A unique new glamping getaway just 2.5 hours from Sydney has opened in Port Stephens – and not only does it offer luxury accommodation, it also pays homage to the local environment, history and cultural significance. That, and it’s one of the few locations on the eastern seaboard where you can see the sun set over water.
The Thou Walla (pronounced Dha Walla) Sunset Retreat is designed as a couples glamping experience. Located on the tip of Soldiers Point and on the shores of Port Stephens, this resort is designed to provide guests with an unparalleled experience.
There are 10 spacious, elevated safari-style tents, which sit atop engineered floating decks (an Australian first) – and these are nestled amidst carefully landscaped, tropical surrounds. Each tent has been styled with a luxurious king-size bed, armchairs, flat-screen TV/DVD, free Wi-Fi, compact refrigerator and even an electric fireplace for the cooler months. Large, private “windows” yield views over the gardens, established gum trees and the bay. An ensuite bathroom features a generous rain shower, vanity and eco-friendly self-composting toilet.
The large canopied tents flow onto a private timber deck which features a modern daybed, where guests can enjoy the tranquil views over the bay – and those famed sunsets.
In addition to the intimate glamping tents, Thou Walla also features 34 one and two bedroom villas and cottages set amidst landscaped gardens. These are set apart from the tents.
“Thou Walla Sunset Retreat’s location is incredibly unique – environmentally, culturally and historically. It’s particularly important to the local Worimi people, who are the traditional owners of this area of the land,” says resort manager Andrew Daff.
“In designing Thou Walla we’ve created a resort which respects the cultural and spiritual value of the site. This is a significant Worimi lands area incorporating graves, middens and other sites of significance. Hence, the development was constructed in a very sensitive way, with absolutely no digging or above ground disturbance.”
In addition, the gardens are predominated by endemic native species, many of which were propagated from local Soldiers Point seed stock. There’s also plenty of fauna around with native birds in abundance and even a koala population.
Thou Walla also features a resort-style swimming pool, barbecue facilities, a tennis court, boat hire and a massage therapist. The retreat is only a short stroll from the beach and Soldier’s Point Marina, which boasts two waterfront restaurants – The Deck Café/Restaurant & Bar and the award-winning Point Restaurant.
“It means that guests can leave their cares behind and have a relaxing break in a serenely beautiful area,” says Andrew. “In fact, the predominant feedback we get from guests is how totally relaxed they feel when they visit us.”
There are also plenty of attractions within walking distance or a short drive away – from fishing to surfing, boating, diving, dolphin and whale watching, visiting the local brewery and vineyard, to tackling the sand dunes at nearby Stockton Beach.
“You can choose to do as much or as little as you want,” adds Andrew.