Splish Splash: Dan Mackay with family and friends, enjoying holidays at Shoal Bay. They are regular holidaymakers in the area. Picture: Simone De PeakSome tourists like to stay in luxury, but others are happy in a beachside caravan park.
Dan Mackay, of the Gold Coast, is staying with family and friends at a Shoal Bay caravan park for three weeks.
“We bought an onsite caravan,” Mr Mackay said.
“It’s a lot cheaper than any other holiday.”
He loved the “relaxation, scenery and the beach”.
Jordan Hall was staying at a relative’s property, but used to stay in a Nelson Bay caravan park until it was “turned into luxury apartments”.
“The idea of staying in luxury didn’t calculate,” he said.
“We’re not slumming it, we just don’t need to stay in five-star accommodation.”
He said the charm of anAussie holiday was “staying in a beach shack in thongs”.
“It’s a slice of heaven,” he said, of Port Stephens.
Mr Mackay drove nine hours from the Gold Coast to stay at Shoal Bay.
“It’s getting away from the hustle and bustle,” he said.
He said it was a time that allowed for lots of exercise like swimming and walking.
Mr Hall, of Vaucluse, had stayed in the Nelson Bay area every year around Christmas-New Year “since I was a kid”.
He compared it to Maroochydore or Fraser Island, but added “it’s cheaper and not out in the sticks”.
Katie Juric, of Melbourne, stayed at Nelson Bay because “you’re guaranteed good weather”.
“They need more accommodation,” she said, adding that places were booked out a year in advance.
Ross Menzies, a Shoal Bay local, said it was “the busiest I’ve ever seen it”.
Mr Menzies said tourist season didn’t worry him.
“You work around it,” he said.
His wife Margaret Menzies said it was difficult getting a parking space this time of year.
At times, traffic was gridlocked through Nelson Bay and on the road into Shoal Bay.
“We just don’t drive anywhere,” she said.