Visit Port Stephens- Stay in a Tiny Home with Riparide
The ONE positive about Covid this year is the fact that people are now more keen than ever to travel locally and "explore their backyard." We recently partnered with Riparide to promote travel locally within New South Wales. Riparide is a local Australian company that provides escapes from the city and brings you back into nature. They find the most charming places to stay in some remote areas of New South Wales and Victoria, and provide an entire experience of what to do and where to eat! The purpose is to challenge you to find a new adventure or experience that excites you through nature. We definitely felt this when we recently stayed in our tiny home, named The Clyde, along the Williams River Bank out in Eagleton.
One of the most charming and unique stays I've ever had! The property sits on the bank of the Williams River and is so serene. It's located about two and a half hours away from the CDB of Sydney and sits on the cusp of Hunter Valley and Port Stephens in a small town called Eagleton. Originally, this property was a shipping yard in the late 1800s and the first ever ship built was named "The Clyde." What a sweet ode to history to name this little tiny home after this!
Tiny Homes are a HUGE movement in Australia to stay in and I'm here for it! They are entirely built in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. They can range from 124 square feet to 200 square feet but don't feel cramped at all. Our Tiny home had a loft style living with a miniature kitchen, living area, and full sized bathroom on the first level, and the bed on the second level. Jeromie, my husband, is 6'8" and never felt claustrophobic in the house because of the high ceilings. We loved how there were so many windows for natural light and the house even had an air conditioning unit for those extra hot nights.
The bathroom had running hot water and a waterless composting toilet. We were impressed! It was like the finest experiences of glamping! Not to mention- those beautiful views of the Williams River Bank.
Waking up in our tiny home was an absolute breath of fresh air. We loved how you heard so many birds chirping around us. We slowly made coffee and decided to spend our morning on the pontoon overlooking the lake. The water was so calm you could see the reflections of the clouds in the water. Our sweet hosts, who also live on the property, have two Staffy dogs and Gemma, the black one, was friendly enough to come down to greet us. The owners also have some kayaks if you're interested in kayaking along the river!
In the evening, you could start a fire in the fire pit, roast some marshmallows, and watch the sun set over the perfect scenery. It's the perfect way to end the day at The Clyde.
Since we have had many weekend trips to Hunter Valley, we chose to spend our time exploring Port Stephens. Interested in visiting Hunter Valley? You can read our blog about it here!
Here are our recommendations for Port Stephens:
Where to eat
We were recommended to eat at the Shoal Bay Country Club and it did not disappoint! Located right on the Shoal Bay Beach, it has stunning views of crystal clear blue water and the Mount Tomaree National Park. The restaurant has such a chill vibe to it and you immediately feel comfortable and on vacation! I was absolutely obsessed with the House- Made Buttermilk Pancakes with berrries and mascarpone. Jeromie is more of a savory guy and felt so content with his Vegetarian Brekkie Bowl.
We loved this spot so much, we came back for lunch later and had a wood fired Margherita Pizza with a crisp Bundaberg's Ginger Beer.
It was super easy to find free parking around this area. There was also a small IGA on the main strip for any grocery needs or a last minute sunscreen run.
What to do
Port Stephens is a beautiful coastal town surrounded by over 26 different beaches. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit all of them, but we chose to stop by Fingal Beach and Zenith Beach.
Fingal Beach is so unique due to Fingal Split. At the end of the beach, there is a small bar of sand that connects to the island just off the coast. As you walk along this sand, you can see the beach from both sides of the beach. At high tide, this small strip of sand goes under water and the island becomes disconnected from the beach.
Please be careful about walking to the island as the tide does change and you could get stranded. It is also dangerous to swim across as sharks have been spotted in the past and the water can be quite rough to swim across.
When we went, it was SO windy. so we just stayed for a couple of minutes to admire standing between two different beaches!
Fingal Beach is located about a 8 minute drive from Shoal Bay Beach. There was plenty of free parking along the beach.
Zenith Beach is another unique beach in Port Stephens. It is very more protected than the other beaches as it sits between the hills of Mount Tomaree National Park. We stopped here for just a couple of minutes to admire the beach before we started our trek up to the summit of Mount Tomaree. I would love to return to spend more time at this beach. We were told that visiting during sunrise is so beautiful!
Zenith Beach is also a sanctuary zone, meaning there is no collecting or fishing allowed at this beach! Please keep that in mind when visiting.
The entrance to this beach is located at the very end of Shoal Bay Beach. The sign is a little hidden, but the entrance is just to the right of the Mount Tomaree Hike entrance. There is a little bit of parking just outside of the beach that is free.
Hiking the summit to Mount Tomaree is one of the highlights of this area. The 2.2km round trip is fairly steep, so make sure you're wearing appropriate foot wear. The trail is easily marked and paved. They've even built in metal stairs to the cliffside when it becomes difficult to climb up the rocks. The whole trek takes about 30-45 minutes to the top. Just follow the signs to "summit."
At the summit, there are 360 degree views of all of Port Stephens! We loved the views overlooking Zenith Beach and Fingal Split. Definitely visit during sunset to admire that golden glow over the coastline. It's the perfect way to end the day.
During the winter months of June-September, grab a pair of binoculars for your climb and you might spot some migrating whales along the coastline!
If you want, you could pack a picnic for the top to really have an over the top experience!
Stockton Sand Dunes
Did you know that there are over 32 km of sand dunes located in Port Stephens?? Located on the Worimi Conservation Land, these sand dunes are unbelievable! These sand dunes can be up to 30 meters tall with almost a 60 degree slope. They are also the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. A MUST visit. It's easiest to access the sand dunes from Anna Bay. Here, is where most activities for the sand dunes begin. You could go sandboarding, quad biking, surfing, or even ride a camel through the dunes! Click here to learn about all the activities available at the Stockton Sand Dunes!
There is free parking available at Anna Bay, however, it was not a large parking lot.
There is also a small cafe to grab a bite to eat or a coffee before you go to the beach.
Unfortunately for us, the weather really turned and it was super stormy when we went. We can't wait to return to do some sandboarding!
We JUST scratched the surface of things to do in the Port Stephens area and can't wait until our next visit this summer! It really is such a beautiful coastal destination in NSW and perfect for a little escape from life in Sydney.
It's always so rewarding to reconnect with nature too and leaves you so rejuvenated. We hope you will be able to use this guide to feel the exact same way we did when visiting The Clyde with Riparide.*
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*Although some parts of this trip were sponsored by Riparide, all opinions are of course our own.