Inner Light Tea Rooms is located at Nelson Head Lighthouse, on the headland between Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay, in the beautiful Port Stephens. This central location makes it popular with both locals and tourists - particularly those who are staying at Halifax Holiday Park at Little Beach, at the bottom of the headland. It is a café that has delicious food, tasty scones and friendly staff - however, it is the view that everyone goes for.
When you first enter the outside dining area and simply look around, your eyes are bombarded by beauty. The bright blue water, the islands in the distance, the shocking white of the sand along Shoal Bay Beach and the overall effect of all that pristine wonder all in one place, stops you in your tracks. After you have recovered, find a seat - you are going to want to stay awhile!
Inner Light Tea Rooms - one of the most scenic cafes in the Port Stephens region
I had been meaning to visit this café after hearing about it from locals for my article Top 10 Cafes & Restaurants with Water Views around Nelson Bay. When I arrived, I could see why it was spoken about so highly. As the café has such spectacular water views over the bays, it is the perfect spot for whale watching - from your table or using the coin-fed binoculars next to the café. On our visit, as soon as we sat down, a few black cockatoos also flew by with a flap of their large wings, into the tops of the trees next to the dining area. Other birds joined them, before dispersing in different directions and disappearing down into Shoal Bay, below.
Whale and bird-watching from your table, sitting above the treeline!
After settling in, help yourself to a menu and peruse the fresh and flavoursome options for breakfast, lunch and morning and afternoon tea - see here for the menu. It is a popular place for tourist groups, seniors, couples and families, with a tasty kids menu available between 9am - 3pm. Although the outside tables are the drawcards for most visitors, if you stumble upon this scenic gem on a chilly day, there are also a small number of tables to choose from inside near a fireplace. Even on a cloudy, wet or cold day, the view would still be a sight to behold.
Peruse the menu and enjoy the view, or warmth from the fireplace in winter
As we looked around at the other tables close to lunch-time, we noticed that most people had ordered delicious-looking plates of scones, and were happily devouring them with lavish spreadings of cream. Although we didn't intend of having scones when we arrived, they looked so good that we ordered coffees, toasted sandwiches and a plate of scones to share, for a semi-healthy lunch. Well...I did say semi-healthy!
Red salmon and cucumber toasted sandwich ($8) and a serve of scones ($8.50)
This café is one of the most popular scenic cafes in Port Stephens and it is easy to see why. It has million dollar views, scones which melt in the mouth, friendly staff who are up for a chat and you may even spot a whale or two on your visit, between May to November. After your visit, why not have a look around the Nelson Head Heritage Inner Lighthouse Reserve Museum, which costs a gold coin to enter and you then learn more about the life of the lighthouse keeper, in years gone by. There is also a little gift shop, a walk around the headland, historical signs and information about the Marine Rescue unit who work from the headland and have the best view of the water in the region.
Inner Light Tea Rooms and the whole headland it sits on, is a "must" for any new local or tourist to visit, whilst exploring the scenic Port Stephens. Just makes sure you try the scones!
You can't get much better than scones with a view, at Inner Light Tea Rooms
Please note - parking is very limited on the headland - if you drive up and can't find a car park space, you will need to turn around and drive back down the hill. Parking is also available at the bottom of the hill if you are happy to walk up and down.
For more articles on what to do in the Port Stephens region, see here. To receive all the latest articles to your inbox, click on "Subscribe" at the top. Enjoy the view!