It seems that the best direction is north.
Nelson Bay houses the most picturesque scenery in New South Wales, along with spectacular walks that are sure to get your busy life out of your mind for a while. At least for a weekend.
This quaint coastal town is great for all sorts of travellers; whether lovers, families or solo expeditions. But, it’s especially perfect for anyone needing a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle.
Without further ado, here’s our weekender guide to Nelson Bay, NSW.
Aussie Bob’s Fish & Chips
When you’re looking for hearty fish and chips without the fancy getup, then you need Aussie Bob’s Fish & Chips. Located over in Shoal Bay – which is where all the fun activities are – this classic fish and chips eatery serves up hearty packages of seafood whether that be battered, crumbed or fried.
Aussie Bob’s Fish & Chips – 2A Tomaree Rd, Shoal Bay NSW 2315
Evviva Cafe & Bar
For one of the cruisiest breakfasts in town, look no further than Evviva Cafe & Bar. Think smashed avo and salmon on sourdough or simple bacon and egg rolls. But when the weekend comes along, Evviva turns into a sophisticated wine and tapas bar. It’s the most delectable all-rounder for any traveller.
Evviva Cafe & Bar – 14 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW 2317
Sandpipers is the classiest restaurant in town, serving up modern Australian cuisine with the freshest local produce. Indulge in satiating dishes like slow-cooked Sandpiper’s Pork Belly ($34), Cashew Nut Butter Chicken ($34), Scotch Fillet ($38) or even Slipper Lobster Linguine ($34). Match your savoury choice with a boozy beverage before topping it off with dessert.
Sandpipers Restaurant – 81 Magnus St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
Shoal Bay Country Club
Overlooking the reputable Shoal Bay, Shoal Bay Country Club is the top spot for fancy tipples and hearty socialising. It’s streaming white exterior balances well with the simplistic interior. It really does feel like a country club, but you don’t need a special membership for this one!
Shoal Bay Country Club – 35-45 Shoal Bay Rd, Shoal Bay NSW 2315
Mavericks on the Bay
Bring out a touch of elegance with your evening liquid refreshment by making your way to Mavericks on the Bay found on the d’Albora Marina. It is also one of the best places for a seafood fix. Snag a seat on the back patio for an afternoon of luxurious imbibes while watching the moored yachts sway in the swell.
Mavericks on the Bay – Teramby Rd, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
For a rustically rambunctious evening with the cruisy locals, be sure to hit up Seabreeze Hotel. Weekends consist of live entertainment and generous specials, as well as their wonderful eats that can be tasted throughout the whole week. We recommend starting the night with a jug of Long Island Iced Tea.
Seabreeze Hotel – 1 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
Climb your way to the most spectacular view of Port Stephens and the surrounding waters. After immersing yourself in the calm waters along Shoal Bay, it’s the perfect time to work those muscles and make your way to the peak of Tomaree Mountain. The 2.2km loop takes up to two hours to complete but we can admit that each step along the metallic walkway brings you bigger and better views.
Once you hire out the necessary snorkelling gear at Feet First Dive in Nelson Bay, you are on your way to a fantastic day of snorkelling. Whether you’re an expert or novice, the popular diving sites around Nelson Bay are easy to navigate. First is The Pipeline along the northern end of d’Albora Marina, the next best is Fly Point north of Little Nelson Bay, and the most notable is Halifax Park near Nelson Bay Lighthouse.
While the beaches along the north end of Nelson Bay are the most accessible, the best ones are along the short east coast. Take a hike from Zenith Beach and head south to the quaint and quiet Wreck Beach or Box Beach, and then end up at Fingal Beach for a much-needed dip. And for 4WD enthusiasts, take a drive out to Samurai Beach.
Swim with dolphins
Nelson Bay is the only place in New South Wales where you can experience the inquisitive behaviour of dolphins. With Dolphin Swim Australia, guests are attached to a customised rope which is strung between two bows on a catamaran and towed through the water while dolphins dart back and forth just metres away. The excursion includes educational commentary, a light breakfast, equipment and complimentary photos above the surface.
Gan Gan Lookout
It may not be as impressive as Tomaree Mountain, but at least the climb is not as harsh. In fact, you can drive all the way up to the base. Witness a 360-degree view of Nelson Bay to the immediate north and Tomaree National Park to the south. But, if you feel like a decent workout, we recommend walking. Just beware of cars!
Wake up to the sparkling waters of Shoal Bay mere metres away from the front door. Each room at Ramada Resort feature either a kitchenette or, in some rooms, a fully equipped kitchen. The interior decor is simple and effective, matching the exotic scenery surrounding it. Ramada Resort also comes with an outdoor and an indoor pool, gym, sauna and 24/hr reception.
Ramada Resort – 35-45 Shoal Bay Rd, Shoal Bay, Port Stephens, NSW, 2315
Hotel Nelson is perfect for any type of group, whether it’s a family of four, a lovey-dovey couple or a solo traveller. Rooms with a balcony come with double doors to block out nearby traffic noise, with all rooms having the most marvellous shower and bathroom. The hotel is fitted with a heated pool and lounging area, as well as a gym and sauna.
Hotel Nelson – 3 Government Rd, Nelson Bay, NSW 2315