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  • Fair and flexible access to public parking
  • Increase parking turnover during peak periods
  • Generate revenue to deliver better public spaces
  • Improve safety for pedestrians and drivers
  • Park Free Permits for residents and businesses of Port Stephens.

Parking in Port Stephens is free for residents, ratepayers and businesses who operate in the areas where Smart Parking meters are installed.

Your Park Free Permit covers you for all Smart Parking locations in Port Stephens – you don’t need an individual permit for each location.

Once you have registered your vehicle on our portal, you don’t need to do anything else other than follow the time restrictions at the location where you have parked. There is no hard-copy permit, your number plate is your permit to park.

You can find out more about registering your vehicle here

Everyone – residents, business and visitors – receives 15 minutes free parking. This is designed to allow you to grab your coffee, paper or duck into a business without worrying about paying to park.

For residents and business who are registered on the system, you don’t need to worry about moving after the 15 minutes – you can stay as long as the time restrictions allow.

For visitors, after 15 minutes you will need to pay. You can find out more about how to pay here.

No – once you have your Park Free Permit, you don’t need to do anything. Your number plate is your ticket to park.

Remember though – time based restrictions still apply. For example, if the location where you have parked is 2 hours, you can be fined if you stay over this time limit.

The new meters being installed at Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay are part of the ongoing rollout of Smart Parking across Port Stephens.

Smart Parking in Nelson Bay is being extended to include Laman Street and Victoria Parade at Fly Point.

Smart Parking meters are also being installed at Shoal Bay, along the foreshore and in the Shoal Bay CBD.

The new meters at Nelson Bay are live now, and the Shoal Bay meters are scheduled to go live on the 1 November 2023.

When it’s time to renew your permit, you'll receive an email reminding you to go online and update your details.

The first round of renewals will take place around mid-2024.

During this time if you change address, we recommend you go online and update these details – it will only take a few minutes.

You can find the Park Free Permit Portal here.

Sensors detect the arrival, occupancy and departure of a vehicle in a car park and transmit this information to a nearby tower which then transmits the information to Smart Parking’s cloud-based platform. Data from each bay is relayed every few seconds, and links back to car park display signs showing the number of bays available, and to apps showing the real time availability of parking bays.

The Smart Parking system is used by leading parking industry operators around the world. Sensors are set up to register changes in a bay’s status according to the advertised time limits, and the system is rigorously maintained through manual checks and remote testing. In the unusual event that an issue might affect the relay of real-time information, the system is fail-safe designed so that any affected sensor or tower does not register an overstay and infringements are not issued in error.

Yes. All Smart Parking meters accept card and some also accept 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 function as your ticket instead of a paper ticket.

Yes – if parking in a car parking space.

No – if parking in a designated motorbike parking space.

Infringements are issued by rangers after they have attended the vehicle and taken into account all relevant information including sensor data and permits, and are satisfied that an infringement has occurred. The infringement notice will generally be placed on the vehicle windscreen however infringement notices can be posted by mail in some cases.

No. Rangers use sensor data in combination with other relevant information, and issue infringement notices only after they have personally attended a vehicle and are satisfied that an infringement has occurred.

Rangers have an app on their smart device with a map showing the real time status of sensor equipped parking bays. The map shows which bays are vacant, occupied, or occupied by a vehicle that has exceeded the time limit.

Permit permissions are always taken into account. Rangers personally attend to vehicles and consider relevant permits, such as Mobility Parking Permit holders or registered residential parking permit holders, in assessing whether a vehicle is in breach of rules or has exceeded time restrictions before issuing an infringement notice.

Receipt, processing and review of fines is the responsibility of Revenue NSW. If you believe your infringement has been issued in error details on how to request a review of your penalty can be found on the infringement notice or online at Revenue NSW.

Need assistance?

If you have any questions or concerns about Smart Parking that haven't been answered here, lodge a Smart Parking Enquiry online.