Our new end of year tradition is the “get the heck out of town” mini-break in the lead up to Christmas. I honestly think there is no better time to escape the craziness and re-charge before heading home for the festivities.. This year we headed a few hours north of Sydney to Shoal Bay in Port Stephens.

We’ve been to Port Stephens for both Babymoons with Archie and Poppy, so it was beautiful to return with both our babes earthside- and this time we stayed at the stunning SALT AT SHOAL BAY.



SALT AT SHOAL BAY is a stunning beachside property with three family friendly accomodations. The modern Australian beach house is divided into two self contained levels and a free standing cottage.

We stayed in Salt Two on the ground floor- a four bedroom spacious retreat with 2 bathrooms, open plan living, front and back deck and private media room. It sleeps 8 adults and two children, has a barefoot luxury vibe while being totally kid friendly - a rare combo indeed.

We were also lucky enough to visit Salt One upstairs which has the same luxury details, but with panoramic ocean views and two balconies.



The distance to the beach- literally across the road.

Walking distance to great coffee and food

Helpful property manager- great recommendation guide

Short drive to main town with supermarket, restaurants & shops

Well equiped, spacious kitchen

Outdoor shower

The open air breakfast bar

Private media room with Netflix (hello Kids movies!)

Beautiful bathrooms - one with a bath

Great laundry - I actually want this laundry at home!



We loved SHOAL BAY COUNTRY CLUB - such a cool space with various dining options. We enjoyed brunch downstairs at Mermaids and a long lunch (with delicious cocktails) upstairs. Cannot recommend this place more highly- such an asset to the bay.
Nelson Bay is a short drive away with a bigger variety of dining and shopping. We loved coffee from The Home Interior, a retail space with their own café.

Other recommendations were Little Nel for the best lunch and the breakfast bowls at Clean Eats. 

Miss Mays Picnics set up luxurious picnic spreads in Port Stephens, whether it’s a beautiful grazing table amongst friends, date night, baby shower, or any excuse. 




Shoal Bay is the perfect balance of sleepy coastal town and good amenities. There are lots of activities - dolphin watching, kayaking, coastal walks etc and some great restaurants (and coffee!) Here is the hit list.

Tomaree Head Summit Walk is a steep walk that rewards with its killer view over Shoal Bay, nearby Zenith Beach and across to Nelson Bay. 

Port Stephens is renowned for its local population of dolphins that inhabit the bay, and are often spotted cruising the coastline at Shoal Bay. Spot these majestic creatures on a Moonshadow Cruise with dolphin watch cruises all year round.

 Take to the water via kayak or SUP with Port Stephens Paddle Sports.  They also hire catamaran-style SUP boards, providing a larger base for a morning yoga and SUP experience. They also run guided tours of the Port Stephens Marine Park. 

 There’s a great network of cycling trails in Port Stephens and bikes can be hired from Shoal Bay Bike Hire. A good tip is the cycle to Fingal Bay, via a cycleway that passes through bushland and ends in the sleepy, stunning holiday village not far from Shoal Bay.