We arrived in Port Stephens and stopped in the town of Nelson Bay. Port Stephens is located about 30km north of Newcastle. Once there, we talked with a realtor office that advertised vacation units. After looking at a couple of apartments, we rented one for a week. The rates are very reasonable and we got a large three bedroom apartment with a view of the bay for $340 for the week. We had to pay an extra $46 for rental of the linen and towels, but everything else is included. The apartment is well furnished, and has everything we need. We went shopping and picked up some groceries so that we won't have to go out for every meal.
On either side of the Nelson Bay harbour, there are sandy beaches. Emily and Ryan had lots of fun playing at the beach. Most of the beaches also have a playground and restrooms nearby.