Relax on white sandy beaches, kayak with bottlenose dolphins and spot koalas in the wild in charming Shoal Bay in Port Stephens. Walk to Tomaree Head for fantastic views of the ocean and coastline, and even spot whales during the migration season.
Things to do in Shoal Bay
The majestic Shoal Bay Beach curves 2.5km from Nelson Head to Tomaree Head. The sweeping views of the pristine inlet are mesmerising. The calm bay waters are perfect for swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and you’ll find picnic tables and BBQ facilities in the beachside reserve.
At the eastern end of the bay is magnificent Tomaree National Park. On the paved Fort Tomaree walk around the headland are reminders of Australia’s World War II coastal defence. From here, take the Tomaree Head Summit walk for a breathtaking panorama of Port Stephens and beyond.
In and around the national park you can spot koalas munching on swamp mahogany, a species of eucalypt. There are also gorgeous ocean-facing beaches and cycling trails, including south to pretty Fingal Bay Beach.
Shoal Bay is a delightful base for exploring Port Stephens’ top attractions and natural beauty, such as the towering Stockton Bight sand dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands. There are plenty of adventure tours to the dunes. The dolphin, whale and scuba diving tours depart from Nelson Bay.
Eating and drinking
You’ll find a delicious selection of places to eat and tasty takeaway fish and chips on the waterfront. At the Shoal Bay Country Club, enjoy breakfast at Mermaids Cafe, lunch or dinner in the rooftop bistro, and tasty cocktails all day long. The club is directly across from the beach, and hosts live music on the weekends and kids activities on Sunday afternoon.
Getting there and where to stay
Getting to Shoal Bay is easy. The drive north from Sydney is 2h 30min and from Newcastle Airport about 30 minutes. There is a wide range of accommodation options from holiday parks to stylish resorts.