We have just returned from five fabulous days at Karuah, Port Stephens.
I have the best memories of Port Stephens holidays throughout my childhood, and I’m so happy I can give my children the same experience.
It really is one of the most beautiful places with so much to see and do. In fact, I would easily rank it in my top 10 family holiday destinations in NSW.
BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park enjoys a superb location, perched on the banks of the beautiful Karuah River and central to so many great adventures.
When it comes to excellent family holiday parks in NSW, this is a gem.
While walking along the jetty, I witnessed some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, and I love chasing sunsets! The most incredible golden rays bounced on the water, turning it gold. The kids were in complete awe.
From the beautiful, big family welcome on arrival, we felt instantly relaxed. The kids on the other hand were beyond excited with all the activities on offer. Straight to the amazing pool complete with a splash area.
Then to the jumping pillow, games room, workout stations, and a ride on the pedal cars. It was a case of the kids living on their bikes and my husband, Justin, and I relaxing on the deck.
Evenings consisted of watching the sunset while getting a line wet. At just six years old, Isla proved she is the best in the family at catching our dinner! The evenings would finish with a movie on the big screen or even time spent around the fire pit.
In the mornings, Justin was at the coffee van grabbing our daily cuppas. And while there is plenty to do in the park, if you feel like an adventure the region abounds with options.
Here are the best family-friendly attractions in Port Stephens, according to us.
On top of our list was Toboggan Hill Park, which boasts indoor and outdoor entertainment. We loved the toboggans, which were so much fun, as well as the park’s bush setting.
While here, you can take a tractor train up to a maze, and there’s rock climbing and dry ice skating. We finished it off with a fun family ‘fight’ in the water bomb area. Prepare to get wet!
Oakvale is eco-certified and another must-do family activity in Port Stephens that’s loaded with appeal. The kids loved seeing, touching, and being up close to all the wildlife, and so did I! We could even feed the animals.
There were wildlife shows and talks, tractor rides, and a new splash zone, so pack the swimmers.
Choose between horses riding, sand dune camel riding, and dune buggy rides. We tried the horse riding with Sahara Trails through the bush, which we just loved. Kids as young as four can ride the horses on their own, and it’s a beautiful and serene experience. We definitely want to try the beach camel rides on our next trip.
There are so many beautiful and different water experiences in Port Stephens, but without doubt my favourite is the dolphin and whale-watch cruises.
They are relatively inexpensive, and our cruise even had a waterslide into the boom net that Baylee just loved! It’s an amazing way to see Port Stephens from a different viewpoint and, if you’re lucky, watch the dolphins swim beside your boat. There are a few cruise options to choose from, including moonlight tours.
There are so many incredible beaches in Port Stephens, and the best way to see them is with the beautiful hike up Tomaree Mountain.
Even small kids can enjoy this experience, and they’ll feel like they are on top of the world as they take in the spectacular, breathtaking views. In my opinion, this walking track is one of the best NSW attractions for families.
If you or the kids feel like swimming with sea creatures, Irukandji is fantastic. With wetsuit on, the experience of hopping in the water to swim with and feed these majestic animals is incredible. The kids absolutely loved it, and it’s really affordable, too.
There is so much to see and do in Port Stephens and so many incredible places to eat. But you can’t miss a stop at the marina for ice cream with ample delicious flavours to choose from. Growing up, enjoying an ice cream was definitely one of my favourite memories when on holidays.
Fittingly, years on from my first visit here, it capped off a memorable family escape.