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Dolphins Ahoy! Aqua Adventures in Port Stephens

Dolphin Delight: Exploring Nelson Bay

By Aleena ThomasPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
dolphin watching in port stephens

For times immemorial, we've shared our world with a wild bunch of critters, adding tonnes of colour and rhythm to our lives. Some cool mammals are like our BFFs—smart and sociable, just like us. Dolphins and apes, our animal cousins, win us over with their brains and cuteness. Their cute clicks and flips are totally unique. And let's not forget Flipper, the dolphin superstar! In the early '60s, this American TV show charmed millions with Flipper, the bottlenose dolphin. Since then, bottlenose dolphins have ruled the dolphin kingdom like rockstars! Bottlenose dolphins are the shining stars of the warm tropical waters, especially in the Indian Ocean. When it comes to spotting these dolphins, Nelson Bay, Australia, takes the spotlight. Here, you can catch them frolicking near the wharf or hop on a Port Stephens dolphin cruise. However, keep in mind that since dolphin watching in Nelson Bay is renowned worldwide, you'll likely have some company of fellow dolphin lovers so plan your trip early!

Bottlenose dolphins can be easily recognised by their short, stubby beak or snout that resembles a ‘bottle’. They rock a prominent, wide, and kinda triangular dorsal fin smack in the middle of their back. These sea puppies come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colours. Generally, they're dark on top and sport a snazzy light grey or white belly. This snappy colour combo isn't just for looks; it's their secret weapon against the likes of sharks and killer whales. When you're beneath them, their bright bellies blend right into the sky, and from up top, their dark backs turn them into stealthy underwater ninjas. In Port Stephens, there's a resident dolphin community comprising around 90 to 120 individual dolphins that call this place home year-round. While some groups are regular travellers throughout the port, others prefer specific areas such as the west, middle ground, and the headlands near the Port's entrance. You can also spot them in the Myall and Karuah rivers, although they're rarely seen in the lakes. Moreover, bottlenose dolphins are known to inhabit areas close to the shore leaving them visible to onlookers. The rocky coastal headlands and expansive white beaches of Port Stephens offer a perfect vantage point for observing dolphins from the shoreline. Alternatively, you can opt to join one of the popular daily dolphin-watching cruises available.

In Port Stephens, the bottlenose dolphin crew includes a handful of all-stars who've achieved local fame. These "celebs" are regulars along the shoreline, earning them a fan club that can't get enough of their charm. Do you know Nelson Bay has got its own version of “The Beatles”? George, John, Paul and Ringo all grace their fans at Soldier Point and steal their hearts in return. These four dolphins are real legends and all of them can be identified by their unique dorsal fins. Apart from The Beatles, one of the most well-known and loved dolphins in Port Stephens is a female dolphin called Nicky. Nicky has a distinctive dorsal fin and is regularly sighted on dolphin watch cruises. And if dolphin watching in Nelson Bay isn’t enough for you, Port Stephens offers an incredible opportunity for you to swim with the dolphins. Swimming with these wild dolphins will make you feel like becoming part of their pod. The season runs from October 1 to April 30, with tours departing at 7 a.m. and returning at 11 a.m.. You'll even receive a custom video of your unforgettable experience.

Nelson Bay, a safe haven for dolphins in Australia, is a coastal resort town with around 5,000 residents which sits nestled just inside the entrance of Port Stephens, a sprawling natural harbour. Even as it gains popularity, this town manages to strike a delightful balance between embracing tourism and preserving its charming character. Located 223 km north of Sydney via the Pacific Highway, and just 69 km from Newcastle by road, Nelson Bay is a paradise for all travellers and nature lovers alike!

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About the Creator

Aleena Thomas

I am a Travel enthusiast

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