Today we head out of Stockton and making our way north to the jewel that is Port Stephens. But we have a few interesting stops along the way. The first place we visit is the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter at Bobs Farm what a fantastic hands-on experience. There are over 180 Sharks and Rays on hand to touch and feed. Macca and Tania are both up for the experience, so it’s on with the waders, a quick check of how many fingers they have and time to jump in the pool and pat a shark. If you have ever had a fear of sharks or Rays, you are not alone but by going to a place like the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter you quickly realise there are so many more species of sharks and Rays and they are not all villains. Some like the sleeping shark are actually very placid. Getting in the water with them is a unique experience, learning about how they live and what threatens them in their environment is awesome, getting kissed by a giant Ray, well that’s a whole another thing.
With the shark and ray experience under the belt, and more importantly, no casualties, it was time to trek just a little further north to the sleepy seaside town of Shoal Bay to get camp setup at the gorgeous Shoal Bay Holiday Park. The facilities here are second to none, and we wasted no time in unhitching and heading back down the road for a little off-road fun!
Port Stephens is world-famous for being home to the massive Stockton sand dune system, a collection of constantly moving dunes that stretches out along 32km of coastline, and covers more than 2,500 hectares!
We met up with Bruce and Nicole from 4WD Tag-A-Long Tours, and headed off for the dunes for a little bit of an off-road thrill in the sand! But before we hit the serious stuff, Bruce and Nicole wanted to show off a terrific little spot called Big Rocky that is home to an array of birdlife that features more species than even the mighty Kakadu NP up north! Some of the birds here were quite curious about us, to say the least!
But the light was fading fast, so we made a beeline for the little town of Anna Bay, and entered the northern end of the massive dune system. Macca and Tania were aboard the big G&S Chassis Land Cruiser, with Sal behind the wheel, and it wasn’t all smooth sailing, with Sal getting the big Cruiser a little bogged! Haha! Macca and Tania had the adrenaline pumping going up and down the super steep dunes, and Tania even went for a ride with Nicole in her beasty old Land Cruiser!
Before long the light had all but disappeared, and we sat back to take in what was a truly magnificent sunset over the dunes.
Yep, the team is doing it pretty tough out here in Port Stephens, but it’s alarms set for a 4 am start tomorrow for the next adventure – what could it be?