Last Updated on July 5, 2021 by Kyle Tully
The sweeping views, pristine sand and smooth turquoise waters of Shoal Bay are simply mesmerising. Sitting at the foot of Mount Tomaree, the contrast of calm seas and rugged mountain are simply breathtaking.
The foreshore at Shoal Bay curves 2.5km from Nelson Head to Tomaree Head. The calm bay waters are pleasant year round and perfect for swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. You’ll also find picnic tables, BBQ facilities, public toilets and showers in the beachside reserve.
At the eastern end of the bay is Tomaree National Park and Mt Tomaree. On the paved Fort Tomaree walk around the headland are reminders of Australia’s World War II coastal defence. From here, be sure to take the Tomaree Head Summit walk for an unbelievable panorama of Port Stephens and beyond (only moderate fitness required and totally worth the walk!)
Don’t miss the gorgeous ocean-facing beaches of Zenith, Box & Wreck Beaches. Still untouched, rugged and undeniably beautiful.
On the Sand:
Shoal Bay is unpatrolled but incredibly calm and safe for children or novice swimmers. Street parking fills up quickly in the summer.
The pier provides a great photo opportunity, as well as a diving block for those more adventurous!
The ocean facing beaches (Zenith, Box & Wreck) are also unpatrolled but are not recommended for incompetent swimmers with it’s strong currents. If swimming is not on the cards, these beaches make jaw-dropping backdrops for picnics and lunch on the sand.
In the Sea:
Average seawater temperatures for Shoal Bay peak in the range of 21 to 25°C (70 to 77°F) in early February and are at their lowest mid August, in the range 17 to 19°C (63 to 66°F).
Water clarity is good to great on most days.
A boat ramp is located on the eastern side of the beach.
On the Land:
Shoal Bay Foreshore Reserve follows the eastern side of the beach with picnic tables, BBQ facilities, walking path and lots of soft grass to sit on. Public toilets can be found on the reserve by the Shoal Bay Rd & Government Rd intersection.
A newly built kid’s playground can be located near the Government Rd & Bullecourt St intersection. There is some dirt parking alongside the park but fills up quickly in the summer and during other peak times.
Delicious fish & chips can be purchased from Aussie Bob’s on Tomaree Road, or for the best views of Shoal Bay, then lunch at the Shoal Bay Country Club is a must!
There is a small shopping strip along the foreshore. Amenities can be purchased from the IGA on Shoal Bay Rd, in the centre of the shopping strip.