Let’s Go Local

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We won’t be going interstate for a while, so once we get out of lockdown why not experience the local attractions, locations and cuisines right here in NSW – starting with Tea Gardens!

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We’ve camped across the Myall River at Hawks Nest and have shown you the beauty of the area from our campsite in previous months. Now we’ve stepped it up a notch, visiting the adjacent town of Tea Gardens to experience the luxuries of the resort lifestyle at the stunning Boathouse Resort.

The Boathouse Resort is situated on the waterfront of the Myall River in Tea Gardens, with peaceful views over their glorious, fully heated 25 metre pool leading to the riverside that take your breath away.

The doors of our 2 bedroom, 4 star apartment opened up to a spacious, light filled setting with grand, high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows that lead you to your balcony and picturesque views. Luxurious and modern, my partner Shaun and I were stoked to call it our touch of paradise for the weekend.

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Our ensuite had a large spa bath where we enjoyed a few glasses of bubbles each night and the entire apartment was self-contained. We stocked up the fridge with beverages and snacks, and even put a load of washing on in the conveniently provided washing machine and dryer so that we came home with a suitcase of clean clothes. The combination of luxury and convenience had us wanting to move in permanently.

Activities were also in abundance; from having drinks on the balcony as the sun set, to cooking up a storm in the self-contained kitchen and enjoying a swim in the huge, heated pool. Cafes, restaurants, pubs and water activities are all in walking distance and we were lucky enough to meet the owners of the Boathouse Resort who gave us a grand tour of the great cuisines and activities in the area.

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We arrived on a beautiful Saturday morning and after checking in walked across and up the river to enjoy a Whale Watching Cruise with Moonshadow – TQC Cruises, an experience I’ll share with you shortly.

Afterwards we made our way back to the hotel, relaxed and had a drink or 2 before heading to Mumm’s on the Myall, a seafood lovers heaven. Their fresh seafood and award winning cuisine had our mouths watering. My recommendation is the Mumm’s Seafood Platter for 1 or for 2 if you’re sharing, although my platter for 1 could have well and truly fed 2 people with fresh prawns, natural oysters, grilled giant skull island prawn, grilled fish, salt and pepper squid, calamari rings, coconut prawns, tomato, chilli and saffron steamed mussels, seasonal fruits and chips.

The next stop? Of course, it was the local pub.

The Tea Gardens Hotel had great Saturday night entertainment with live music, a flat screen TV to watch the Olympics and a cool vibe. We slept very well that night to say the least.

Sunday saw more beautiful weather as we woke up early to pump some yabbies and went for a fish on Jimmy’s Beach. We came up short with catching fish but relaxing on the beach in between casts was an absolute treat.

Topping off our weekend we went back to the pub for a feed and being a Sunday night, we couldn’t go past the Sunday roast special and a couple of espresso martinis to top it off.

Heading back to the Resort that night we felt relaxed, rejuvenated and were sad to see the weekend come to an end but excited that we had found our new favourite getaway at the Boathouse Resort.

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Among the many activities we experienced during our stay at the Boathouse Resort, we were elated to go on our first ever Whale Watching Cruise with Moonshadow – TQC Cruises – an experience that we will never forget.

Setting off from the wharf in Tea Gardens, we began our 3 hour whale watching experience on the MV Spirit. The boat itself features walk around decks, a licensed bar and snacks and hot food for purchase. There’s nothing like relaxing on a boat with a champagne and snacks in hand as you make your way out to open water.

As we made our way to the outer islands and what they call ‘the whale highway’ we enjoyed magnificent 360 degree views that showcase the beauty of our coastline.

Whale watching season is traditionally from mid May to early November in Port Stephens and we had our fingers crossed we were going to see some action. Lucky for us, we didn’t wait for long.

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A pod of whales swam mere metres from out boat, despite their enormous size diving gracefully through the water before disappearing down into the dark depths of the ocean. Each time we waited in breathless anticipation only to have them breaking the surface again a few minutes later.

Shaun and I were in absolute awe. Around 30,000 of the world’s humpback whale population pass the Port Stephens coastline on their 12,000km migration every year, and we were lucky enough to spot some of these beautiful creatures on their journey.

Then we experienced something that blew our socks off. A whale breached right in front of our boat. This is when the whale leaps out of the water with its giant fins outstretched crashing back down into the ocean. We have never seen anything like it.

To see something that size launch itself upwards out of the water in such an incredible display is like something out of a movie. Humpback whales can weigh up to 50 tonnes and despite their immense size they are able to raise themselves high above the water when they breach.

Humpback whales are the most likely whale you will come across when you’re on one of the Moonshadow – TQC Whale Watch Cruises, but you may also see Melon Headed, Brydes, Southern Right, Pilot, False Killer and Orca whales.

While we only encountered the Humpback whales on our cruise, Shaun and I also spotted dolphins, dozens of seals lazing on rocks in the sun and an array of different fish, birds and stingrays.

One thing that we really enjoyed and commended the team on at Moonshadow – TQC Cruises was their appreciation and admiration for all sea life including the protected species of whale. Several rules must be adhered to when watching whales as they are a protected species, including not disturbing or harassing them, not approaching them closer than 100 metres or 300 metres for a calf and not touching or feeding them. Ensuring the whales and any other sea life they may encounter along the way are safe and undisturbed is their priority.

The captain provided informative commentary throughout with facts about whales, the sea life and the surrounding islands giving you a deeper understanding of the deep blue ocean and the creatures it houses. The entire cruise was extraordinary.

If you haven’t been on whale watching cruise before then what are you waiting for? I promise you’ll have a whale of a time!   

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