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Where are the Best Free BBQ Areas around Nelson Bay?

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by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun! Find me on instagram: @australianrecipesbythebay
Published December 9th 2019
There is nothing better on a hot day than to go for a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Port Stephens and then fire up a free BBQ in the reserve behind. The smell of sausages and onions cooking gets the stomach rumbling and the humble sausage sandwich has never tasted so good, then at that moment. Am I right?

Around the Nelson Bay area, there are dozens of free BBQs to use, near swimming beaches and children's playgrounds. Especially over the summer months, you will see people congregating at these areas for children's birthday parties, family reunions and Christmas celebrations. They are also used by tourists in their vans, to cook up dinner and enjoy the view. These are the BBQ areas which our family have thrown on a snag on and love - where is your favourite free BBQ? Please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your favourite...if you don't mind giving your secret away, of course!

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BBQ area on the Nelson Bay Foreshore, on Victoria Parade


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Picnic tables, shade and Nelson Bay Playground nearby


Nelson Bay Foreshore Reserve has picnic tables and a modern BBQ area along the waterfront, near the Nelson Bay Playground. The best part of having a BBQ along the Nelson Bay Foreshore is the shade, with huge trees which provide cover on a hot summer's day. If you decide to have a picnic, rather than a BBQ, there are also several picnic tables to choose from. There are toilets close-by, near the Dolphin Watch Cafe. The clear waters of Nelson Bay are just metres from your BBQ - you can't beat this venue for views, swimming and facilities. See here for details and here for a map to find it.

Little Nelson Bay can be found further along the foreshore, on the other side of Dolphin Watch Cafe. This BBQ area has a (paid) parking area right next to it, a shady BBQ area with two tables and a stunning beach right in front. The toilets are close-by and if you run out of cold drinks, the cafe is a short walk away. See here for a map to find it.

* This is the closest BBQ area to SPLASH Water Park - an inflatable water park that opens at Little Nelson Bay over the warmer months.

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BBQ area at Little Nelson Bay, located further along Victoria Parade


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Little Nelson Bay beach, just near the BBQ area


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SPLASH Water Park (open during the school holidays only), located a short distance from the BBQ area


Dutchmans Beach Reserve has an older-style BBQ near the playground, at the western end of the beach. There are two metal picnic tables nearby and it is just metres to the water if you want to go for a swim beforehand. This BBQ, in particular, is popular for children's birthday parties - our family have been to two in the last year - due to its proximity to the playground. There is also a small and free parking area nearby at the end of Burbong Street. Take your kids scooters and bikes as the BBQ area has a bike path next to it, which goes all the way to Nelson Bay in one direction and Bagnalls Beach in the other. There are also more free BBQs at the other end of the reserve. See here for details and here for a map to find it.

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One of the BBQs at Dutchmans Beach Reserve, located at the end of Beramby Road


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Close up of BBQ instructions. Visit Dutchmans Beach at low tide, if you want more sand to play in on the beach


There are free BBQ areas all around the bays of Port Stephens, with other popular ones located at Shoal Bay Foreshore Reserve, Bagnalls Beach Reserve (both ends), Conroy Park in Corlette, Corlette Point Park, Roy Wood Reserve (also in Corlette), Bob Cairns Reserve at Salamander Bay and Pearson Park at Soldiers Point, just to name a few!

Where is your favourite BBQ area around the Nelson Bay area? Please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your top tips. Ensure you pack the sun cream, the mossie spray and of course, the tomato sauce and enjoy your barbie by the bay this weekend!

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Corlette Point Park, located at the end of Corlette Point Road (next to The Anchorage hotel)

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