Newcastle is usually somewhere we pass on our way to a destination further up the coast but last weekend we had a night at Stockton Beach Holiday Park which allowed us to explore the area.
We couldn’t believe how many great activities there are to do in this part of NSW. Our accommodation was a three bedroom wheelchair accessible villa which was perfect for our family. I subscribe to the theory that there is no bad time to visit the beach. I love it in summer and winter and we had a fantastic time exploring Stockton Beach.
Stockton Beach Holiday Park has three accessible villas. For our one night get away we stayed in Shipwreck Villa 13 and also inspected Lighthouse Villa 5 so we had some comparison between the different options.
Shipwreck Villa is only 7 months old and is fresh, clean and modern inside. The villa is on the ocean side of the park and offers glimpses of the ocean from the verandah. In the evening we could hear the surf pounding on the beach and the distant sound of the occasional ship’s horn as it entered the nearby harbour. I love being so close to the ocean.
I always feel a sense of guarded optimism when we pull up at a property and there is a good ramp. It looks promising but I am still wondering if the accommodation will be truly wheelchair accessible once we get inside.
Shipwreck Villa got a “wow” from everyone as we went inside. We could immediately see it would suit us with such a spacious layout. Even if we are only staying one night in a property, for practical reasons with BJ’s wheelchair and for comfort, we like roomy accommodation. The villa has a fabulously wide hallway, a modern and fully accessible bathroom, kitchen and three bedrooms.
The main bedroom has a wide doorway, queen size bed, tv, ipod docking station, wardrobe and room on one side of the bed to transfer from a wheelchair.
I love the bathroom in this villa. It is large with a long flip down shower seat, hand held height adjustable shower head with a lever tap. The hand basin has room to wheel under with a wheelchair, has a lever tap and hairdryer within reach. The bathroom is large and because we were visiting in the cooler month of May, the heat lamp light fixture was welcomed.
BEDROOM 2 & 3
The second bedroom has a regular width doorway, two single beds and a built-in wardrobe.
The third bedroom has a wide doorway, a single bed and a bunk bed. There is a wardrobe and although tight there is room to transfer to the bed.
The kitchen is very well equipped. One of my pet hates is to arrive at a property which caters for a family only to find a bare minimum of cutlery and crockery. We do a lot of self-catering and really appreciate a well stocked kitchen. Shipwreck Villa has a single draw dishwasher, full size fridge, microwave and cook top. The sink has room under it for a wheelchair but we did find BJ’s knees still knocked the top. There is a washing machine, iron, ironing board and clothes drying rack all tucked neatly away in a cupboard beside the kitchen.
The lounge area was very popular with our family. A comfy lounge with enough room for us all to relax is pretty important when we can be up all hours of the night. We can attest to the fact that the lounge fitted two adults lying across it for much of the night. BJ disturbed so Hubby and I tag teamed staying with him in the lounge room watching dvds. Speaking of which, there is a dvd and cd player entertainment system with flat screen tv.
If we had stayed longer we would have definitely taken advantage of the barbecue on the front verandah and the outdoor dining setting. It looked like a great place for a cooked breakfast in winter and a lovely spot to sit and enjoy a barbecue in summer.
Stockton Beach Holiday Park has a Freewheeler beach wheelchair for guests to use free of charge during their stay. I have never seen a beach wheelchair with a chest harness like this one and I imagine it would be very helpful for those with low upper body torso control. BJ isn’t a fan of harnesses so we gave it a miss.
Beach wheelchair access was only a short walk from our villa and Stockton Beach provided us with hours of entertainment. I thought we would just do a short walk along the beach to check it out but the beach was a total surprise. AJ loves nothing more than wandering along the beach looking for shells. Many a treasure has returned with us from beach holidays but nothing has ever compared to Stockton Beach’s treasure trove. Like AJ, I have always enjoyed searching for shells and in all my shell collecting days I have never come across the range and the special shells we found on this trip. I commented to Lisa at the Holiday Park and with great Aussie humour she said, “oh we put those on the beach for your visit.”
We love the book “Magic Beach” by Alison Lester and it felt like we were characters from the book as we explored, examined and exclaimed with excitement at our individual finds. Each one seemed better than the last. We stopped some locals to ask if this was unusual and part of the aftermath of their recent storms but the lady assured us that it wasn’t. BJ enjoyed chasing the poor seagulls with Hubby whizzing him along the waterline and throwing rocks into the water. We also found it fascinating to watch the huge cargo ships coming and going from the port. We could see them from the beach.
Beach conditions constantly change but on our visit we found the beach to be level and easy with the beach wheelchair. It is regularly patrolled in beach season and Lisa from Stockton Beach Holiday Park said it is consistent so what we saw sounds like its regular state. The walkway access to the beach had been washed away in the recent storms so it was a bit tougher than usual to get down to the beach but I gather it is normally very easy with the beach wheelchair.
ACCOMMODATION FOR LARGER FAMILIES/GROUPS
We were thrilled to see that Stockton Beach Holiday Park can accommodate larger groups or families in a large accessible villa. Lighthouse Villa 5 can accommodate 8 people. There were slight differences between it and Shipwreck Villa. The layout of Lighthouse Villa is not as spacious and wide for wheelchairs but BJ had no problem navigating his way around. Areas like the main bedroom, kitchen and bathroom are all wheelchair accessible.
Like Shipwreck Villa, Lighthouse Villa 5 has ramp access, parking at the side of the Villa and an outdoor dining setting. It is on the roadside of the property but it is a relatively quiet area.
I think it is fantastic that this property has three wheelchair accessible options of accommodation. It is really refreshing to have choice and variety when it comes to wheelchair accessible accommodation at a property.
The holiday park has a small playground, barbecues and is close to the ferry to Newcastle, which is only a five minute ride.
There is currently a special, Stay 7 Pay 6, which can be found here.
We would like to thank Stockton Beach Holiday Park for hosting us for the night for the purposes of writing this review. We truly were very impressed by their accessible villas and would happily return anytime for a family holiday. We think Lisa deserves a special mention for going out of her way to make us welcome and for her truly spectacular effort in ensuring Stockton Beach had the most unusual shells we have ever seen on a beach. It must have taken her hours to spread so many over the two days of our visit!
If you like this blog post why not subscribe to receive our blogs via email. Head to the top right-hand side of the page and you will find the subscribe tab. If you are not already a member of our facebook community, why not head over and ‘like’ our page. We are very fortunate to have a generous and well travelled facebook community full of ideas and information.