Why the hell did I procrastinate for so long before heading north to explore Port Stephens?

Between its plethora of idyllic beaches, sand mountains and dreamy seascapes, it’s got all the makings for an unbelievable weekend from Sydney. And then some.

So that’s exactly what the missus and I set out to do over the long weekend, with a tunnel-visioned focus on finding a blissful beach escape.

We found one, that’s for sure.

Port Stephens is a 2-hour drive up the Pacific Highway from Sydney (on a good run) and can be a popular escape for Sydney escape artists and central coasters. We realised this when we pulled into the area’s main hub and beach, Nelson Bay. Jeez it was busy. The idea of towel-sharing with a stranger didn’t excite us hugely, so we continued around the headland to Shoal Bay, which was much more like what we were after (especially at the quieter northern end). With its long curving aspect and steep pointed headlands it felt more like Copacabana Beach here, minus the g-strings and capoeira.

The faint screams of children in the distance were still just a bit too much though. Perfection is what we were searching for after all and we wanted something even more private. We hopped back into the car and drove slightly further south through Tomaree National Park to a seemingly empty Wreck Beach.

Paradise found.

As the sun entered the latter stages of its kaleidoscopic descent behind us, we took a moment to appreciate where we were and just how incredibly lucky we are to have these magnificent escapes on our doorstep. We vowed to continue striving for unbeaten paths and the less crowded options where the rewards are just a whole lot sweeter.

The following day we continued south for a morning of walking and exploring the wonders of Fingal Bay, before returning to our base in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. A day of towel-sharing at Bondi Beach on the Bank Holiday Monday awaited us…

tent port stephens beach