Part escape, part adventure: Lance Richardson samples two kinds of weekends in one at Port Stephens.
Bruce Elder finds functional simplicity and a culinary surprise in a laid-back coastal getaway.
In the seclusion of a coastal tree house, Lissa Christopher matches the pace of life around her.
Met by excellent food and massages after a nightmare drive, Lisa Carty can't stay cranky for long.
The crab racing is off, the rain has settled in but the views are stunning, writes Caroline Marcus.
Simon Tsang laps up the fun at a very aquatic resort.
Quiet and sleepy holiday destination on the northern shore of Port Stephens
The tranquil and rather beautiful township of Hawks Nest, with both ocean and river frontage, is located at the northern head of Port Stephens 222 km north of Sydney via the Pacific Highway, 79 km north-east of Newcastle, 12 km off the Pacific Highway and 16 m above sea-level. With a population of 1100 people it is separated from its sister town, Tea Gardens, by the mouth of the Myall River, which runs from the Myall Lakes down to Port Stephens, and joined to it by the 'Singing Bridge', named for its tendency to act like a wind harp in a strong south-westerly breeze. The eastern rim of Hawks Nest faces the ocean, its beaches spanning northwards into the forests and lagoons of nearby Myall Lakes National Park.
Small holiday resort town adjoining Hawks Nest
Tea Gardens is a small township of 850 people located adjacent the northern head of Port Stephens 219 km north of Sydney via the Pacific Highway, 77 km north-east of Newcastle, 10 km off the Pacific Highway and 16 m above sea-level. It is separated from the town of Hawks Nest by the mouth of the Myall River, which runs from the Myall Lakes down to Port Stephens, and joined to it by the 'Singing Bridge', named for its tendency to act like a wind harp in a strong south-westerly breeze. Despite their proximity there is quite some difference between the two towns. With the exception of the strip along Marine Parade, adjacent the river, Tea Gardens is something of a poor cousin to the rather more attractive Hawks Nest, both in terms of environment and housing which appears more slapdash and simply imposed upon the bushland rather than reconciled with it.