Fort Tomaree walk
This easy walk on a paved track around the lower slopes of Tomaree Head brings you face-to-face with local military heritage – World War II gun emplacements, built in 1941 to defend the east coast of Australia. Learn about Fort Tomaree from interpretive signs, or take a guided Discovery tour for even more detail.
A further track takes you up elevated walkways on Tomaree Head Summit walk, which offers breathtaking lookout views over Port Stephens and nature reserves like Cabbage Tree Island. Humpbacks migrate past here in winter and spring, so you’ll want to bring your camera for whale watching.
Finish your visit by relaxing on the lovely sands of beautiful Zenith Beach, near where the walk begins. Or make your way to the nearby picnic area; an idyllic spot to unwind underneath the shade of angophora trees.
Directions: start at the Zenith Beach carpark and follow the paved track.
Nelson Bay, Phone: 02 4984 8200
Tomaree Head Summit walk
Take the invigorating short walk to the summit of Tomaree Head, 161m above the Port Stephens entrance. As you hike the track, you’ll enjoy unparalleled views of idyllic Port Stephens and its coastline. From the top, you can even see as far as Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands – these nature reserves are the world’s only nesting sites for the endangered Gould's petrel.
When you reach the summit, the panoramic north coast views are bound to impress. Be sure to check out the historic World War II gun emplacements; you can even take a guided Discovery tour. Take your binoculars as you might be lucky to see some dolphins.
There’s a picnic table at the lookout, so if you have time, take a picnic lunch or some morning tea to enjoy as you take in the view. On the way back down, don’t forget to try Fort Tomaree walk.
Directions: from Nelson Bay follow the Shoal Bay Road to the start of the walk at the Zenith Beach carpark; follow the path to the summit which is paved in parts.
Opening hours: all hours
Nelson Bay, Phone: 02 4984 8200
Wreck Beach walk
If you’re looking for a peaceful spot to soak up the serene marine splendour of Port Stephens, do the easy walk to Wreck Beach - tucked away behind the houses at Shoal Bay and visible from the majestic lookout at Tomaree Head summit.
From Verona Road, follow the track uphill and onto the fire trail which eventually takes you onto Wreck Beach walk. Walking through this lush coastal angophora forest leads onto a small cove, with beautiful sand and open views of the ocean, which is perfect for seasonal whale watching. You might even spot a bottlenose dolphin frolicking with their calf in summer.
You’ll feel great as you walk barefoot along the beach as the water laps at your feet. When you’re finished, settle down in a relaxing picnic spot and enjoy the solitude of one Port Stephens’ best kept secrets.
This beach is not patrolled and may have strong currents or rips, so be careful if you go in the water.
Directions: a small track from Verona Road or Lionel Avenue takes you up the hill where you turn right at the T-intersection and then left onto the Wreck Beach fire trail.
Big Rocky walk
This sandy track leads to the rocky headland and is shared by both walkers and 4WD vehicles. If you plan the trip to coincide with the low tide you can explore the rockpools and experience 'the cauldron' at mid-tide.
Take plenty of drinking water and snacks for an enjoyable picnic. Walkers can also access the tracks to Little Rocky and Boulder Bay from the 4WD carpark.
Directions: this walk begins at the 2WD carpark 1.8km along Big Rocky Track, off Gan Gan Road. If you're in a 4WD you can drive all the way along the shared track, and then have a short walk (200m) to the headland. If you walk from the start of Big Rocky Track at Gan Gan Road, the walk will be 3.2km each way.
Fingal Island and Point Stephens lighthouse walk
Fingal Island is part of Tomaree National Park and is accessible via boat and occasionally via 'the spit' at low tide from the northern end of Fingal Beach. When the spit is exposed you can to walk out to Point Stephens and inspect the lighthouse and the ruins of the lighthouse keeper's cottage complex, built in 1862.
This walk takes you along beautiful Fingal Beach and across the spit and is suitable for people with moderate fitness. There are no facilities on the island or along the route. Please ensure you have adequate water and supplies. Facilities including an amenities block, picnic tables and barbecues are available near Fingal Beach.
Sanctuary zone: the southern part of Fingal island is a sanctuary zone to 40m depth; no collecting or fishing is permitted within this zone.
Caution: crossing the spit should only be undertaken one hour either side of low tide when there is no water. Do not cross if the spit is awash as it is extremely dangerous. Sand conditions can be very unstable and there are strong currents.
When conditions are suitable, guided tours through the Point Stephens Lighthouse are available. Contact Discovery at Hunter office, Nelson Bay for more information.
Directions: this walk starts at Fingal Beach and parking is available at the Fingal Beach Surf Lifesaving Club on Marine Drive, Fingal Bay.
Nelson Bay, Phone: 02 4984 8200
Morna Point walk
Take a relaxing walk to the coast at Morna Point through this spectacular part of the park. In spring the heathlands around Tank Hill are awash with wildflowers. If you detour along the sandy tracks toward the shore you will see interesting geological formations.
Some areas adjacent to the coast are steep and care should be taken with small children. Morna Point is a popular place for recreational fishing, but take care if you plan on fishing off the rocks.
Directions: from Nelson Bay head towards Newcastle on Nelson Bay Road and turn left into Gan Gan Road and then left again into Blanch Street. Take the second right at Richardson Avenue, left into Boat Harbour Road and contine on to the T-intersection. Turn right and the next left will bring you to the NPWS depot where you can park your vehicle. The walk begins on a sandy trail at the back of the depot. Follow the sandy trails to the top of Tank Hill then proceed downhill on the road and return via the forest trail to the depot.