Friday, June 12, 2015

Port Stephens - Whales and Wanderers

For our June long weekend, we had plans to head up the east coast to Port Stevens. It was close to a six-hour drive (after stops and traffic) - but well worth the trip!

When we arrived, we checked into our eco-cottage at the Wanderer's Retreat in Anna Bay. It is situated IN actual koala habitat. We passed signs coming into Port Stephens warning us of koalas on the roads...we were on the hunt for koalas in the wild now!

Our first stop was a short drive up to the Gan Gan Lookout for our first 360 degree sunset views of Port Stephens.

We returned to our cottage and the boys were so excited to have their own room - they had to rock-paper-scissors for the window bed...Bryce won!

Our beautiful spa bathroom

In the morning, the boys were NOT quiet and able to get their own cereal without waking up mommy and daddy...So I told them to put on their shoes and we were going for a walk (hopefully mommy can fall back asleep!)

We walked to One Mile Beach (just 15 min away) and found ourselves in another koala habitat hotspot....but no koalas...

We walked out to the beach and were in awe...

now that's a sunrise!

...and the many surfers there agreed.

Koala scratches...?

The view from our front porch

We had a whale watching trip booked out of Nelson Bay for 11:00 am

The harbour was lovely

The MV Spirit - our vessel

Liam and Bryce were ready for the water!

Tweet! Tweet!

It's so hard to do justice to the surroundings in so many of the places we visit here in Australia. The photos are nice...but trust us....being in the place is so much more. 

A juvenile humpback whale! This one stayed under water for a long time and was really tricky to continue to spot. Our boat held out to see him a couple of times - just outside the harbour. Then we made our way out towards the open ocean - the Humpback Highway!

A rainbow started to form

We stopped by Broughton Island to check out the seal colony

After the humpback, seals and even a little penguin swimming in the water - we spent some quality time with the resident pods of dolphins. Port Stephens is known as a the dolphin capital of Australia. 

Here is one of them racing at the front of our boat!

We returned to Nelson Bay to have some lunch and the boys had an intense game of chess on the big board.

We headed out to the Tomaree Head Summit Walk to have another incredible view of the sunset. The walk was more uphill climbing than we anticipated...but we made it just in time for some amazing views! 

We are becoming quite the family of mountain goats in this country thanks to all of these lookout climbs and bushwalks!

We made it!

...and back down to the bottom of the walk.

The boys loved the spa bath!

After gettting cleaned up, we took a walk around our cottage in the surroundings to look for possums and koalas - equipped with iPhone torches.

The only creatures stirring were 3 different ring-tailed possums high up in some of the trees!

An action-packed start to the long weekend.

Next up: in the water feeding sharks and rays!

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