through paradise is 100% the vibe


You can do the hike in a single day, but to take full advantage of the beauty and immerse yourself entirely in nature, set aside two or three days and enjoy the excuse to slow down. With ten beaches dotted along the route, you’ll want to make time to swim, enjoy the scenery, and graze on a packed picnic.

There are plenty of opportunities to stop, but the stand-out highlights to me were Big Rocky Lookout – a sacred place to the local Worimi people – and the dramatic headland where Samurai Beach meets One Mile Beach. For a morning swim, you can’t beat a dip at the secluded Wreck Beach while the sun rises over the water.

History of the Tomaree Coastal Walk

The Tomaree Coastal Walk is a new addition to Port Stephens’ menu of adventures. The new hike connects a former walking track with an additional 17km of brand-new coastal trail, connecting the town’s jaw-dropping beaches from Shoal Bay to Anna Bay. After four years of development, the upgraded walk officially opened to the public in September 2023.

One of the track’s drawcards is undoubtedly the landscape’s history. Tomaree National Park is culturally significant to the Worimi Aboriginal people; a community who have occupied this land for tens of thousands of years.

Birubi Point Aboriginal Place, an area long used for traditional family gatherings and ceremonies, is of particular significance. Here, one of the oldest recorded shellfish hooks on the east coast of Australia was discovered.

The park has played a key role in the region’s non-Aboriginal history, too. Significant landmarks include the Port Stephens Lighthouse, built in 1862, and the World War II gun emplacement on Tomaree Head.

Did you know? Tomaree is an English translation of the Gathang word Dhurrumiri, which means ‘place of rainbow’.


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Trees, Forest trail, NSW

Don’t forget about the super curly tree branches!

How Do You Get to the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

The Tomaree Coastal Walk starts at Tomaree Headland on the east end of Shoal Bay in Port Stephens. From the car park, head along the Zenith Beach Track. Or you can do the optional Tomaree Head Summit Walk to start your hike with a bang (hot tip: go for sunrise).

Given this is a point-to-point multi-day hike, you’ll need to plan your pick up before you head off, and it’s worth keeping in mind that there are limited taxis and Ubers in the area. If you’re travelling with mates, a good option is leaving a car at either end of the hike.

During quieter months there is plenty of parking, however keep it mind it can get very busy during the busy summer months.


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, coastline, Port Stephens, Beach, NSW

Don’t blame us when you don’t want to leave!

Where to Stay Along the Tomaree Coastal Walk

There are plenty of great places to stay in Port Stephens, located just off the track, or nearby in Nelson Bay. With some careful time planning, you can walk straight up to your accommodation after your first day of hiking. Here are the best places to stay on the Tomaree Coastal Walk.

Samurai Beach Campground

If you’re after the ultimate adventure, make a base at Samurai Beach Campground. This self-sufficient campsite sits on the north end of the beach and is enveloped by mammoth sand dunes. You’ll usually see more 4WDs on the beach than people. Though, don’t be surprised when you see someone without their Budgy Smugglers on. It’s a nudist beach, after all. Be free my friends!

Ingenia Holiday Parks

For those on the hunt for a less self-sufficient camping option, Ingenia Holidays have two parks perfectly positioned at One Mile Beach and Middle Rock – offering tent sites or cabins for larger groups, if you’re bringing your whole crew.

Koala Sanctuary

The Koala Sanctuary’s four-star glamping tents are perched beneath eucalypt trees that parakeets, kookaburras, possums, and koalas call home. The property can be accessed via Samurai Beach, but you’ll need to have checked in beforehand.

While we were here we joined a guided Koala Walk. Seeing rehabilitated koalas munching on their morning leaves and snoozing in the treetops was an incredible way to start our day!

Skill Level


The Tomaree Coastal Walk is listed as a Grade 4 hike. While I was surprised to have mobile reception the entire time, I found myself relying on Google Maps during a  couple of sections of the hike where signposting was a little scarce. This was mostly along the rocky headlands, particularly between One Mile and Boat Harbour, where the signposts consisted of yellow arrows marked on the rock. These rocky areas are easy enough for intermediate hikers but could become pretty slippy in wet weather.


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Rock hopping, beach hiking, hiker, Beach, NSW

Channeling my inner mountain goat


The full route isn’t wheelchair accessible and you’ll need to be self-sufficient over the course of each day, but many smaller routes and lookouts are more easily accessed – including Iris Moore Picnic Area and Lookout, Birubi Point Aboriginal Place, Fingal Bay Beach, and Barry Park.

Water and toilet facilities are limited; the first facility along the track is 4.2km into the walk at Fingal Bay. Our first day was a lot warmer than we expected for August and we almost ran out. Definitely pack more water (and food) than you think you’ll need!

Distance / Duration / Elevation

27 km point-to-point / 2-3 days / 684m elevation

Essential Gear for the Tomaree Coastal Walk

  • Plenty of water
  • Enough food for lunch and snacks
  • Hat and enough sunscreen for two days
  • Swimmers and a towel (not mandatory, but highly recommended)
  • First aid kit including a snake bite kit
  • If you’re camping, a lightweight tent and sleeping gear
  • Grippy, supportive shoes
  • A phone with enough battery to call a taxi when you finish
  • Emergency cash for a taxi
  • Toilet paper and a rubbish bag to put it in (remember to leave no trace)

What’s It Like To Hike the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

Day 1 – Tomaree Head to Samurai Beach

Distance: 18km
Duration: 6 to 8 hours

Walking along the track onto Zenith Beach gives you a taste of what’s to come. Perched beneath the epic 160-metre-high Tomaree Head Summit, it’s a breathtaking beach to kick-start your day. From Zenith, you’ll hike the former walking track, which snakes through coastal angophora forest. Be warned: this section is hilly, but it gets easier. Especially if you cool off for a morning swim at the secluded Wreck Beach (which I highly recommend).


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, forest, boardwalk, NSW

Love a bit of boardwalk so you can focus on the surroundings instead of your feet!


Hot tip: Starting the hike with the optional Tomaree Head Summit Walk is totally worth it while the legs are fresh! The steep climb is 2.2km return and will take around two hours.

Being late August, the trail was lined with blooming wildflowers. Combined with the dense forest that enclosed the track and wild ocean vistas, I was in nature heaven. Well, minus the snake encounter! Luckily it was only a little one.


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Rock hopping, coastal hiking, hiker, headland, NSW

The views are great and the area is a haven for wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled


The headland between Fingal Bay and Samurai Beach was the highlight of this section for us. The national park was coated in banksia and sunshine-yellow Silver cassia shrubs, while Big Rocky was surrounded by crystal-clear water and little turquoise rock pools. We sat here for a bite to eat, but I kicked myself for not jumping in for a swim!

Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any more beautiful, we turned a corner and one of the best sunsets I’d seen in a good while was beaming right at us, lighting up the mountains beneath.


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Sunset, NSW

Goodnight world

Day 2 – Samurai Beach/One Mile to Birubi Point

Distance: 9km
Duration: 3 to 4 hours

Walking along Samurai and One Mile Beach was another highlight of the track. It’s not every day you’re the only people on such a stunning stretch of sand – and yet, there we were with it all to ourselves.

Then there’s the enormous sand dunes. Did I run down them like a child? Hell yeah I did.


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Sand dunes, NSW



The bluff between the two was even better. The sandstone stairs zig-zag around the peninsula, providing a panoramic view of both beaches and the ocean. Standing there above the crashing waves made me feel small, in that sought-after, wondrous kind of way.

Another favourite lookout was at the top of the One Mile Beach stairs.

Hot tip: Before you hit these, there’s a toilet block and a cafe behind the Life Surfing Club. There isn’t another stop for a while, so I’d recommend using these facilities.

This beach is also a great surf spot. After walking for a few minutes I realised I’d surfed here a few years ago. That’s what’s so cool about this walk, it joins the dots between the town’s best spots.

The last section of the walk sees you hiking over rocks, which adds that extra sense of adventure. Reaching Birubi Aboriginal Point and laying eyes on the never-ending sand dune landscape was an awesome way to finish the hike.

Of course, I fell over on the pavement as soon as I pressed stop on my watch. D’oh.


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Beach, happy hiker, sand hiking, NSW

Hangin’ around for that sunset glow

Tips For Hiking the Tomaree Coastal Walk

  • Start early on day one, with enough time to finish at your accommodation before dark (check what time sunset is)
  • Book your accommodation or campsite before you go
  • Have dinner ready at your accommodation or be prepared to get a taxi to Shoal Bay. Limited restaurants are open from Monday to Wednesday
  • Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, dolphins, and whales
  • Be prepared for limited toilet facilities
  • Check the weather forecast, coastal weather can get wild!

If you have time, walk Tomaree Head Summit for sunrise. The views are unbelievable!


Tomaree Coastal Walk – An Overnight Hike Just North of Sydney, Amy Fraser, Beach, NSW

Is it calling your name?

FAQs Tomaree Coastal Walk

How long does it take to hike the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

The walk should take anywhere between 9 to 12 hours of walking, and is usually done over two or three days.

How far is the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

The walk is 27km. The Tomaree Head Summit walk is part of this and is 2.2km and climbs 161m.

How hard is the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

The walk is suitable for beginner multi day hikers and older children. We still rate it an intermediate level of difficulty because of the length and how remote it is, but it’s a great starting point if you’re interested in longer hikes.

How much does it cost to do the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

The walk itself is free! You’ll have to pay for accommodation in town, or camping spot at Samurai Beach, as well as a taxi back to your car (about $50 with Nelson Bay Taxis).

What’s the best time of year to hike the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

The walk is open year-round! Autumn and spring offer the best temperature and spring will have wildflowers. Winter is best for spotting humpback whales migrating while summer is best for swimming, but be prepared to carry heaps of water and sun protection.

What hikes are similar to the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

The Murramarang South Coast Walk is another NSW walk that follows the coastline and allows for swims and water refills.

Where can I go for more information on the Tomaree Coastal Walk?

For the most up to date information on the hike, visit the NSW National Parks website.