Port Stephens, 2.5 hours north of Sydney, is a natural paradise, its beautiful coastline boasting sheltered bays and wide sandy beaches. The Anchorage occupies one of the waterway’s prettiest locations on the headland at Corlette. Nestled in the bush of the headland yet opening out to vistas across the bay, this resort offers a sense of sanctuary.
This family-friendly property has 80 rooms but the entire complex is only two stories high, so the feel is quaint and understated. We had a split-level loft style room with the bedroom and ensuite upstairs and the lounge room and balcony on ground level. The décor has hints of coastal style, such as plantation shutters, without overdoing it. The gentle sea breeze and the views out over the marina and beyond are calming and are the real stars of the show. And there’s always the complimentary in room WIFI to distract us.
In terms of onsite activities, The Anchorage offers an outdoor heated swimming pool, complimentary use of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, and spa treatments at Spa Lucca. We enjoyed a relaxation massage at the onsite Spa Lucca straight after check in, which definitely helped erase the memory of the tire puncture we experienced on the motorway up from Sydney. There are several spa packages on offer and German skin care line Babor is the brand used. There is a relaxation room with a steam and spa tub to use when your treatment is finished.
All that Port Stephens has to offer starts a stone’s throw from The Anchorage with a protected swimming beach at Corlette. The resort is just 10 minutes from Nelson Bay’s fine dining and café culture. The area offers great opportunities for dolphin and whale watching, great surf beaches and bushwalking. Golf, tennis and other sporting activities are all also in easy reach of the resort.
Breakfast is offered both indoors and out. There were several families inside and the noise level was fairly high, so we opted for al fresco. There is a buffet with hot choices and a cold cereal station; eggs can be made to order. The service comes with a country smile and a friendliness that we lament is often missing in the big city rush. Brimming with local knowledge, staff at The Anchorage were ready with suggestions on the best beaches and what we can see and do in the area.
The food focus is to prefer local fresh produce, and to ensure Anchorage’s dining venues are leading Port Stephens’ growing culinary reputation. Dinner for us at the Galley Kitchen starts with smoked kangaroo, turnip salad and plum chutney followed by orecchiette pasta, wood ear mushrooms, peas, aged Parmesan, truffle oil and garlic bread crumbs. We washed it down with the famous local brew, Murrays Whale Ale.