THE ANCHORAGE PORT STEPHENS
The sparking waters of Port Stephens have always attracted families and the refurbished The Anchorage is without a doubt the most stylish place for a five- star family stay.
The resort is right on the marina next to Corlette Beach. You couldn’t get much closer to the water without actually diving in. The bijoux shops and restaurants of Nelson Bay are just a short drive away.
Cape Cod meets the Hamptons. White weatherboard buildings, highlighted with subtle shades of grey, look perfect sitting next to the boat marina and its yachts. Blue and white striped umbrellas, light-filled rooms with wide windows and rattan furniture on the balconies complete the picture.
Certainly. Rooms are spacious enough to lay out a ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ track without everyone else tripping over it. Suites have a kitchenette and fridge. There is also complimentary cable TV and Wi-Fi for Facebook-loving teens. Complimentary paddle boards and kayaks are available and the beach is only one minute away.
Guesthouses face towards Corrie Island National Reserve. A balcony or verandah adjoins each suite, villa or room, and most have uninterrupted water views. Particularly perfect for families are the one- or two-bedroom loft suites with a mezzanine level. The Captain’s Suites also have a fold-out sofa bed. For a real treat, book into the Hamptons Villa. The two-bedroom, VOLUME 8 2017 two-storey villa is fully self-contained. On the upper level is a master bedroom with a king-size bed, ensuite and a couples retreat room leading to a private balcony. On the lower level is a separate dining and lounge area and a second bedroom. Outside there is a Jacuzzi and sun deck.
The new Galley Kitchen restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the pool and the marina. As would be expected for a restaurant with such a spectacular water view, seafood abounds. There is a dedicated kids’ menu but the share plates are also great for families who want to sample a variety of flavours.
Where do we start? Port Stephens is a paradise for children; just the fact that the area is known as the dolphin capital of New South Wales and that there are 26 unspoilt beaches in the surrounding area gives you some idea of the family joy to be had here... So get out on the water for a dolphin cruise with Imagine Cruises, where they hoist the canvas for a proper sailing experience. A guided family paddle board in Shoal Bay with Shoal Bay SUP under Tomaree Headland is also a must. Sandboarding on the Stockton Beach dunes is great fun. Older kids can take a dune buggy ride with Sand Dune Adventures or, for an even greater shot of adrenaline, try flying high on a tandem parasail with Port Stephens Watersports. You can also hire bikes and boats at the Nelson Bay Marina for exploring further afield. If you can bear to leave the gourmet delights of The Galley kitchen, The Little Nel Cafe on Government Road is great for breakfast and the Inner Light Tea Rooms at the lighthouse above Little Beach have good food and spectacular views.