Bit of a geek who likes discovering new places in and around Sydney. Follow me on Instagram @richrammo or Twitter @richramo
Published April 6th 2014
Place to put your feet up and relax
Located approximately two and a half hours' drive north of Sydney is the small town of Hawks Nest. Hawks Nest is one of many small towns that make up the more well-known area of Port Stephens. Neighbouring Hawks Nest by the 'Singing Bridge' is the equally small town of Tea Gardens with a population of just 1100. If you're in need of a long weekend getaway from busy city life and enjoy some solitude than this might be the place for you. While it is a quiet town there are some amazing things you can to do in just a couple of days.
Catch a Ferry to Nelsons Bay
The majority of visitors to Port Stephen often stay in Nelsons Bay and may catch a ferry across the bay to Tea Gardens for a quiet lunch or a place to spend a relaxing afternoon. I chose to do things the way around. Catch a ferry from Tea Gardens and spend the day in Nelsons Bay and then catch the late ferry back to Tea Gardens in the afternoon. The ferry ride takes about an hour and is one of the most relaxing short boat trips I've ever been on. Take in the sights and sounds of the Myall River and Myall Lakes National Park. If you're lucky you may even catch sight of a pod of dolphins swimming down the river. More details about the local ferry services from Tea Garden can be found here.
While Hawks Nest is a small quiet town with a small population one of the more spectacular, but simple things to do it get up early and watch the sunrise over the Bennett's Beach. Being only a short walk from Oceanside Hawks Nest accommodation and a short drive from Tea Gardens, it really is the perfect way to start a day whether you are on holidays or a local in the area.
The Australia Shark and Ray Centre is about an hour's drive from Hawks Nest and it is located at Bob's Farm 15 minute west of Nelsons Bay. We fell upon the centre by accident by following the signs, I was quite curious about the place not knowing what to expect. The centre which looked like a huge warehouse was filled with different tanks and in those tanks were different species of stingrays and sharks. The Australian Shark and Ray Centre was a unique experience where you can feed both stingrays and sharks and if you are game enough touch and swim with them.
Go on a Dolphin and Whale Watch Cruise
If you do decide on taking the ferry from Tea Gardens to Nelsons Bay it is definitely worth booking in a Dolphin and Whale Watch cruise. There are a number of different companies that run daily charters from Nelsons Day. Moonshadow cruises is one of the more popular ones claiming dolphin sightings occur 99% of the time. We did see plenty the day we went. Whales can be seen as well but be aware that the chances of spotting them is season based.
Fan of fresh fish and chips, then Bub's Fish and Chips may be the place for you. Situated on the wharf at Nelsons Bay you won't find a fresher fish and chip restaurant in the region. Bub's fish and chips has a large assortment of seafood dishes something to cater for everyone needs.