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Boys' weekend under $500: boats, boards and beer

13:00 AEST Fri Aug 26 2011
Dermott Brereton's challenge was three hours north of Sydney at Port Stephens. It has 26 golden beaches and a large natural harbour with a narrow entrance between two striking hills of volcanic origin. Scroll down to see how Dermott spent his $500 budget!

Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers

Just right for travellers on a budget, Dermott and his friends checked in to the Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers and found it had a 'cool Byron Bay feel'. The 1.5 hectare, architecturally designed retreat is in natural bushland and lots of wood and glass maximise light and space.

There are cabins, dormitories and camping sites all just a five minute stroll from One Mile Beach. If you don't have a tent, you can hire one there.

The property is inhabited by koalas, sugar gliders, frogs and possums and when the time is right, you will spot migrating whales. There's a huge communal lounge area, kitchen, barbecues and tables and chairs.


Always up for an adrenalin boost, Dermott and his mates opted for a Thundaraft adventure. They hopped into an 8.5 metre rigid inflatable, the same as those used by military and police.

With 45 minutes of 400 horsepower excitement, Dermott suggests you have lunch after the ride!

Bub's Fish and Chips

Everyone in the know recommends Bub's at the Fishermen's Co-op for some of the best seafood in the area. It's been awarded Best Fish and Chips in New South Wales for the last six years, and you can eat-in or take-away.

The extensive menu has fresh and cooked seafood, marinated fish, platters to share and gourmet packages ready to barbecue. Enjoy your choice as you take in views of Nelson Bay and watch trawlers being unloaded of their catch.

Country Club Hotel

Known as CCs, there is a history of 76 years at the hotel which sits on the white sands of Shoal Bay.

The cornerstone of the Shoal Bay Resort & Spa, the hotel was the perfect place for Dermott and his pals to spend a Saturday night. A few games of pool, a couple of drinks and excellent pizzas. There's a beer garden and they put on free entertainment.

Port Stephens 4WD sandboarding

Nearby Stockton Beach has the largest moving sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. Port Stephens 4WD Tours leaves every half hour to the dunes and supply boards, so if you were hoping to ride a few waves but the surf was flat, this is the way to get an adrenalin fix.

The dunes reach up to 30 metres and according to Dermott, all you need to do is put your board on a pile of sand and slide down the hill — very quickly. The one drawback is that you have to hoof it back up the hill.

There are other tours on offer, including a visit to the Signa shipwreck and Tin City.


Port Stephens, around two-and-a-half hours north of Sydney.


Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers dorm rooms start at $32 a night, cabins from $100 a night and camping starts at $20 a night.

Thundaraft wave jumping is $55 per person. They operate year round, weather permitting, and Whale Watching tours run between June and September.

Bub's Fish and Chips at the Fishermen's Co-op is open every day between 11am and 3pm and dinner is served on Friday and Saturday until 8pm. Prices start at $4.50 and the seafood platter for two is excellent value at $39. Or why not try the fish and chips for just $9 — just a suggestion.

Shoal Bay Country Club Hotel pub meals are served between Monday and Thursday from noon to 2pm and cost $10. Full seafood, grill and pizza menu is available every day between 10am and 9pm.

Sandboarding Shuttle costs $26 for adults, $19 for children and $74 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. They run from 10am to 3:30pm every day with unlimited time on a hop-on hop-off basis. Take a hat, sunscreen and water with you.

Prices correct at August 27, 2011.

For more information

Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers
2 Koala Place
One Mile Beach
Boat Harbour 2316
Ph: (02) 4981 9422

d'Albora Marinas, Dock C1
Teramby Road
Nelson Bay 2315
Ph: 0400 382 028

Bub's Fish and Chips
1 Teramby Road
Nelson Bay 2316
Ph: (02) 4984 3917

Shoal Bay Country Club Hotel
35-45 Shoal Bay Road
Shoal Bay 2315
Ph: 1800 181 810

Port Stephens 4WD Tours
3/35 Stockton Street
Nelson Bay 2316
Ph: (02) 4984 4760

Breakdown of boys' $500 weekend:

  • Petrol $50
  • Accommodation $96
  • Thundaraft $165
  • Lunch $27
  • Beer and pool $30
  • Dinner $30
  • Breakfast $5
  • Sandboarding $78
  • Lunch $18
  • Total $499

User comments
Great segment!! Where can I find the footage of this so I can watch it again...??
I think a little bit more would be spent on beer! Check out the dolphin swim in port Stephens too =)

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