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Port Stephens

A Glamping Stay at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary
A Glamping Stay at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

See koalas in their natural habitat and help support the care of sick and injured koalas at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary. 

The Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary was founded in mid-2020 in partnership with Port Stephens Council to create a first-class facility with urgent care for koalas in need as well as support long-term rehabilitation, preservation and conservation in the wild. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Set in stunning bush lands near Anna Bay, the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary offer visitors the chance to peek inside the state-of-the-art Koala Hospital with Intensive Care Unit treatment rooms and holding pens, take a stroll down the Sanctuary Story Walk, a 250 metre in length meandering pathway offering an immersive educational experience telling the story of koala and its habitat, and enjoy a stroll up the 225m Newcastle Airport SKYwalk elevated pathway and viewing platform, for a ‘tree top’ perspective into the koala’s natural habitat.

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The Fat Possum Café onsite offers basic food like pre-made sandwiches, pies and sausage rolls (several vegetarian varieties on offer) plus pastries and muffins, drinks and a range of souvenirs. 

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For a really unique stay, try the overnight glamping experience like we did. The four-star glamping tents are set within the sanctuary grounds, in the shade of beautiful tall trees. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

The glamping tents fit groups of two or four people – our deluxe tent had a queen bed and two single beds. Each tent has its own ensuite and kitchenette with fridge, toaster and microwave. 

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Also included in the stay is a breakfast hamper and a mini bar full of local treats. We highly enjoyed the wine, beer, cheese and snacks on our verandah while we watched the suns et through the trees.

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Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Other facilities for overnight guests include a swimming pool with a heated spa and BBQ facilities.

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Accessible glamping tents are also available.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

The following morning, a guided tour is offered to overnight guests where a staff member takes the group on a tour of the sanctuary and gives a great personal talk on the role of the sanctuary, the plight of the local koalas, and incredible information on these unique creatures.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

We learned so much in this tour, including how fussy koalas are about eating only the particular types of trees in their area, which makes it hard to transport and treat them elsewhere, and how the population has dropped significantly from 30K koalas in the area only 30 years ago to a few hundred today.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

The hospital has an ICU section with around 15 koalas receiving medical treatment for injuries, mostly from motor vehicle accidents, or sickness, which is most often chlamydia, which flairs up when a koala is under stress and can cause blindness.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

While the aim is for the koalas to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild, there are times when a koala isn’t able to be released because their sickness or injury is too severe. These koalas are offered a permanent home at the sanctuary. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

In the future the sanctuary hopes to embark on a breeding program to then release more koalas into the wild and build back up the local population. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

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If you are keen to stay but not keen on glamping, there are also a range of standard rooms available for a more conventional accomodation choice. 

The Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary is located around an hour from Newcastle or a 2.5 hour drive north of Sydney. There is a shopping centre a 5-minute away in Salamandar Bay with an excellent supermarket for stocking up.

Check in for overnight is from 2pm. I suggest checking in around then to leave yourself enough time to get settled into the room, look around the sanctuary, and leave plenty of time for relaxing in the pool before sunset drinks and dinner. Check out time is 10am the following morning.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary
562 Gan Gan Rd, One Mile
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm
pportstephenskoalasanctuary.com.au

Find more things to do in Port Stephens.

Find fun things to do in Newcastle.

Check out where to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane road trip.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Eight Awesome Things To Do In Port Stephens

Eight Things To Do In Port Stephens

Located 2 1/2 hours drive north of Sydney, the area has a stunning 26 beautiful beaches and bays to explore. Port Stephens is renowned for whale and dolphin watching, sand dunes and gourmet restaurants. There are so many thing to do in Port Stephens that I suggest staying for at least three days, more if you can.

I’m reluctant to write about Port Stephens in a way because it’s a little gem that has been off the tourist radar so far, and it’s kind of nice that way! Both hubby and I have spent a lot of time of the years at Port Stephens and it’s an area very dear to our hearts.

Nelson Bay

Nelson Bay Marina, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Nelson Bay is the heart of Port Stephens. The beautiful marina is a popular spot for waterfront dining, cycling and scooting, as well as being the location for departing water tours. Nelson Bay is the main township in the area so has the best selection of accomodation, restaurants and other facilities.

Little Beach

Little Beach Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

One of the best family friendly spots in the area is Little Beach, tucked between Nelson Bay Beach and Shoal Bay Beach. The flat water is calm and perfect for littlies, and there is loads of soft sand for building sandcastles. We have spent many hours here floating in the water and relaxing. It’s heaven!

Nelson Head Heritage Light House Cottage and Reserve

The Best Things To Do In Port Stephens

You can drive or walk up to the Nelson Head Lighthouse Cottage and Rescue Station Reserve.

Nelson Head

The headland was chosen as the perfect spot for a lighthouse in 1875 thanks to its unparralel views of Port Stephens. It’s a great spot for tea and scones in the Tea Rooms, kookaburra spotting and taking in the view.

Tomaree National Park

Mount Tomaree, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Get some easy exercise with the Tomaree Head Summit walk. A short, invigorating (read – steep uphill!) walk 161 metres above the entrance to Port Stephens, the reward from the lookout at the top is a stunning view of the coast as far as Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands. From the south platform you can see Box Beach, Fingal Island and Point Stephens Lighthouse.

Fingal Bay

Fingal Bay, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

This beach is a near-perfect C-curve and is a popular spot to set up for the day with a picnic to just relax. BYO shade shelter as there is no shade on the beach! Walk north to the sand split that links Fingal Island.

View of Fingal Spit looking towards Mount Tomaree, Port Stepens.

Our fave secret spot is to walk over the dunes when the tide is too high to pass over the sand split to the secret beach on the other side.

Additional image of Fingal Split courtesy of Destination NSW.

Stockton

Stockton Beach, Newcastle, Port Stephens

Famous for its length, Stockton Beach is 33km long, making it the longest beach in NSW. Known for its magnificent sand dunes which, at 100 metres tall are the longest mobile sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, Stockton is a sleepy seaside town with some beautiful 19th century cottages. It’s secret gem we love to visit.

One Mile Beach / Anna Bay

A popular beach spot, One Mile Beach is a small town located between Boat Harbour and Nelson Bay. It has basic amenities and a small kiosk, plenty of parking and shady picnic areas.

Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay, Port Stephens

Families love visiting Shoal Bay for a very good reason. As well as being stunningly beautiful, it’s a quiet town with a relaxed vibe. Shoal Bay Beach stretches 2.5lm between Nelson Head and Tomaree Head, protected by both to offer calm swimming waters lapping against the white sand. Kids have been jumping off the jetty for generations!

With so many things to do in Port Stephens it’s hard to spend only a few days in this gorgeous slice of paradise.

The Best Things To Do In Port Stephens