Port Stephens on the New South Wales North Coast is a blue water paradise boasting over 26 beautiful beaches, making it the ideal beach holiday destination. With the recent high profile opening of Rick Stein at Bannisters, it's shone a light on the emerging foodie scene in 'the bay'.
We've had the luxury of spending the summer in Port Stephens, checking out what's new so you can enjoy our locals guide for the best places to eat, drink and experience in Port Stephens!
Eat & Drink
Rick Stein at Bannisters
The sleepy village of Soldiers Point has welcomed the much-hyped opening of Rick Stein's North Coast outpost, expanding from the picturesque South Coast town of Mollymook. Expect the finest locally sourced ingredients from ocean to plate in signature Rick Stein style. Locals tip, head upstairs to the Terrace Bar, with panoramic ocean views and casual dining by the pool for a glass of wine and the most perfect calamari or cocktails and bar snacks.
One of the most inviting bars at the Bay is Hemingway's Bar at The Anchorage. Sink into the leather lounges, relaxing fireside in winter or admiring the Marina views from your upper level window seat vantage point. The adjoining Captain's Tasting Room holds daily whiskey tastings on the handsome central dining table.
The Wild Herring
For fine dining or a special occasion, head to The Wild Herring at The Anchorage boasting magical views of the marina and bay. The modern Australian menu features fresh, local and regional seafood with either 2 or 3 course options or a Chef's Tasting Menu with matched wines. Head Chef Michael Jenkins' creative menu is one to savour with highlights such as Blue Swimmer Crab, chilli, peppery leaves on angel hair pasta – divine!
Shoal Bay Country Club
The iconic Country Club has had a dazzling makeover with sunny white washed walls, striped umbrellas and pastel interiors. The venue takes you effortlessly from morning coffee, breakfast in Mermaids, lunch + dinner upstairs at The Kitchen and Patio or cocktails overlooking the Shoal Bay Beach. If you're after a relaxed, sun-soaked meal and drinks then this is the place for you.
Kelp Shoal Bay
Newly opened, Kelp Shoal Bay shows loads of potential with light, bright décor and a great brunch menu. It's too early to review, however the team serve up Campos coffee with a smile so they're off to a great start. The venue is also dishing up pizza from the neighbouring pizzeria, Pizza Buoy.
Little Beach Boathouse
This is the Bay's best-kept secret, hidden amongst the trees on the shores of Little Beach in one of the most picturesque spots in Port Stephens. Little Beach Boathouse boasts a top-notch restaurant on the upper level and casual eats and overwater bar below. No matter the occasion, make a detour to Little Beach Boathouse on your Port Stephens vacay.
One of our favourite brunch spot, this buzzy corner café has inviting coastal cool interiors and a delicious breakfast menu including Wild Mushroom Bruschetta with onion jam, Persian feta, sage and hazelnuts which is a thing of beauty. Don't miss browsing upstairs at their stunning homewares store The Home Interior.
This café in Magnus Street is serving up some good brew from local Central Coast roasters Glee Coffee. They're also doing their bit for the planet, stocking a great range of Pottery for the Planet ceramic keep cups.
The Little Nel
Another contender for best coffee in Nelson Bay is The Little Nel at the Nelson Resort. This friendly café also has a tempting array of sweet treats and raw desserts, that's health food right?
Two Bob's Bakery
Blink and you'll miss it at Nelson Bay's newest bakery; a hole in the wall store in Yacaaba St (near Home Interior). Two Bob's Bakery has your essentials – superior sourdough and espresso coffee to go! You're welcome.
Nelson Bay has a growing number of boutiques to browse, where you can hunt for homewares at Home Interior or Bay Living & Garden, buy local art at Earthquirks or Artisan Collective or pick up some resort wear at Corner Secrets, Covet Couture or Else & Me.
Plan your holiday to Port Stephens around one of the Bay's foodie events such as Tastes at the Bay featuring the best local food, wine and music in November. Port Stephens is renowned for sensational seafood all year round, but visit in August for the Love Sea Food Festival and dine like kings on sweet prawns, plump oysters, lobsters, blue swimmer and mud crabs - from the trawler to the table, your catch of the day is as fresh as it gets.
Laze at the Beach
There are so many beaches to choose from around Port Stephens. The calming waters of Shoal Bay are great for families and are perfect for swimming or paddle boarding. Nearby Fingal Bay Beach is a patrolled, protected beach with a surf club, café and restaurant. The best surfing beaches in Port Stephens include Zenith and Box Beaches near Tomaree Head, Samurai Beach, One Mile Beach and Birubi Beach.
The Anchorage is an idyllic, Hamptons-style waterfront resort with dazzling marina views, ideal for a mini-break or weekend getaway. The luxurious resort has a heavenly onsite day spa, Spa Luca offering a range of treatments and packages as well as a wellness menu with a choice of nourishing food. Surrender to the calmness of the sea and relax in one of the Anchorage rooms or suites, the perfect base to explore all Port Stephens has to offer.
Book The Anchorage or browse our handpicked collection of Port Stephens accommodation.Continue reading