Well, this port was a bit of a surprise. Due to Cyclone Oma, and use missing two South Pacific ports, the captain announced that on the 19th February we would visit an additional port in Newcastle. The tours team on the ship managed to get together some tours so I opted to do the Dolphin Watch and Port Stevens tour.
On a couple of the Arcadia Facebook groups, there was a couple of grumbles from fellow Australians about going to Newcastle and how rubbish it was. I was then worried that it would be horrible, but was pleasantly surprised how nice it was. We were docked in a commercial coal port, so on fist sight all you could see was the coal sorting frames and containers. Once we were on the coach and heading to Port Stephens, the scenery started to change and it was a very pretty place. We stopped at Birubi Point. Apparently, a lot of the sand from the dunes are exported and a lot of it is exported to Hawaii.
After a brief 5-8min stop, we then headed to the harbour at Port Stephens to board the boat to see the dolphins. Whilst waiting, I noticed lots of people looking up at the tree I was under and they were taking photos. Turned out, there was a couple of cockatiels sat in the tree. Very strange site for us Brits!
When we were on the boat, we took a casual cruise out into the harbour to look for Dolphins. It wasn’t long before we spotted some dolphins. It was quite a big pod of them. They were fishing, though so were not interested in playing for us to see them properly. I will post some photos below. They’re not brilliant, but the boat we were on abide by rules to keep the dolphins safe by keeping 50m away.
We then cruised back to the pontoon stopping briefly to allow passengers to do some ‘boom netting’. Boom Netting is a net at the back of the boat that you can sit in while the boat moves along – a bit like a mobile spa bath!!
We then had an hour drive back to the ship.
I then dropped off some shopping at the ship and caught the shuttle bus into Newcastle town centre. It was pretty much like any town centre. I took a few photos in town and on the way back.
I was surprised how pretty Port Stephens was considering the comments from the fellow Aussie travellers. I would like to think that all ports have something nice to do in, you just have to keep an open mind!