A late night will have you in search of a decent breakfast and strong coffee the next morning. The Little Nel at the Nelson Resort will satisfy anyone’s appetite with a super café breakfast menu – a favourite of many Nelson Bay locals. Try the herbed garlic mushrooms served with fetta on a crusty sourdough, their famous eggs benedict or to curb a sweet tooth craving, the Little Nel Hotcake Stack complete with caramelised banana and warm maple syrup. Don’t sleep in too late or you might miss out (breakfast to 11am).
From rivers to the lakes and onto the ocean, the waterways of Port Stephens will relax or excite you; so freshen up with a swim, surf or snorkel in the amazing water playground that makes up the Great Lakes Marine Park, and burn off those extra calories from the previous day’s indulgence. There are plenty of experiences that will have you beside it, on it or below it. If entering the Wormi Conversation Lands a vehicle permit is required and can be collected from Williamtown or Anna Bay.
Offering a rich seafood harvest from its waters each year, it’s more than a must-do when it comes to Port Stephens’ famous oysters. Considered a gourmet’s delight, Sydney Rock oysters can be bought by the dozen, natural or Kilpatrick style but be sure to grab a loaf of crusty bread, maybe a local wine and a little salad before stopping in at Salamander Bay’s Holberts Oyster Farm.
Watch oyster shuckers at work before settling down at the wooden picnic tables to enjoy a spread of fresh sweet prawns or shucked rock oysters. Group tours of the oyster farm are available but need to be pre-booked prior to arrival.
If the seafood is all too much, then perhaps a visit to the region’s local macadamia farm will entice you. Open every day all year round, Medowie Macademia Farm is full of ‘nutural’ goodies from sauces and dressings to cosmetics, fudge and honey to coffee and biscuits. The farm café serves a large variety of sweets and cakes lending itself to the perfect afternoon sweetener.
If you’re after something to really tingle your tastebuds then make your way to Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. (Bobs Farm) for a taste of their local brew and famous beer scones. Known for doing two things well — brewing crafted beers of interest, and doing it with ridiculous consistency — the brewery and winery is set in 35 acres and runs daily tours at 2pm. Tours include beer and wine tasting, live entertainment and the Cellar Door store, and is an afternoon well spent.
For die-hard food lovers, be sure to pencil in a weekend in Port Stephens and indulge your tastebuds in an explosion of flavours along the Nelson Bay foreshore at the Blues Wine N Food Indulgence Festival (March) or Tastes @ the Bay Foodies Festival (November).
Held the first weekend of November and across two locations including d’Albora Marina, the Tastes @ the Bay Festival is a major culinary event and includes a fabulous collection of live entertainment, twilight markets and gourmet food stalls. Tickets for the festival can be purchased online.
Whether it’s the fresh produce from the local grower on the side of the road or freshly caught seafood on your plate, the climate, landscape and people of Port Stephens create the perfect culmination of ‘real’ food experiences, and a lifestyle governed by the rhythms of the seasons. It is really is a foodies’ paradise where food is enjoyed all year round as one of life’s simple pleasures.