When anyone thinks about Australia, and any of the many miles of beaches, the pictures that usually come to mind are sea life, surfing and sand dunes. Going to Tea Gardens in Port Stephens is no exception to this idyllic vision, and it has many inlets and bays for the family to explore. It also offers a whole range of holiday accommodation for just about any budget too, and this is what makes it the ideal place to go off to and have some fun.
One of the most exciting things to do anywhere in the world is to swim out and see the dolphins. Those who are not so energetic can get on a charter boat and take along a camera to snap these adorable creatures frolicking in the surf.
Or, take a visit to Tilligerry Nature Reserve to see some of the indigenous animals that reside there. The Tour and Koala Discovery takes about one and a half hours and is ideal for families who want to get away from the beach for a while. There are demonstrations of what the Worimi people did with herbal plants and visitors can try their hands at identifying plant life while learning about the local European history. Indeed, the reserve has a coastal forest and wetlands too and is open every day. The kids will love trying their hand at boomerang throwing too, and lessons are given to those who are interested.
Don’t imagine anyone will be left reading a book or watching TV in the holiday home at Tea Gardens. There really is something for everyone.
In the Boat Harbour, keep a lookout for those migrating giants, the whales. Since there are approximately nine thousand Humpbacks which pass here during the winter months, there is a very good chance of spotting one or two. There are charter boats which go out into the bay a get closer look at these magnificent creatures and no one will ever forget the first time they see that iconic tail flip out of the water.
People who like more peaceful pursuits will spot many places, along the scenic walk to Morna Point, where they can cast off and try their hand at catching lunch or supper. Land a big one, or even a clutch of smaller ones and impress the family with your grilling skills back at the holiday home barbie.
In spring, the place is vibrant with wild flowers and, if people take their time on this walk, they can watch the sun setting over the rocks, while those playful dolphins still play amongst the waves.
A more intense and exciting sport, of course, is deep sea fishing so, for the avid enthusiast, a trip out into the vast ocean is a great way to see the land from an ocean vantage point. The crew will usually clean the catch ready for that barbecue.
There are so many things to do here that it is hard to name all of the places to see and experience something different. From parasailing to shipwreck tours and from long sunset walks for the romantic to horse riding among the dunes, this is a delightful corner of Australia that needs a lot of exploring!
Winter runs from around May to November and this is the ideal time to see those huge whales mentioned earlier. This is also the time when the weather is cooler so, for those who don’t like too much heat, it really is the best time to visit. Christmas to March sees the hottest months.
Accommodation in Tea Gardens and the surrounding areas is very varied since this is a real tropical paradise for tourists. Families usually like to have something a little more private, like a serviced apartment with a pool or a rental holiday home so that they can just be free. However, there are many world class hotels offering accommodation too so it is really down to personal taste and budgets.
Flying out of Heathrow is the simplest way to get to Australia. Sydney is the destination airport and Port Stephens is around two and a half hours by car. Tourists are advised to book up as much as they can from the UK, like excursion tickets and accommodation etc, plus car hire or transfers, to make it easier for the family when they arrive tired from the trip.