Exploring the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park

One of the Sydney tours scenic destinations is the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park. The marine and estuarine sanctuary hosts a rich and diverse marine life including the bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, great white sharks and much more.


The Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park is one of the most spectacular marine parks in Australia. It hosts a diverse marine as well as estuarine life. With only two-and-a-half hour of drive away from Sydney, Port Stephens is a place to go for some exciting marine adventures.

The marine park’s seascapes consist of sandy beaches, mangroves, and cool blue waters. The coastlines are dotted with accessible beaches including Nelson Bay Beach, One Mile Beach, and Stockton Beach. They are among the best of beaches in the world.

With a total area of 98,000 hectares, there sure is plenty of things to explore in the waters of Port Stephens, something that Sydney tours adventurers would look forward to. The protected marine park supports a wide range of aquamarine and estuarine biodiversity. Various species of fish, crustaceans, invertebrates, beach worms, molluscs, and seaweeds are found in the area. Sea turtles including loggerhead, green, leatherback and hawksbill also populate the park.

Over 200 different species of fish breed in the marine park including the protected and endangered black rock cod, great white shark, grey nurse shark, bottlenose dolphins, and common dolphins.

Dolphin-watching onboard a cruise ship is a daily tourism activity in Nelson Bay. In April to November, people do whale-watching in some selected vantage points. Migrating humpback whales would pass by the marine park.

The estuaries of Port Stephens are covered with mangroves, saltmarsh, and seagrass; and the rocky shores are a home to a variety of seabirds, barnacles, algae, and many other life forms.

The seasides are sanctuaries for the seabirds, shorebirds, and migratory birds. More than 120 species of migratory and resident shorebirds including the little tern, grey-tailed tattler, Mongolian Plover, the bush stone-curlew, and the endemic and highly endangered Gould’s petrel can be seen in the mudflats, swamps, and beaches.

Port Stephens has a lot to showcase whether above water or underwater. Wonderful beaches, impressive coral reefs, cool blue waters, marine biodiversity, and estuarine life are good enough a reason Port Stephens is a must-visit Sydney tours scenic attraction in New South Wales.

Snorkel to view the corals in the shallows or dive into the depths to view a magnificent world underwater. If you love fishing like me, then you can cast a line to catch your catch. For adventurers and thrill seekers who like to brave the waves and the rip, then you can choose a spot to surf. And if you want to see the marine life of Port Stephens without dipping yourself in the water, then whale-watching or dolphin-watching on board a boat or a cruise is just right for you.

A day of touring around the region would not be sufficient, but it is a good start to explore the richness and beauty of Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park.

Wildlife Tours Australia offers Sydney tours packages including a guided day tour to Port Stephens where you can watch the bottlenose and common dolphins on board Moonshadow-TQC Cruises. You have a choice whether to swim in the turquoise waters of Nelson Bay Beach or to go sandboarding in the sand dunes of Stockton Beach.

By Kelvene Requiroso, content writer and member of the SEO team of the Melbourne-based Get Lost Travel Group.

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