Shoal Bay, New South Wales, Australia
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Exploring Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay is a cute resort town in the Port Stephens area of mid New South Wales. It is especially popular with both couples and families who primarily visit in summer. It is best suited to discerning types who are interested in nature as much as the beach.

The area is strewn with pretty beaches, including the beautiful Fingal Bay Beach, which never gets crowded. Boat tours, cruises, diving expeditions, and fishing trips are the main activities, with trips going from nearby Nelson Bay Marina. Dolphin and whale watching in season are also popular, along with hiking in the nearby national parks.

There is a range of options for all travelers. The most popular hotel in Shoal Bay is the Shoal Bay Riggers, which has been booked &TravellersChoiceBooked1 times from our verified guests. Our guests also highly recommended Shoal Bay Holiday Park in Shoal Bay as it has been reserved &TravellersChoiceBooked2 times.

Sights nearby

Shoal Bay is all about the sea and the land, and there are several fine beaches, including Shoal Bay Beach, which is right in the town and overlooked by the Shoal Bay Resort & Spa. Most tourists check out the associated Tomaree National Park and the nearby Fingal Bay Beach.

- Fingal Bay

To the south of the resort town is the prettiest beach, the ‘C’-shaped Fingal Bay Beach. It has moderate swimming at its northern end, though it gets blustery here with south-easterlies and is more of a surfing spot—southern point breaks can get up to two metres high. The northern part of the beach is protected, in large part, by Fingal Island, which can be walked to at low tide across a sand spit.

- Tomaree National Park

This pretty little national park occupies most of the peninsula tip and has decent walking, beaches, and viewpoints. The beaches are stunning, with Fishermans Bay and Anna Bay boasting good picnic facilities, while One Mile Beach is ideal for surfing. There are several good walks, including those at Wreck Beach and Morna Point, while Tomaree Head Summit walk has the best views. Be sure to look out for whales.

- Stockton Beach

Beyond Tomaree National Park, between Shoal Bay and Newcastle, is this long expanse of beach which is noted for its huge sand dunes. You can boogie board down the dunes here, though the beach itself is not recommended for swimming due to the steep drop-off, although the southern end, near Newcastle, is safer and has changing facilities and picnic areas.

- Broughton Island

Not far offshore from Shoal Bay and Myall Lakes National Park is this stunning island of beaches and walks. There is some excellent snorkeling and diving around here, and tours run from Nelson. Ornithologists can enjoy mutton-bird spotting and check out the little penguins, while the Myall Lakes area proper has some wonderful walking and boating. Visitors can drive here from Shoal Bay.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Most of the area is residential, with the best of the shops and eateries along Shoal Bay Road, which fronts the beach. The Shoal Bay Country Club is a popular hangout with tourists and locals alike, plus most hotels have good food, including the four-star Shoal Bay Beach Club Apartments and the Shoal Bay Holiday Park, farther west. Alternatively, nearby Nelson Bay to the west of Shoal Bay has further options for wining and dining. Consider heading to Newcastle for more shopping choices, including galleries selling local aboriginal artwork.

Public transport

The quick way in is to fly to Newcastle Airport, which receives flights from the likes of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane with the country’s most popular carriers. It is then a short drive or taxi/shuttle ride to Shoal Bay. Cityrail and Countrylink trains from Sydney serve Newcastle, as do Port Stephens Coaches and McCafferty’s buses. Newcastle buses serve Shoal Bay throughout the day but it is best to rent a car from the likes of Europcar or Thrifty for getting to the parks. You can, however, walk around the town and the beach.

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