Even if you didn’t know the name of this iconic Port Stephens walk, you’ll likely have seen a photo of it from the summit. The Tomaree Head Summit Walk needs to be on your list, so here’s what to know before you go.
We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Worimi people who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
- Perfect spot for dolphin and whale watching (when in season)
- Stunning views over Port Stephens and nearby islands
- A scenic walking track in Tomaree National Park
- A relatively easy summit for beginners
- Bonus: a shot at the summit makes a great dating profile photo
Why You Should do The Tomaree Head Summit Walk
A day or weekend in the idyllic Port Stephens isn’t complete without visiting Tomaree National Park and doing the Tomaree Head Summit Walk. Less than a three-hour car ride from Sydney, this invigorating short walk offers one of the most iconic and most beautiful views in all of NSW (yes, it’s a bloody big call and you can fight me on it!).
If you’ve seen photos from the summit, trust me when I say pictures don’t do it justice. It’s a truly breathtaking view (you’ll really be breathless after the quick hike to the top).
Pro Tip: Making it up to Tomaree Head summit in time for sunset is truly something else – just make sure you give yourself enough time to walk back down the trail while there’s still some light (or BYO headtorch!).
The Hike Up Tomaree Mountain Isn’t That Hard
The Tomaree Head Summit Walk is a quickie but a goodie. What’s great about this walk is it’s great for newbies to the world of hiking, but you’ll still feel a sense of accomplishment once you make it to the top. Meanwhile, the walk is short enough to give you plenty of time to explore everything else Port Stephens has to offer.
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
Interestingly, the NSW National Parks rate this walk as Grade 5, which is a bit of a surprise. For reference, Grade 5 is the highest grade and according to NSW National Parks is for: ‘Very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked. Walks may be more than 20km.’
The summit walk is certainly steep, but not as steep as some lower graded walks around Sydney. We’d say most beginners could comfortably do this walk.
How long does it take to climb Tomaree Head?
Allowing yourself between 1.5 to 2 hours, you’ll enjoy unparalleled views of Port Stephens and its mesmerising coastline. From the summit, you’ll see panoramic views from the north platform of Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah Islands.
Fun fact! These two nature reserves are the world’s only nesting sites for the endangered Gould’s petrel.
From the south platform, catch some epic views over Tomaree National Park of Zenith Beach, Wreck Beach, Box Beach, Fingal Island, and Point Stephens Lighthouse.
After you’ve taken your happy snaps (and one for the Bumble profile), there’s a picnic table where you can enjoy a packed picnic lunch.
If you’re visiting between May and October this is a great spot to whale watch! You’re almost guaranteed to spot pods of whales with their newborn calves, on their migration south.
Be sure to take your binoculars, because at any point you might also be lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins.
On your way back down, don’t forget to try Fort Tomaree walk. It’s an easy walk on a paved track around the lower slopes of Tomaree Head where you can explore local military heritage of World War II gun emplacements, built in 1941 to defend the east coast of Australia.
Finish off your visit by kicking back on the white sands of Zenith Beach, which is right near the start of Tomaree Head Summit Walk.
Please note that Zenith Beach is a sanctuary zone, meaning fishing and collecting of shells or other material is prohibited. Or, if you’re hankering for a feed to reward yourself after your efforts, you can head into nearby Nelson Bay for some city exploring.
How To Get There
Shoal Bay in Port Stephens is about 2 hours and 50 minute drive north of Sydney. The hike is located in Shoal Bay and starts at Tomaree Head carpark on Shoal Bay Road.
There are some information boards in this section with maps of Tomaree National Park which stretches from Tomaree Head to Anna Bay.
- Sturdy shoes (the track is steep and can be slippery)
- Picnic + cold ones for the top
The walk is short but steep and will get the heart pumping. The track is well marked but can get slippery when wet, so wear shoes with good grip. There are plenty of places to stop on the way up to take a breather and enjoy the views.