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Smart parking

We are committed to safety and accessibility in Port Stephens through parking regulations.

Designated parking areas, time restrictions and ticket machines are used to help regulate parking to ensure equitable turnover of parking spaces. If you drive or ride a vehicle, you need to know what the parking regulations mean and how to follow them correctly.

Smart parking

Park Free Permit portal

If you're a resident or ratepayer of Port Stephens, or you work at a business in the Nelson Bay town centre, you can now sign up to park for free in Nelson Bay. You can also change your details via the portal.

How to use smart parking

1. Enter your number plate at the meter
  • If your vehicle has a Park Free Permit you do not need to pay or enter your number plate at the meter.
  • Vehicles displaying a Mobility permit are exempt.
  • The first 15 minutes are free.
2. Choose your duration of stay

Operating hours are 8:30am to 5:30pm, 7 days a week including public holidays.

3. Pay the displayed amount

Our meters accept:

  • coins
  • credit or debit cards
  • pay wave

No ticket will be issued and you do not need to display a ticket.

4. Drive away

Move your car when your paid session has expired or the maximum time (as signposted) has been reached.

Smart parking FAQs

Your frequently asked questions about smart parking answered.

Our new smart parking technology makes finding a car park easier and simpler. It includes:

  • a new Park'nPay app -  to help you find a park or set your parking time without going to the meter
  • number plate recognition technology - your new ticket to park
  • sensors and digital signs - to help you find the nearest park.

Smart parking will reduce congestion and improve safety by making it quicker and easier to find a park,

Funds collected from smart parking will be reinvested into Nelson Bay to fund improvements to the public domain, landscaping, increased car parking and place activation.

We know that during busy holiday periods, parking in Nelson Bay can be in short supply. That’s why we established an Independent Parking Panel in 2018, comprising 17 randomly selected community and business representatives.

Facilitated by the University of Technology Sydney, the independent panel came up with ideas to improve parking at peak times in the Bay using technology. After consulting extensively with the community and businesses, in May 2020 our elected Council voted to install smart parking in the Nelson Bay town centre.

In November 2019, we gave our community an opportunity to have real influence over the variables of the smart parking scheme, including who should park for free, paid parking locations and parking times. Read the full community engagement report.

There are plenty of parking options in Nelson Bay. Parking time limits are generally 2 or 4 hours for on street parking and 4 hours or more for off street parking.

New paid parking zones in the Nelson Bay town centre include Government Road, Church Street, Tomaree Street, Yacaaba Street and Victoria Parade. It also includes eastward extensions for the commercial areas of Magnus Street and Donald Street.

There are designated all day parking areas for employees of businesses within the Nelson Bay town centre using a business Park Free permit. These areas include:

  • Donald Street East carpark (along eastern wall)
  • Government Road carpark
  • Yacaaba Street parking, primarily from Donald Street intersection to Tomaree Street intersection
  • Victoria Parade parking, angle parking North-East of the roundabout adjacent to the dog on-lead exercise area
  • the Bowling Club carpark.

Take a look at our map to see where to park and the time limits that apply.

The NSW Government’s Park'nPay app makes finding and paying for parking easier. You can download it from your smart phone's app store. The benefits of the app include:

  • pay for parking with your smart phone using the app — you'll receive a notification when your parking is about to expire to avoid fines
  • keep track of your parking history and receipts
  • look up the best place to find a park, all from the passenger seat!

Yes. Smart parking meters still accept card and coin payment as well as the app. If paying by coin, you will need to pay the correct amount as change won’t be given. Once the maximum amount is received the machine will stop accepting coins.

No. Your ticket is your vehicle registration (number plate). When you pay via the parking meter or the app, you will enter your number plate and this will act as your ticket instead of a paper ticket.

Private car parks are not currently included in the smart parking scheme but may be if they choose to in future.

We have begun carrying out traffic and parking studies and community consultation to investigate installing smart parking at Birubi Point and Shoal Bay. Nelson Bay was chosen as the first smart parking location following the findings of the traffic and parking studies and the recommendations of the Independent Citizen Parking Panel.