Soldiers Point is a suburb of Port Stephens, just a quick 15 minute drive from Nelson Bay. It is on a peninsula that juts out into Port Stephens itself, so both sides of the area is surrounded by water - see here for a map. Most of us visit this small region to appreciate the crystal-clear, blue water, white sand and holiday atmosphere, however, it is also interesting to learn that Soldiers Point got its name from soldiers who gathered there in 1820 to hunt down escaped convicts! The land also has indigenous significance and in 2016, the New South Wales government declared 5.9 hectares of the suburb as an "Aboriginal place" - recognising that it has cultural, spiritual and historical significance to the Worimi people.
This sleepy little area is quiet in winter, but absolutely jam-packed with tourists in summer, due to the number of accommodation options along the peninsula. Here are at least 5 things to do there this weekend...
Visit or stay at the luxury Bannisters Port Stephens, Soldiers Point
1/ Bannisters Port Stephens is the jewel of the Soldiers Point peninsula, for its 5 star facilities and popular Rick Stein seafood restaurant located inside. The whole complex opened in late 2018 and it has now cemented itself as a luxury tourist destination. You don't need to stay there to enjoy the property - stop in for a cocktail by the pool at the Terrace Bar, have a sumptuous seafood dinner at Rick Steins and then head on down to the Tavern for after-dinner drinks. This venue has "holiday vibe" written all over it! See here for details.
2/ Fishing from the Soldiers Point Jetty is a popular activity, particularly with families, to try and catch a wide range of fish which are travelling through the bay. This popular spot is visited by many, particularly on the rising tide, as the jetty has stairs to sit on and a spectacular view to look at while you wait for a bite. Ensure you have a NSW fishing licence and are aware of the Port Stephens Marine Park boundaries. Bait can be picked up from the Salamander Bay Village shops nearby. See here for a Google map to find it.
3/ Visit the Bays around the peninsula and marvel at the clear, blue water and pure white sand which surrounds the suburb. If you are going to go for a walk along the sand, check out the tides and preferably go when it is low tide, as there will be more sand to walk on. Take a romantic stroll along Sunset Beach on the other side of the peninsula and have a walk up the Sunset Beach Jetty, to spot fish in the clear water below. As the name implies, stay longer and enjoy the sunset!
The clear waters of Sunset Beach, with jetty behind
4/ Soldiers Point Marina is located at the end of Sunset Beach above, and offers good food, good wine and sunset views every evening. The marina has two restaurants to choose from - The Point restaurant is located upstairs at the marina and is popular for weddings and romantic evenings. Downstairs is The Deck, which offers seafood and Mediterranean cuisine literally metres from the water's edge - if you're lucky, you can even spot dolphins from your table! If you visit during the day, also check out the Boat Shed Café, which is a floating café on a pontoon. See here for details
* Soldiers Point Marina is the ideal venue to walk to for meals if you are staying at Thou Walla Sunset Retreat, just a short walk up the road.
The spectacular setting of Soldiers Point Marina. Image: Soldiers Point Marina Facebook
5/ Soldiers Point Bowling Club is a hub of the local area, located next to the Big 4 Soldiers Point and opposite Bannisters Port Stephens. If you are visiting the area with kids, they will love the family-friendly White Sands Bistro (with playground) and school holiday activities. This friendly community club has live music, barefoot bowls and a wide range of entertainment options. See here for details.
Whilst visiting this scenic area, you are sure to slow down, breathe in the fresh air and relax as the holiday vibe takes over your soul. Also, look out for wildlife wherever you are - koalas happily live in the trees, Corella's sit atop the powerlines and lorikeets screech every night as the sun sets. Soldiers Point may just be a small part of the larger Port Stephens region, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty...