A virtual photographic competition has been given the tick of approval by the Port's tourism providers and its organisers, the Port Stephens Sister Cities Committee.
Titled 'Incredible by Nature', the motto adopted by Destination Port Stephens, the competition was run during the COVID-19 lockdown in order to maintain contact with sister city friends in the USA and Japan.
"The international border closures caused by the global pandemic have significantly impacted the work of Sister Cities around the world, so we came up with the concept so that our members and community would not lose touch with our overseas counterparts," said Port Stephens Sister Cities chairman Nigel Dique.
The Port's primary and secondary school students were invited to enter the online competition, with the winners being Kiya Hargreaves, aged 12, from Lemon Tree Passage, and Sophia Lethbridge, 15, from Salamander Bay.
Kiya was judged first in the 5-12 years category for her photo 'Camels on the Beach' at Birubi, while Sophia took out the 13-17 years category for 'Ghost Waters', a view of the bay at night.
Both girls attend St Philip's Christian College and said that they were excited to receive the news.
"I have always loved photography, and the camels photo was taken after a day spent touring in the bay. I particularly love to photo animals, and some of my favourites include the whales and dolphins," said Kiya.
Sophia said that she was fortunate to capture the bay under the full moon for her winning picture.
"I waited for the clouds to completely surround the moon before taking the shot," she said. "My interest in photography came from older sister."
The budding photographers win a family ticket to go whale watching with Imagine Cruises when the lockdown ends.
Imagine's Frank Future said that he was proud to get involved with a competition that promotes the Port's 'Incredible by Nature' campaign.
"It seems every young person these days has a camera phone and you just never know when you may be in the right place at the right time."
Elisabetta Kennedy, 11, of Corlette was placed second in the 5-12 years category, winning a dolphin watch cruise with Moonshadow-TQC Cruises, and Stephanie Elsegood, 12, of Corlette, finished third, winning a beach and dune tour with 4WD Tours R Us.
In the 13-17 years category, Ece Emir, 17, of Nelson Bay, was placed second and Emelia Naumov, 14, of Lemon Tree Passage, was third. Ece won a family ticket to visit Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters and Emelia a family voucher to go sandboarding with 4WD Tours.
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