Where to see the bottlenose dolphins at Port Stephens

Where to see the bottlenose dolphins at Port Stephens

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 05/21/2019

Reading time: 3 mins

Guarantee yourself an unforgettable experience with Port Stephen’s dolphins!

Port Stephens is a complete gem within Australia! The massive natural harbour spans about 24 kilometres, with a captivating colour palette of white sand, lush greenery, and bright blue skies and seas. The land is unspoilt, with a swarm of native animals covering the region. One animal in particularly which brings a heard of visitors annually is the Bottlenose Dolphin. Who calls the Port Stephens’ water their home throughout the year. Read our guide on these incredible dolphins, and find out where you can see them during your Port Stephens adventure!

Bottlenose Dolphins

  • Their Appearance

    A Bottlenose dolphin is small a marine mammal that is within the group labelled ‘toothed’ whales. Their name comes from their short and rounded snout, which resembles a bottle like a shape. Besides this difference, their appearance is pretty unoriginal to other dolphin breeds, with the typical grey-blue colour and sleek fins and tail. The average size of a bottlenose dolphin is around 3 to 4 metres long, with males commonly being on the larger size.

  • Their Behaviour

    These dolphins are very social creatures, living in 2 to 15 size pods that change throughout their lifespan. Their communities are “fission-fusion” societies, which means they merge off within the same collection several times per day. With some large groups being mixed-sex groups, and subgroups separating the sexes. These groups can all depend on the type of dolphin, with groups of mothers and their new calves, juvenile dolphins, and adult males. Typically, the deeper the dolphin’s home habitat is the larger the groups become, so the Port Stephens coastal families are on the smaller size of the scale. Their day-to-day lives involves hunting, socializing, travelling, and resting, with feeding being the main activity.

Where to find Port Stephen’s Dolphins

There are around 90 to 120 bottlenose dolphins that permanently live in Port Stephens’ waters. Three different species of dolphins inhabit the waters, with the bottlenose dolphin the most common. They are apart from the community here, even having their own names and renowned personalities that all the locals know. The rocky headlands and long stretches of the beach provide a perfect place to spot them swimming nearby, offering guests an enchanting experience. If you want to get even closer hop on a cruise to see these guys swim alongside the boat, with the professional guides telling you all about each and every dolphin featured. If you are really lucky, there is even an option to swim with these creatures, granting you a once in a lifetime opportunity you won’t soon forget.

Why Port Stephen’s Dolphins are Special

Studies have shown us that the bottlenose dolphin population living in Port Stephens is unique and genetically different from other bottlenose dolphins found elsewhere. The genetic makeup is distinctly different, with these dolphins having a much smaller gene pool compared to outer ocean dolphins, which the Port Stephens dolphin rarely choose to interbreed with. The result is a change in behavior, a higher reliance on their environment, and a smaller size than the typical species size.

Related article: What to do in Port Stephens during the summer?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.