It’s been a few months since our trip to Shoal Bay but I wanted to share with you yet another great adventure with Wyndham, as my kids still talk about how much fun they had and how much they would love to go back & stay here.
For this quick getaway I took my three kids to Ramada Resort Shoal Bay and left my poor husband at home working. It was in the January school holidays and it’s difficult sometimes for both parents to get time off work together. This was a good chance to give him time to concentrate on his work and for me to spend some quality time with our kids before we started another busy year of school.
We are from Sydney so this resort is not far at all and perfect for a quick two-night getaway. We made the most of our first day by arriving at the resort at 10.30am. Even though you are not able to access your room until later, reception gave us a day pass so the whole resort was still ours to enjoy. My kids were thrilled to head straight to the pool.
The pool area is beautiful and has such a relaxed feel to it. It caters well for all ages with a toddler area and the big pool. The fountains are a big hit and kids love rushing to push the button so they start up again. After a couple of hours unwinding it was time to head off on our first adventure – sand boarding on the famous sand dunes! We were all really excited to get there and because the resort is so centrally located, it’s only a 20-minute drive. The company I had booked with had a big green army bus, which my kids loved travelling on over the bumpy dunes. There’s a quick intro and then you just get stuck into it! If you don’t like being covered in sand, then this isn’t for you. But if you don’t mind (and knowing you can wash off later) then one tip is take sunglasses for everyone (even the kids), as it can be pretty windy and it’s not nice getting sand in your eyes. Some companies offer goggles which help a lot so get those if you can. We stayed for about two hours there and at one point had the whole area to ourselves, which was awesome. It can get tiring walking up the hills with the boards (even for adults), but if you can last a couple of hours then you get your money’s worth.
The hills look steep at first, but you get used to it, and by the end you’re looking for higher sand dunes to challenge yourself more and feeling like a pro! My seven-year-old son was the first one on the steepest dune out of our group, so he raised the bar early. It seems that each tour company have separate areas they are allowed to go, so you only contend with a smaller number of people which is a positive.
After that it was back to the resort to officially check-in and pick up a few things from the very convenient IGA right next door, then get back to the pool to have a swim and relax after a very active afternoon. The main town is only a short drive so we decided to get some takeaway for dinner and relax in our room. As always, the Wyndham rooms are well appointed and the two-bedroom apartment was very spacious and had everything we needed.
The next day it was time to take our adventures to the beach and I decided to visit some more secluded beaches that I had looked up, which were Zenith Beach and Box Beach. These are simply gorgeous, and again, only a short drive from the resort. We were the only ones on Zenith Beach for a long time so it felt like we were a million miles away from everything, which was incredible. The surf is a bit rougher here, so it’s not the best for little kids wanting a swim, but it’s definitely worth a visit to take in the beauty.
Our next adventure that afternoon was a camel ride, also located at the sand dunes. The trick with the camel rides is that they don’t take bookings so you have to try your luck with queuing. After reading a few reviews it seemed like the best time to go to avoid having to wait in line for a long time was the late afternoon, especially when the rides only go for approximately 20 minutes. I decided to get there about 3pm and luckily we only had to wait for one group to go before us. We loved it and my kids thought it was loads of fun (despite being a little nervous at first)! The guide stops to take your photo on the camel, which is great, and they even take them walking on the beach and into the water which was really cool. This was definitely a highlight.
After all day in the sun we headed back to the pool for another relaxing swim before getting dinner from the busy fish & chip shop around the corner. Tip: get there before the usual dinner rush as it’s a long wait for food otherwise.
Given we didn’t have to rush away in the morning we had yet another swim in the pool to soak up the final hours of freedom and then headed off home.
My family and I ALWAYS find it fun seeing how much we can pack into just two nights away and each Wyndham resort gets us out exploring to see and try new things that we are all passionate about. Ramada Resort Shoal Bay is definitely a resort I will go back to soon and who knows, I might be able to get my husband along next time too!
Thanks again Wyndham … until our next adventure!
Samantha & Geoff
Wyndham Timeshare Owners since 2002
Read more Port Stephens holiday stories by Wyndham timeshare Owners