The Tomaree Head Summit Walk is a short and very scenic hike to the top of Tomaree Mountain in Port Stephens. From the summit, you get incredible panoramic views of Shoal Bay, Zenith Beach, Wreck Beach, Shark Island, and Yacaaba Head. And if lucky, you can even spot whales from the top of Mount Tomaree!
Tomaree Head Summit Walk Map: Distance & Time
We found the Tomaree Head Summit Walk to be relatively easy. The walk is a mix of gradual slopes, steep and easy steps, and is shaded all the way to the top.
The trail is just over a kilometre one-way and should take about 30-40 minutes to walk up at an easy pace. Below is the map and elevation profile of the Tomaree Head Summit Walk.
And here’s a quick highlight video of the walk.
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The best time to set out on the hike is in the morning, between 10 AM and noon. This is also probably the best time to spot the whales.
What to carry
- Hat or cap
Starting Point & Car Park
To start the Tomaree Head Summit Walk, you need to drive to the end of Shoal Bay Road, to the entrance of Marrungbanga Reserve. From here there are clear signs that guide you towards the Tomaree Track to the summit.
You can park your car along Shoal Bay Road or just outside the entrance to Marrungbanga Reserve. However, if you get as unlucky as we did and find no parking along the road, there is another hidden parking spot on the Zenith Beach Loop Road.
The trail to the summit is clearly marked with visible signs. The start of the track is relatively quite very easy. But there are a few narrow and steep steps along the way, and then a few easier steps.
Fortunately, the entire track to the top is shaded. As you approach the summit, the views of Shoal Bay are simply spectacular! But of course, nothing beats the sweeping, panoramic views of Port Stephens from the Tomaree Mountain.
Views from Tomaree Head Lookout
When you reach the Tomaree Head Summit, you’ll notice a couple of viewing platforms. From the north platform, you can see the mouth from where Karuah River meets the sea.
But it is the views from the south platform of Zenith, Wreck and Box Beaches, and Fingal Island that left me awestruck! These secluded, hidden beaches are simply gorgeous and are only reachable through a hike (except Zenith and Fingal Beaches). The raw untamed, colourful natural beauty on one side and the civilised town of Shoal Bay on the other drew a beautiful contrast of the region of Port Stephens.
Tomaree Head Summit is not only a popular spot for its scenic views, but also for witnessing the sunrise and sunset in Port Stephens. However, there’s one more reason why it’s popular – whale watching.
Spot whales from Tomaree Head Summit
You’re probably wondering by now, is it possible to whale watch from on top of Tomaree Mountain? Yes, you can! In fact, we spotted plenty of whales in the brief time we stood at the lookout points.
We learned that the trick to spotting the whales is to keep a close eye on the whale watching tour boats because they know where the whales are located. But of course, we also spotted a few whales that weren’t close to the tour boats at all. It really was quite amazing because this was the first time that we spotted whales in the wild!
Remember to take your binoculars (at least 10x) if you want to whale watch from the Tomaree Head Summit. Also, keep in mind that the best time to spot whales is between May and October.
Ending the Tomaree Head Summit Walk
To end the walk, simply trace your steps back. You can choose to stop by the historic World War II gun emplacements that are a short diversion from the Tomaree Head Track. The historic Fort Tomaree played an important role in the defence of Port Stephens during World War II.
Once back on Shoal Bay Road, you can head down to Shoal Bay Country Club to grab lunch. The food and the atmosphere of the restaurant, which overlooks Shoal Bay Beach, truly makes for a perfect end to the walk.
Alternatively, you can continue to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area and head down to Zenith Beach to soak up some sun and sand.
Tomaree Head Summit Walk
We hope you enjoyed our guide to the Tomaree Mountain Walk. Do leave a comment if you found this post useful, or feel free to share it on a social media platform of your choice. And check out our photos of Port Stephens for some more inspiration.
Don’t forget to check out our post on the top activities in Port Stephens.