Karuah, a riverside village in Port Stephens, is perfect for a day trip, weekend getaway with family and friends or a great place for a few nights if you’re touring the Pacific Coast. Just a 50-minute scenic drive north of Nelson Bay or around 2.5 hrs drive from Sydney, Karuah is nestled on the banks of the Karuah River and is steeped in history.
Renowned for its fresh local oysters, friendly locals and a calm scenic setting on the Karuah River, ideal for boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing and swimming.
A perfect escape if you have the kayaks and fishing rods on the roof or the bikes on the rack. And don’t forget the picnic blanket.
Drive time/distance: Nelson Bay to Karuah – 50 minutes (57kms)
The first stop in any town starts with a visit to the local information centre. This is a great way to get all the top tips of the area direct from the locals. You can also see the local art and crafts on display and available for purchase from the Karuah Centre.
Tip: If visiting for the day, take the scenic route with Koala Ferries (min 4 passengers) from Nelson Bay to Karuah. Contact koalaferries.com.au or phone 0401 424 738
Drive time/distance: Information Centre to Memorial Drive – 1 minute (600mtrs)
Start exploring by immersing in the history of the area. Located on the western side of the Karuah River, Memorial Park adjoins Longworth Park via a scenic walk under the bridge and along the foreshore. Information plinths dotted along the riverbank display historic information on the area delving into the once prosperous timber milling of bygone days.
After walking up an appetite, it’s time to shop for your picnic lunch. Visit the local bakeries along Tarean Road for freshly baked crusty breads, homemade produce and a sweet treat. Select a Semillon from the local bottle shop and head to Cole Bros Oysters on Barclay Street, right on the river.
Renowned for its world class oysters, this is the perfect location to indulge in a dozen or two. Visit the store front to purchase fresh oysters, prawns and condiments. Spread out the picnic rug or utilise the park facilities to enjoy your lunch on the Karuah River.
Tip: You can purchase oysters to take home. Be sure to bring an esky. Ice bricks can be purchased from the Cole Bros shop front.
If oysters aren’t to your taste, visit one of the local cafés, takeaways or club for a light lunch.
For a club lunch, Bridgeview Restaurant at the Karuah RSL is located right on the banks of the Karuah river offering all the club favourites including Asian and Australian cuisines. Contact: karuahrsl.com.au or phone 02 4997 5297.
Munchies Café & Takeaway is where many visitors go to try good ham sandwiches and offers vegetarian options and great iced coffee. You can also order to go with takeaway. Phone 02 4997 5959.
Maso's Hot Bread Shop and Old Mates Bakery offer bakery goodies - delicious pies, cakes and slices.
Karuah Seafood and Thai is your one stop shop when everyone wants something different. Fresh local seafood including Myall Lake prawns are perfect for a fresh prawn roll or fish and chips to take to the park. Thai street food and menu is also available. Phone 02 4997 5558.
The perfect place to rest on your river escape, is at the award winning BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park located right on the river with a private jetty, swimming pool, tennis court, jumping pillow, splash play area and campfires to warm up during the cooler months. With Deluxe Villa’s to campsites, all tastes and budgets are accommodated for.
You may choose to stay in a cosy motel at Karuah Gardens Motel, Riverside Motel or Karuah Motor Inn. Looking to get off the beaten track, take a tent and camp riverside at Tattersalls campground in the Karuah National Park.
Tip: BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park welcome well-behaved dogs on caravan and camping sites and selected villa accommodation. Your furry friend can also have a holiday pamper with a dog wash facility available along with doggy treats!
Contact: big4karuahjetty.com.au or phone 02 4997 5520
Drive time/distance: 20 mins (20km) from Karuah town centre.
Port Stephens is home to some of the best National Parks on the East Coast of NSW. Karuah National Park is an ideal place for 4WDing, mountain biking, bushwalking, fishing, kayaking and has beautiful riverside camping and picnic locations.
Get back to basics and spend a relaxing weekend by the river at Karuah National Park. Launch your boat, kayak or canoe and enjoy paddling on the beautiful waters of the Karuah River. Get up close with some of the locals – bandicoots, goannas and brush-tailed possums, to name a few.