From magnificent coastline to whale watching and sunsets that will take your breath away, these are five of the best things to do in Port Stephens. Be warned: After reading this you’ll want to hop in the car immediately.

1. Camp in luxury safari tent (pictured above)

If you’re looking for that up-close-and-personal-with-nature feel that goes hand in hand with camping, but don’t want to go with out the luxuries of a resort, the safari tents at Thou Walla Sunset Retreat are for you. Labelled as “Glamping Safari Tents,” the experience is just that – camping with all of the glamourous trimmings. From the king-size bed to the large flat-screen TV, you can expect all the features that you get from a luxury hotel room, including an electric fireplace, fridge and a big bathroom with a shower and toilet – they are, however, eco friendly with a few different bells and whistles. The tents themselves are located a stone’s throw from the marina and the calm waters of Soliders Point, which runs alongside one length of the site. Located around 15 minutes from Nelson Bay, the award-winning retreat is home to villas as well as the safari tents. If you are adverse to noises in the night, you may want to pack you earplugs to drown out the noisy birds – but apparently they don’t make a ruckus all year round and in any case, the piece des resistance that is the amazing sunset, enjoyed from your tent’s deck with a tipple in hand, by far makes up for the noise. It is absolute bliss.

2. Hike up to Tomaree Head

Tomaree Head sits 161 metres above Port Stephens and offers the most incredible views of the region. The track to the summit is just over two kilometres and will take around an hour, but you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views over Zenith, Wreck and Box beaches, the lighthouse and WWII gun placements, Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands, and potentially even whales or dolphins. There’s a picnic table at the top, so bring your lunch for a meal with a view.

3. Go whale watching

Every year, thousands of humpback and southern right whales make their way past Port Stephens during their annual migration. At this time of year, the southern migration has begun and you’ll see many mothers with newborn calves returning from the breeding grounds. There are plenty of spots to watch the whales from shore, but for the real experience you need to be out on the water. Imagine Cruises runs whale-watching tours every day from May to November. You’ll be sailing on a 16-metre catamaran as the whales swim right alongside or breach from the water in a stunning display of aquatic acrobatics.

4. Spend the day at the beach

Port Stephens is surrounded by more than 20 golden sandy beaches so enjoy a classic stop on the shore. There’s a beach for just about every kind of water activity you could ask for, from swimming and surfing to snorkelling, parasailing, fishing and jetskiing. Divers can explore the sea caves and shipwrecks of Fly Point Marine Park. Or you can just spread out your towel, pick up a good book and soak up some sun.

5. Have dinner by the water

The Port Stephens region is famous for its food and wine, and one of the best spots to taste it is the Little Beach Boathouse. The restaurant sits right on the water at Nelson Bay – but set away from the main shops on the marina. Styled like a cool, breezy beach house, the menu features fresh local produce like rock oysters, fish and prawns, accompanied by wines from the nearby Hunter Valley and Murray Brewery Beers brewed in Port Stephens. Arrive early for dinner to watch the sunset with a glass of bubbles.

Image credit: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Over60.