Medowie: The scenic Port Stephens town between the city, rivers and beaches

A lifestyle gamble trading Dubbo in the state’s central west for the Hunter region town of Medowie 20 years ago paid off for Scott and Stacy Leech, who left behind jobs in interstate trucking and teaching to take the reins of Medowie Macadamias.

Since then, the couple have not only expanded the business to include a cafe, group tours and hundreds more trees, they have also raised two daughters in a semi-rural community which boasts several schools and its own shopping village bordered by Grahamstown Dam to the west and close to both the Karuah River and the beach.

“When we moved here it was an undiscovered place, a nice, quaint little country town on the fringes of suburbia,” says Scott Leech.

Gradually the rural idyll has evolved into a semi-rural haven with two supermarkets and a multitude of services for families and retirees, including specialty retailers, a gym, healthcare, serviced offices and a $6.5 million sport and community club.

“We knew the growth was going to come and that good things would come from it,” Leech says. “And the growth is not just about businesses making money, but about building a great community for our kids and our kids’ kids.”

He says the development of new housing estates has been key to delivering better infrastructure for the town in the form of footpaths and cycleways.

The latest project, to be launched in July, is McCloy Group’s The Gardens.

Described by project director James Goode as a garden-themed community inclusive of mature street trees, manicured gardens, children’s play area, cycleways and public art, it is expected to attract families, retirees and downsizers from nearby farmland.

“Medowie offers a great lifestyle,” says Goode. “It’s a perfect mix of indoor and outdoor living. You’ve got a rural feel but it’s only 30 minutes into Newcastle CBD and 30 minutes to Nelson Bay, so you’re close to everything.”

The Medowie Macadamia Farm is on one side and the Medowie Sports Centre on the other. The Gardens is also within walking or cycling distance of the shopping village. Offering 211 homesites across 20 hectares, buyers can choose from land alone with just a 5 per cent deposit or a house-and-land package.

“Buyers are attracted here by the housing affordability and a good mix of options within our subdivision. You can have the builder of your choice and we provide guidelines for landscaping to keep the presentation of the community as high as possible.”

The McCloy Group is a family-owned, Hunter-based land developer with six sites in development in the Hunter including The Bower, also in Medowie.

Glen Richards moved to Medowie about eight years ago and is now building his new home on a block of just over 5000 square metres in The Bower.

The father of twin 20-year-olds, Richards says the area is a great place to bring up kids and he loves having space for a shed, his boat and his caravan.

He also likes the absence of traffic and the central location giving him easy access to the outer suburbs of Newcastle and to the airport and Nelsons Bay via the highway.

Richards loves taking his four-wheel drive onto Stockton Beach and says the locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to national parks with hiking and mountain biking popular pastimes.

Goode says the area also offers job opportunities with Newcastle airport and an RAAF base 10 minutes’ drive south of Medowie in Williamtown. And if proximity to Sydney is a deal-breaker, Medowie is only about two hours’ drive from the city lights along the M1.