Go for a walk along the bays, looking for dolphins
When you move to a new town or go on holidays, there is always a popular, scenic walk that the locals like to do. Whether it is along a headland, around a lake or up a hill to a lookout, when you get up early you will always see people enjoying the most scenic walk in the area. This is how I discovered the Nelson Bay to Little Beach Walk, starting from d'Albora Marinas in the heart of Nelson Bay. I headed on down to the most scenic venue in town and then joined the locals on the spectacular trip along the foreshore and around the headland to Little Beach, which was just a 40-minute return short walk - depending on how far you go at the end and how side-tracked you get!
It was the perfect way to start the day, in this sub-tropical paradise.
Nelson Bay - a slice of paradise on the NSW coastline
This walk can begin wherever you wish, however many locals make their way to D'Albora Marinas and then head east away from the boats and towards the sandy bays. The path is a shared bike path with walkers and cyclists, so keep an ear out for a bike bell as you walk along. The foreshore walk is a concrete path and a good width for two people to walk together, or for someone walking a dog, or two.
As you walk along, check out the most scenic playground in the area, Nelson Bay Playground, walk past the Cruise Booking Agency and the Dolphin Watch café and then along the back of the sandy bays that make up the area. If you have the energy, stop off at the outdoor exercise gym next to the path and then fill up your water bottle nearby.
Start your walk at the d'Albora Marinas, Nelson Bay
After walking for about 5 - 10 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to take photos, there is a sign on the left explaining the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park fishing sanctuary. Continue on past this sign and up around the headland. (If you choose to walk to Shoal Bay instead, then cross the road at this sign and walk up through the parkland).
When you see the sign, keep going up towards the headland
Just a short way up the hill to Little Beach, you may notice a few parked cars and a tucked away little area on your left hand side. Although it isn't sign posted on the street level, if you take the short track down to the headland, you will notice a set of stairs that heads straight down into the water. This is known as Fly Point, and is one of the most popular snorkelling locations in Nelson Bay. Why not take a moment to read the signs and learn more about this slice of nature, just off the beaten path. The water looks so inviting, I can almost guarantee that you will want to go back and try it out for yourself!
The best time to snorkel at Fly Point is the top of the high tide
The road then continues up and around the headland, with a designated lane for walkers and cyclists, next to the cars that drive over the headland. When you get to the other side of the hill, the view of Little Beach unveils itself with bright white sand, clear blue water and jetties that jut out into the water, with fishermen and women trying their luck. If you are feeling hot, take off your shoes and go for a walk in the clear water.
Little Beach is a popular tourist destination, as it has Halifax Holiday Park just behind the beach and also a boat ramp, for people to go out for the day and fish or jet ski. If you have more energy, you could always walk up to the top of the lookout and take in the view from Nelson Head Lighthouse Reserve and Inner Light Tearooms. If you are on an exercise mission, however, return back the way you came and enjoy the view on the way back.
Everywhere you look is a photograph, just waiting to be taken...
View from the far end of Little Beach towards Yacaaba Headland