Here's what to do in Nelson Bay when you're visiting for the day
We all know about Nelson Bay’s spectacular coastal setting and smorgasbord of water activities, but as the weather cools perhaps you're wondering what else is there to do in the Bay other than taking a dip and getting sand between your toes.
The simple answer is… loads! and if shopping and eating are your thing, be prepared to do some tapping as you make your way through the myriad of boutiques and eateries within Nelson Bay.
8:30am – Drive from Newcastle to Nelson Bay
With our trusty shopping shoes on and fav gal pals along for the ride, we set off on our day trip to Nelson Bay. Only an hour's drive north of Newcastle we parked the car at d'Albora Marina and headed straight to the shops.
8:45am – Coffee Time
A coffee was of course required to get us started for the day, and the bench seat outside The Home Interior was the perfect spot to have a catch-up and plan the day ahead. It's been decided we'll revisit the In House Kitchen later...
10:00am: Bay Living and Garden
Keen to get to the shopping our first stop was Bay Living and Garden, and what a gem it is. If you happen to be one of those people who are crazy about indoor plants and all things green, then you will instantly fall in love!
Launched in 2018 by Tass, Maria and Simon, Bay Living and Garden has flourished in their Magnus Street store. Their lush range of greens are sourced by Tass, who is a horticulturist by trade, and sit effortlessly from floor to ceiling amongst the high-quality contemporary ceramic & porcelain pots & planters that include the Australian-designed range, Angus and Celeste.
Undeterred by their skeptics Tass explains when they first opened the doors there were a few locals who didn't think they would last,
“People would often walk into the store and say things like, ‘are you still here’ [Tass laughs]. Three years on Tass & Maria are more than just still here, they’re bursting at the seams with gorgeous greens, prickly cacti and beautiful homewares.
Amongst the foliage, you'll discover a beautiful range of products for both men and women, quality Rattan furniture, along with homewares and décor for both in and outdoors. Many of the products are sourced from local and Australian artisans, such as the award-winning, handmade and ethically produced limited edition pieces created by a NSW-based artist which make for the ultimate statement piece.
For any plant purchases be sure to accompany them with We The Wild Plant Care which are all about keeping your leafy lovelies healthy and green. If you're more concerned about your own branches, Dindi Naturals are a luxurious range of skincare and body products produced by hand in small batches in Murrindindi Shire, Victoria, and are palm oil-free, cruelty-free and gentle on both you and the earth.
Burbridge and Burke
Taking only a couple of steps to our right we discover the oh-so-gorgeous Burbridge and Burke. Owners Claire and Kim have gone above and beyond to stock only lovingly crafted fashion and accessories, quality furniture, indoor and outdoor pieces for the home and a whole lot more.
One of our fav finds was their super quirky jewellery range, and those Pink Clit Earrings which was a collab Claire and Kim undertook with the Newcastle based Pleasure and Peach.
Local artists and artisans are proudly on display throughout the store, including the Newcastle-based artist Xander Holliday. From cards to wall hangings, bath and body products, kids clothes and everything in between Burbridge and Burke's eclectic collection of wearable art, functional yet beautiful homewares and Australian designed furniture make it impossible to walk out empty handed.
11:00am: Street Art Wandering
As you wander around Nelson Bay you can’t help but notice the lively art walls that have either been slipped into laneways or stand loud and proud within the streetscape. Newcastle based artist Jordan Lucky’s striking Lorikeet is a hard one to miss on Magnus Street.
From local artists outdoors to local artists indoors, a very short stroll up Magnus Street was all that was needed before we arrived at our next shopping stop.
Earthquirks has for more than 20 years have been inspired by Newcastle and Port Stephens creatives sourcing treasure for you and your home. Owner Jane's curated collection of Australian clothing designers including Elk, Zephyr and Jiva together with the beautiful range of ‘one off’ cotton dresses and tops from Nelson Bay designer Alioop.
As you wander the store browsing the stunning collection of soft leather handbags, driftwood sculptures you can't help but be drawn into the collection of original art and photography produced by Newcastle & Port Stephens artists including David Sharp, Kathryn Weight, Janelle Fidler, Rick Badger and Sandra Fry.
12:30pm: The Home Interior
With only metres separating each of the boutiques, you're not necessarily working up much of an appetite, however, lunch is a non-negotiable, and it just happens that our two most favourite things to do, eat & shop, collide at our lunch destination.
The In House Kitchen, which is located within The Home Interior, is where interior and foodie dreams are made. Be warned you'll need some time to explore, The Home Interior is huge!! With a massive showroom situated behind the restaurant your interior journey continues upstairs where you'll discover a whole other level of interiors delights.
Level one is a mix of quality soaps and candles, coffee tables, sofas, stunning light features and pendants, mirrors, and wall art. You'll also discover the truly local Hanako range of essential oils which was born and bred in Port Stephens by husband and wife team of Rachel & Jeff Holm.
Head upstairs and the interiors fun continues with bedding, rugs, cushions and the luxurious lifestyle brand Eadie Lifestyle on display. Each item is gorgeously displayed and as the sun filters through the plantation shutters you need to restrain yourself from settling into one of the comfy sofas and leaving the rest of the world behind. That is until you realise you need to eat!!
We did also find time to fit in some very snuggly cuddles with this gorgeous pooch!
It's hard to go wrong with the In House Kitchen menu, chef Jack Astin who joined the team in March 2021, has brought with him a wholesome new approach to the kitchen. Expect all the usual menu suspects just with a serious flavour twist.
Using only the freshest, most local of ingredients what you'll discover is a truly satisfying lunch experience. The Vanilla Buttermilk Pancakes, Macqui Berry Bowl and Soft Shell Tacos were to die for!
1:45pm: Two Bobs Bakery
A visit to Nelson Bay just didn't happen without a stop at Two Bobs Bakery. It's not unusual to find a line of people standing out the front of Nikki and Rob's hole-in-the-wall bakery, and we totally get why. Their hand-made range of breads are baked fresh every morning and we couldn't help ourselves, a loaf had to be bought.
2:00pm: Explore the Marina
Almost shopped out, there is however time for one last stop. With a Nero’s Gelato in hand it was back to where we started, and our longest walk of the day (almost 10 minutes). Along the way crossing paths with more local artists' handiwork.
2:10pm: Artisan Collective
Completely unexpected, and perhaps our favourite find of the day, was the Artisan Collective. The very lovely Megan and Joana welcomed us and proudly showed us through the gallery talking us through many of the artists and sharing their stories.
Established in 2016 as a collaboration to showcase the talents of artists living in the area, the Artisan Collective is temporarily located within the d'Albora Marina precinct, and just happens to come with some pretty spectacular water views.
Run by volunteer artists the team provides visitors to Nelson Bay the opportunity to view and purchase high-quality, locally made gifts direct from the makers. The space is all about supporting the creative arts community within the area by providing with a space to sell, share, grow and collaborate.
Whilst there were plenty of eye catching art works it was hard to go past the story of 86 year old Val Spencer-Sun who hand makes, loop by loop, her jewellery range. Val also happened to be the creator of the raunchy, made to order, chain lingerie aptly named Disco Girl!
Taking in the spectacular marina views as we head back to the car it was time to call it a day and make our way home.