The twin town of the oceanfront Hawks Nest and the gateway to the Barrington Coast, the charming riverside village of Tea Gardens adds a touch of sophistication to a classic beach holiday with its strip of restaurants, cafes and galleries displaying the works of local artists inspired by the natural beauty of its stunning waterways.
The Myall River, spanned by the ‘singing bridge’ that leads to Hawks Nest, is great for fishing and boating. Grab a paddle and explore by a kayak hired from Lazy Paddles, or take a guided tour. The secluded Black Oaks picnic area is a gorgeous spot to stop for lunch on a paddling trip. In the spectacular Myall Lakes National Park, take a boat trip to sandy Broughton Island, home to the only campground in NSW where you can camp among a seabird colony.
For a scenic and affordable day trip, jump on the Port Stephens Ferry Service which departs daily from Tea Gardens to Nelson Bay, where you can take dolphin watching cruises year round or go whale watching between May and November. Across the bridge in Hawks Nest, there are kilometres of beautiful beaches to relax on, including Bennett’s Beach on the Pacific Ocean side, and tranquil Jimmys Beach on the bay.
Inspired by nature
Tea Gardens has attracted a creative community, with local paintings, drawings, ceramics and jewellery on display at The Gallery and the Myall Community Arts and Crafts Centre (behind the Visitor Information Centre). The Myall River Art Walk also features 25 installations and sculptures scattered throughout Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest, an initiative to encourage and foster local talent.
Eat, drink & be merry
Tiny Tea Gardens punches well above its weight when it comes to great restaurants and cafes, many of them lining the riverfront. The oldest continually operating restaurant on the North Coast of NSW, Tillermans is an icon with a menu focusing on local produce; while the Tea Gardens Boatshed is a great place for brunch view absolute water views.
Getting there & where to stay
Perfect for a beachside escape or family holiday, Tea Gardens is less than three hours’ drive north of Sydney and just 40min from Newcastle Airport. Coach services also run from Sydney via Newcastle. You can also make this a memorable stop on a North Coast road trip.
Accommodation options in Tea Gardens range from motels to beachside holiday parks and camping grounds. You’ll find plenty of camping options, with the alluring attractions of the beautiful Myall Lakes National Park right on the doorstep.