On the Road >> Destination Insight Nelson Bay

Venturing down south into New South Wales

Nestled in the heart of Australia’s picturesque Port Stephens region, Nelson Bay is a coastal paradise that attracts travellers with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and laidback atmosphere. This charming town is not just a haven for beach lovers and marine enthusiasts, but it also a popular spot for golfers, boasting some spectacular golf courses in its vicinity.

Only 30 minutes from Newcastle, and one hour from the Hunter Valley, Nelson Bay is the main hub for Port Stephens and is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. It’s a place where the Worimi Conservation Lands’ sprawling sand dunes merge seamlessly with the sparkling blue of the Tasman Sea. The town’s vibrant marina is a focal point for water activities, offering opportunities for dolphin watching, fishing, and diving in its incredibly diverse marine parks.

Beyond the water, the area is rich in wildlife, with the Tomaree National Park providing walking tracks that reveal breathtaking views of the coastline and an array of native flora and fauna. The bay’s serene environment is complemented by a range of cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, making it an ideal destination for those seeking both adventure and relaxation.

For golf enthusiasts, Nelson Bay and its surrounding area are nothing short of a paradise. The region boasts several well-maintained and scenic golf courses, each offering a unique golfing experience.


The Golf Courses

Nelson Bay Golf Club: Located in the heart of Nelson Bay, this 27-hole championship golf course is known for its challenging layout and picturesque setting. Surrounded by native trees and frequented by local wildlife, it offers a tranquil yet exciting golfing experience.

Pacific Dunes Golf Club: Just a short drive from Nelson Bay, Pacific Dunes in Medowie blends championship-level golf with the natural landscape. This 18-hole course, designed by renowned golf course architect James Wilcher, is set amidst native wetlands and rolling fairways. The course is known for its strategic design, making it a delight for golfers of all skill levels.

Horizons Golf Resort: Ranked among Australia’s best golf courses, Horizons offers a challenging 18-hole championship course in Salamander Bay. Its stunning layout, featuring an array of natural obstacles and pristine fairways, promises a memorable golfing experience. The resort also offers luxurious accommodation, making it a perfect getaway for golfing holidays.

The Vintage Golf Club: A bit further away in the Hunter Valley, The Vintage Golf Club is a must-visit for serious golfers. Designed by Greg Norman, the course’s 18 holes are set against the backdrop of the beautiful Hunter Valley wine region, offering a golfing experience that’s as scenic as it is challenging.

Newcastle Golf Club: Tucked away in the peaceful sand dunes near Fern Bay, Newcastle Golf Club stands out as one of Australia’s premier golf courses. This 18-hole championship course, praised for its challenging and strategic layout, is set in a stunning natural landscape characterized by rolling hills and native bushland. The course layout, demanding yet fair, is known for its tight fairways and fast, true greens, presenting a test to golfers of all abilities.

Cypress Lakes Golf Club: Situated in the renowned Hunter Valley wine region, Cypress Lakes Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience amidst vineyards and the majestic Brokenback mountain range. This 18-hole championship course, designed with great attention to the natural topography, provides golfers with a diverse range of challenges, including undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and large, fast greens.

Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club: Nestled in the heart of the Hunter Valley, Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club is a beautifully designed 18-hole championship course, offering a golfing experience that is as enjoyable as it is challenging. Surrounded by the picturesque vineyards and rolling countryside of the Hunter region, the course caters to all levels of golfers with its varied hole designs, water features, and well-manicured fairways and greens.

We are fortunate to be able to partner with some of the highest quality accommodation suppliers in the region and can ensure that our guests that travel to Nelson Bay are treated to a comfortable and delightful stay. We recommend considering the following properties for your next stay.

Oaks Nelson Bay Lure Suites: Situated just a short walk from the marina and town centre, Oaks Lure Suites offers contemporary one and two-bedroom apartments. These self-contained units are perfect for families or groups, featuring full kitchens, spacious living areas, and private balconies. The property also has an outdoor pool and sundeck, providing a relaxing environment for guests.

The Landmark Nelson Bay: Overlooking the Nelson Bay Golf Course and just minutes from the beach, The Landmark offers well-appointed one and two-bedroom apartments. Each unit comes with a kitchenette, air conditioning, and a private balcony, offering views of the golf course, pool, or gardens. The resort features an outdoor pool, a steam room, and a BBQ area.

Cote D’Azur: This resort, located in the town centre, offers luxury self-contained two and three-bedroom apartments. Each apartment is stylishly furnished and comes with a fully equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, and a private balcony. Guests can take advantage of the resort’s outdoor pool, gym, sauna, and BBQ area.

Mantra Nelson Bay: Located in the heart of this charming coastal town, offers a delightful blend of comfort and convenience, making it an ideal choice for both leisure and business travellers. The property features spacious one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, each equipped with modern amenities, including full kitchens and private balconies. Guests can enjoy facilities such as an outdoor pool, a heated spa, and a BBQ area. Its central location provides easy access to the marina, beaches, and local dining options, making it a popular choice for those looking to explore the best of Nelson Bay.

Nelson Bay also offers a diverse array of dining options that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. Here are some of the best places to dine in Nelson Bay, renowned for their quality dishes and enjoyable dining experiences:

Little Beach Boathouse: Located right on the water at Little Beach, this restaurant offers fresh seafood and modern Australian cuisine with stunning ocean views. It’s a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a relaxing meal while watching the sunset.

Sandpipers Restaurant: Located in the heart of Nelson Bay, Sandpipers offers contemporary Australian cuisine with a focus on fresh, locally sourced seafood and produce. The relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere makes it ideal for both casual and special occasions.

Mod Thai Food & Noodle Bar: For those craving Thai cuisine, Mod Thai in Nelson Bay provides a wide range of traditional Thai dishes. Known for its authentic flavours and friendly service, it’s a great spot for a casual and flavourful meal.

The Wharf Restaurant: Overlooking the d’Albora Marinas, The Wharf Restaurant offers a range of seafood and steak options. The setting is ideal for a meal with a view, especially if you enjoy watching the boats come and go.

If you’re looking to take a day off from golf whilst you’re in town, we would recommend taking in one or two of the following:

Tomaree Head Summit Walk: For breathtaking panoramic views of Port Stephens and the surrounding coastline, hike up to the summit of Tomaree Head. The walk is moderately challenging but the views from the top are more than worth the effort.

Stockton Sand Dunes: Explore the largest moving coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. You can go sandboarding, enjoy a camel ride, or take a 4WD tour across this unique landscape.

Visit Nearby Wineries: The Hunter Valley, Australia’s premier wine region, is just a short drive away. Spend a day tasting some of Australia’s best wines and enjoying the picturesque countryside.

Dolphin and Whale Watching Cruises: Nelson Bay is famous for its resident dolphins and seasonal whale watching. Joining a cruise to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a truly unforgettable experience.

Snorkelling or Diving at Fly Point: Located within the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park, Fly Point is a haven for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts. The area is teeming with marine life and is known for its clear waters and diverse underwater ecosystems.

So, if you’re looking for an enticing new destination for your next golf trip, but are unsure where to go, you could certainly do a lot worse than Nelson Bay. With easy access via Newcastle Airport, fantastic golf courses all within a very short drive from town, and with copious things to see and do, why not try it for yourself.

Even better, leave all the heavy lifting to us at Signature Golf Tours and we’ll craft your perfect trip for you. Drop us a line and we can get started.


Images sourced from Australian Golf Digest, Golf Australia Magazine, Google images and Candice High Photography.

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