When you visit Nelson Bay in Port Stephens, it is almost a necessity to try the local seafood and taste the fresh catch from the region. Every day, trawlers come into the Nelson Bay marina with their haul, fresh and ready to be sold at the seafood shops to hungry tourists and locals. As the water is literally teaming with fish, it is a way of life for the locals to throw in a line, cook up fresh fish or pick up half a kilo of prawns and enjoy them overlooking the water. Seafood is a big way of life in the Nelson Bay region - which is why UK chef Rick Stein has opened up his own seafood restaurant nearby.
There are three main places where you can pick up fresh local seafood in Nelson Bay, with the two most popular just metres apart near where the trawler boats come in. How do you know where to find them? Just look for the big prawn of course!
Fishermen's Wharf Seafoods, at the end of Teramby Road
Fishermen's Wharf Seafoods is located in Teramby Road, which is a narrow street that runs along the back of the d'Albora Marinas. There are a number of limited free car parking spaces for Fishermen's Wharf and Bubs Fish and Chips to the side of the shop, however if you can't get a park then keep driving to the paid parking car spaces further along. We find that the easiest option when it's busy, is to park in town and walk back along the waterfront.
This seafood shop is the biggest on this list, with a range of local seafood straight from the trawlers, as well as fish and prawns from Sydney and interstate. Walk along the display windows and buy whole or filleted fish, prawns, crabs, marinated seafood kebabs, seafood salads, whole bugs and lobsters or buy a tray of oysters to eat straight away. They don't have a website, however at the time of writing (November, 2018) they are open 7:30am - 5pm each day, except for Sunday when they close at 4pm. Call 4984 3330 to confirm, before your visit.
The Nelson Bay Fish Market is located just a short walk away from the seafood shop above, so it is a good option when comparing prices or if you are looking for a specific type of seafood. Although my family have lived in the Nelson Bay region for only a short time, we have noticed that this family-owned seafood shop seems to be popular with the locals, with several people mentioning that it is where they buy their seafood. It also has a good range of prawns and seafood, with most from the local area and up and down the coast. The range is smaller than Fisherman's Wharf, however the prices are similar, so why not check them both out and see what each have to offer? See here for details.
Local fish and friendly service at the Nelson Bay Fish Market
Holberts Oyster Farm is a small oyster outlet near Salamander Bay, which is a 15 minute drive from the seafood shops above. It is off the beaten track, but when you arrive there is a small car park and a few picnic tables overlooking the water, so you can eat oysters and prawns with a view. They sell just oysters, prawns and drinks (including alcoholic beverages), if you would like to enjoy a beer with your oysters. This family owned business has been in this location for over 30 years and sells oysters to the whole NSW region. See here for details.
If you don't mind buying seafood from one of the big chain supermarkets, then also check out the range at Salamander Bay Square shopping centre. We have often bought whole fish and prawns in Woolworths and they have been particularly shiny, healthy and delicious. The staff behind the counter are knowledgeable and it is also where you will often find the best prices.
If you find a seafood outlet in the wider Port Stephens region that you recommend, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this article and share your discovery. The whole coastline is jam-packed with seafood to enjoy - with a vista to match. Why don't you pick up some prawns and enjoy both, this weekend?