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First off is a helicopter ride
First off is a helicopter ride
Hitting the sand dunes
Kayaking in Port Stephens

Port Stephens Triple Challenge

Thursday, January 9, 2003
Okay — what's it going to be: quad-biking on the dunes, a helicopter ride or sea kayaking?

Tony Burrell's company offers the adventurer a challenge in three parts: quad-biking on the dunes, a helicopter ride and a choice between sea kayaking or "duck-diving".

You start with a 10 minute helicopter ride, which, apart from being exciting in itself, gives you a bird's eye view of where your next activities will take place.

From the air you will see the Upper Hunter region — 34 kilometres of beautiful beach extending from Newcastle to Port Stephens and its extensive dune systems. You will also spot the largest shipwreck on Australia's east coast and Tin City, a cluster of fishing shacks hidden in the dunes.

Sand Safaris is the only company offering quad-bike activities on the Stockton Bight sand dunes, and you don't need any experience. You will be given instructions and a helmet before getting on a fully automatic 300cc Honda TRX.

The Stockton Dunes make up the largest moving coastal sand mass in the southern hemisphere. They drift two to five metres westward each year, covering anything in their way.

While ripping around the dunes is great fun, there is another side to the area and your guide will stop from time to time to fill you in on such things as World War II defense lines and tank traps.

You will ride through rolling hills as high as 30 metres, past the wreck of the Sygna and along tracks through thick hinterland bush. It really is an exhilarating experience and the most challenging part of the day.

For the kayaking or "duck-diving" you will be transferred from the dunes to Nelson Bay.

A kayaking trip lasts for two hours and you will be in a two-person craft made from lightweight but very strong polyethylene. As you stay in the bay area, the water is flat and you don't need to be super-fit for the paddle.

It is a very pretty part of your day — you go from Shoal Bay and pass the headland to Jimmy's Beach. Nelson Bay has Australia's largest population of bottle nose dolphins, and there is a pretty good chance of seeing them. Sometimes sea turtles and fairy penguins pop up and that's a real treat. On the trip, you will see the Tomaree Headland and the Fingle Bay lighthouse.

There are sandbars in the bay and when water comes in from the ocean, little breaking waves are made. If you feel like a further challenge you can try some kayak surfing.

If you want a bigger adrenalin rush, the Duckdive Amphibious Adventure is for you. You explore Port Stephens' waterways and then the "duck" transforms into a 4WD vehicle, climbing the very demanding terrain around windswept Jimmy's Beach.

Once you arrive at Hawkes Nest ocean beach, the "duck" becomes the world's biggest surfboard. It's a matter of hold on tight while you crash through the waves. Exciting, to say the least!

Location

Port Stephens is 2½ hours north of Sydney.

Cost

Sand Safaris Active Adventure's Triple Challenge costs $269 per person. Participants must be over 15 years of age. They operate year-round and have a variety of tours.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Sand Safaris Active Adventure Tours
173 Nelson Bay Road
Williamtown 2318
Ph: (02) 4965 0215 Fax: (02) 4965 0216
www.sandsafaris.com.au
info@sandsafaris.com.au
Best Western: Ph: 131 779
www.bestwestern.com.au

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