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This journey winds through our incredible hinterland with charming towns and villages, rolling pastures and rivers. Take your time and explore at your own pace and perhaps find a hidden gem or two.
Your Port Stephens Hinterland Drive could be a day experience or book a night in a Chapel, Tiny House, Cottage or motel to extend your stay.
Drive time/distance: Nelson Bay to Medowie - 40 min (43.9 km)
First stop is the Medowie Macadamia Nut Farm to enjoy breakfast overlooking the farm. Here you can purchase Macadamia Nuts direct from the farm including dark and white chocolate coated to curry or chilli Macadamias as well as Macadamia Oil. Also available is a range of honey, spreads, coffee and fudge plus other items for sale.
The plantation itself was established in 1980 and now has the five varieties of macadamia tree all in full production over 12 acres. The family is involved in every stage of the business, from harvesting the nuts to experimenting with new, tasty products for you to take home. These can be purchased at the cafe or online.
Open 8am to 3pm – closed Sundays & Public Holidays
Tip: Keep an eye out for the 'Little Tin Shed' along Medowie Road, a road side stall selling homegrown produce and fresh bunches of sunflowers.
Drive time/distance: Medowie to Woodville – 30 min (34.4 km) – via Medowie Rd and Clarence Town Rd
The drive from Medowie to Woodville will take you through the rural hamlets of Balickera and Seaham where you can visit the charming village of Woodville nestled on the banks of the Paterson River offering the romance and beauty of bygone years.
The Woodville Store is Australia's oldest continually running business still carrying on the same services it was licensed for in 1844 and has been it is current location since 1863. This historic General Store, situated within a community with an abundance of fresh produce, source the best from local growers along with the addition of quality whole-food and environmentally friendly products from select suppliers.
Tip: Just along the street at (227 Clarence Town Road) is a Café in a little cubby house in the middle of nowhere serving fresh coffee!
Take a stroll to see the historic buildings in King Street and surrounds or do a spot of shopping at MarketPlace before lunch riverside.
Purchase some fish 'n' chips, and take a short walk to Riverside Park for a picnic with scenic river views. Open Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday).
Or take in the views at the Riverhouse Café or Junction Inn Hotel.
Riverhouse Café – 1 Hunter St: The building maintains a heritage feel with an open air deck overlooking the Hunter River and farmlands. The café has a fresh, quirky vibe along with great coffee, delicious food and friendly service. Open 7 days for breakfast and lunch.
Junction Inn Hotel – 2 William St: The Junction Inn is one of the oldest pubs in Australia with a rich and unique history serving local patrons since 1836. Sitting on the verandah enjoying a drink or a meal you’ll be able to enjoy the view and watch the waters flowing past or beside the open fireplace in cooler months. The bistro is open 7 days.
From mid-October to late November visit Jacaranda Avenue in Raymond Terrace to snap a photo of the purple blooms of the Jacaranda Tree. Nearby Sturgeon Street and Adelaide Street are also great locations to see streets filled with beautiful purple flowers gently falling on the footpaths like purple rain…it’s just stunning.
Wet weather – if you want to head indoors pop into Scotty’s Cinemas in Raymond Terrace – independent cinema with three screens showing the latest blockbusters and regular arthouse films.
Drive time/distance: 30 min (26.9 km) via Hinton
Enjoy over 30 hectares of tranquil landscaped gardens, displaying the beauty and diversity of Australian native flora in a natural bushland setting. The gardens feature over 3000 living specimens with 8 kilometres of easy tracks and trails.
Theme gardens include native plants, exotics, Orchid and Bromeliad Houses, an amazing Succulent and Cacti garden, endangered species and plants of the Hunter Region.
Plants are cultivated for sale and the Visitors Centre offers regular art displays and includes a cafe and gift shop with Australiana souvenirs.
Open 9am to 4pm
Drive time/distance: 25 min (20.8 km) via Nelson Bay Rd
On your return to Nelson Bay a stop at LAND at Murray’s is a must. Surrounded by a vineyard and a natural bushland setting, drop into the Cellar Door for a taste of Murray’s craft beer, handcrafted wines and spirits.
Pick up your tasty treats and produce from Murray’s Market or Baglione & Sons bakery to pair with your favourite drop.
We are sure you will want to return for a casual lunch on the deck at Murray’s Bar and Kitchen, high tea or an a la carte lunch or dinner at Restaurant William.
Open until 6pm midweek and later on Friday/Saturday nights.
Return to Nelson Bay - 15 min (18 km)
Why not spend a night or two to further meander the hinterland towns and villages. Stay in a renovated heritage listed chapel, riverside bungalow, tiny house or at one of the comfortable motels in Raymond Terrace and surrounds.
Urban Connection Farm Retreat at Eagleton: 3 bedroom cottage, fully self-contained, on a large property set in the countryside.
The Hinton Chapel: a beautifully renovated heritage listed chapel est. 1856 just a 5 minute stroll from the Victoria Hotel.
Tiny Houses: set on a property named “the Old Shipyard” because of its heritage as a historical shipyard dating back to the late 1800 you will find The Clyde, The Whispers and The Ferryman at Eagleton. Enjoy breathtaking views of the farmland and open skies with the Williams River right at your doorstep.
Riverside Luxury Bungalow at Woodville: two bedroom, modern riverside luxury bungalow set on almost a kilometre of Patterson river frontage. River View Cottage also at Woodville is elevated with views of the historic bridge surrounded by the river.
The Rectory: spend the night at the historic Rectory in Raymond Terrace in the elegant main bedroom. Relax in the claw foot bath or in the cosy lounge room.
Motel Accommodation: you will find a range of motel accommodation in and surrounding Raymond Terrace including the Colonial Terrace Motor Inn.
You may like to pack the clubs and book a time to tee off at either The Pacific Dunes at Medowie or the Muree Golf Club at Raymond Terrace.