Sunday, 30 August 2015

Which Tour to Take in Sydney? Part 3 - Port Stephens Dolphin Watching + Sand Dunes

We took the Port Stephens Day Tour under Loksha Tour. As you can see from the following review I made that time in TripAdvisor, this would be a better choice if you are planning to take the tour from AAT Kings. We did not book everything under Loksha Tour despite their cheaper rates that time for fear they might be a small company tour with smaller buses etc. This was proven wrong.

"We took the Port Stephens Day Tour. Booked it a while back before we actually left to go on Feb 19. It is a bit disappointing as after we booked early, we saw another promo after that for a much cheaper rate for the same tour. Maybe no more early booking?
This tour is actually the SAME as the one offered by AAT KINGS but cheaper! We travelled in an AAT KINGS coach. Comfy with toilet onboard. Wifi 30 mins only like all AAT KINGS coaches. Saw some small dolphins on the tour. Mostly sitting around in the rocky boat the whole afternoon. Haha. Short glimpses of the pods only. Woman manning the refreshment counter on the boat will scold u if u use the cup to hold their biscuits. So beware! (No tiny plates available though)"

On the way to the Port Stephens town, we were treated to the usual city sights (when you took as many tours as we did, all this seemed to blend together).

Tour costs about AUD189/pax.

Sydney Harbour Bridge-Hawkesbury Ranges-Australian Reptile Park-Port Stephens (Dolphin watching)-Sand dunes.

Out of the whole thing, the most enjoyable part IMO is the sand dunes. Hmm...come to think of it the Reptiles Park was not bad too.

Excited to go!

The trip from the hotel, crossing the Sydney Harbour was quite predictable. *Ehem* if you went on as many tours as we do. LOL. They basically explained the same thing about the buildings, some grafitti you passed, etc etc

The reptile park was quite small but nice because you get a park ranger showing the baby crocodiles and all. You get to take a few pictures with it as well. There's the gigantic Galapagos Tortoise as you can see in the shot I took below ;)

Some kangaroos to feed... or isit wallabies? But these are confined to a small area and you probably have to wait quite a while to get your chance to feed it. We basically waited until most people left to go back to the bus before we quickly snapped a few pictures and hurried back.

Lots and lots of fake Jurassic-ish statues? Do note that there are lots and lots of lizards (monitor lizards) along the path and the grassy areas. I just freaked out while I was trying to make my way out that time and I could still remember those times. Urgh! Oh and like all parks in Oz, there's KOALAS! LOL. I think we must have took like tens of shots at different location with koalas.

 If you didn't notice yet, I am the excited one happily selfie-ing everywhere as can be observed with the usually bored expression of my sister aka my companion. LOL


Then after the Reptile Park, we were off to Port Stephens where we were told to grab something to eat on our own since we did not get a full meal onboard, just snacks and drinks. So we went to a nearby fish and chips place at the harbour and got some of the following:

We usually have SOLO or Lift when we are in Oz cause they are so much cheaper there. LOL. Kiasu mah.. Then coffee is usually a staple. The seafood platter and fish n chips might look little but among the four of us, we couldn't finish them all.

This was some of the best shots I got because the rest got more of my finger inside the shot. OMG. Total fail as a photographer. >< I did not enjoy the cruise much maybe because in my work, I'm on a vessel most of the time and the "experience" did not feel really special especially since we didn't see much dolphins and also the snacks and drinks were so strictly monitored. C'mon, how much can the biscuits be? I don't get why the girl manning the station had to tell off some of the tourists. Granted, they were being greedy but I am sure the fare charged covered that. Otherwise, just charge more right?

From the Port Stephens' cruise, we saw only like two tiny pods of dolphins (I suspect they are the same, but since I'm really bad at recognizing stuff and directions, maybe they aren't). After this it's off to the dunes! I like it but the climb up was really horrible because the sand kept sinking your feet inside and even though the climb wasn't much by the time you are done, you probably feel way more tired than you should. Most people would only go once or twice unless you are those super kiasu type or super athletic ones who keep going up over and over again. :X

We were one of the earliest back to the bus, so take photo again lo.

Once we are dropped off at our hotel, we made our way out to a pho shop we researched beforehand. LOL. Just pho served pretty decent pho but I still couldn't get the one in Melbourne's Chinatown out of my head. I like their spring rolls but I'm not really that picky when it comes to spring rolls :P The meal was a nice end to a long day as the beef soup was warm and comforting. :) Service was good as well. I would say that the portion was quite big and if you're staying in Meriton, this could be a convenient stop.

Address: 545/551 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone:+61 2 9268 0084

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