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Karuah Place Plan

Karuah is moving forward with new housing developments, bringing an increasing number of young families to the town. Future planning is focused on driving social wellbeing, creating a more connected town centre, better accessibility to the waterfront and improved community facilities for all to enjoy.

The Karuah Place Plan recognises the values and priorities of Karuah community. It has been designed to support the Karuah Growth Strategy by identifying additional opportunities for residential development, employment lands and public infrastructure.

Key documents

Place plan timeline

Timeline of Karuah Place Plan

Liveability score

In September 2020, we teamed up with Place Score to complete our first ever place census. Over 3,700 people across the LGA, including people who live, play and visit Karuah, told us what they value and how they rate their neighbourhood. The survey results helped us identify the priorities for the Karuah community and plan accordingly

Download the Liveability index for Karuah to learn more about what the residents value most in this area.

Place plan projects

The community of Karuah has embraced the adopted Place Plan and are in the process of completing some amazing projects for their town.

See some of the completed projects and events that have improved the vibrancy of the town.

It’s not too late to get involved with the next community project. We encourage you to reach out to your Town Team Leader and help us create an even better place for Karuah!

Concept design for Aliceton Reserve is progressing. Further funding announcements that also include funding proposed for engaging a consultant for the detailed design are expected in December. Further community consultation for the detailed design elements will be had at this time and of course pending funding application being successful.


Port Stephens Council are working with Munchies Café, Russ’ Bakery and Karuah Pizzeria to activate their outdoor dining areas in preparation for the spring/summer season. All of these businesses face out onto Tarean Road, the mainstreet of Karuah and have the opportunity to explore options for place activation through outdoor dining and alfresco rebate program thus stimulating the night time economy in Karuah. Residents and visitors are encouraged to look out for information on complimentary voucher program and events to celebrate this initiative. For more information on the program click here.

Want to know more? Please contact Beck from Council’s vibrant places unit via email Rebecca.morley@portstephens.nsw.gov.au

This project is due to be completed November 2022.

Port Stephens Council have been working with Transport for NSW to install both north and south bypassed signage. The hero image for the sign was chosen by community consultation and features the iconic bridge, mural and foreshore area. The signs will encourage people to take a break from their journey, stop into Karuah and spend some time and money in the town.

Want to know more? Please contact Beck from council via email Rebecca.morley@portstephens.nsw.gov.au if you’d like to learn more.

This project is due to be completed end of February 2023.

By passed town signage

Completed projects

Karuah Progress Association successfully applied for a Vibrant Spaces grant with Port Stephens Council, valued at $6000 to revegetate the Karuah riverbank. Stages 1, 2 and 3 have now been completed.

Karuah Conservation Crew were a successful recipient of Council’s grants program in 2020 and have used their money to purchase native plants and netting to stabilise the Karuah riverbank. The local Landcare group, worked with the community and local school children and have restored the banks along the river, creating a beautiful outlook for those walking the path between Memorial and Longworth Parks.

Please contact Cheryl from Landcare Karuah Conservation Crew via email cherylcrot@gmail.com if you’d like to learn more about the outcome of this project – she’d love to hear from you!

This project was completed December 2022.

Google maps view of Karuah's riverbank

Community member, Lisa Floyd was a successful recipient of council’s grants program and used the money for the Mainstreet Beautification project. As team leader, Lisa worked with a selection of the community to organise community working bees to see this project into fruition. This project includes the installation of planter boxes and seating on Tarean Road to beautify the mainstreet.

Please contact Lisa from Riverside Motel via email riversidemotel@live.com.au if you want to learn more about this project – she'd love to hear from you!

This project relates to Actions 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 of the Karuah Place Plan.

Mainstreet beautification project

Karuah Progress Association were a successful recipient of Council’s grants program and are using this money to create an artwork under the Karuah bridge to add vibrancy to an otherwise tired space.

Renowned local artist, Jordon Lucky was commissioned to paint the artwork which pays homage to the local environment. The artwork features local flora and fauna of significance to the area. The mural also features the Aboriginal place name “Garuwa” and school children have left   mark on the painting signifying hope for the future.

Karuah Progress would like to thank our local elders, Transport for NSW, Port Stephens Council and our local community on this process. We hope it is one of many more we can support in Karuah with further involvement from others to activate spaces and create a walking art trail to feature the many elements that make Karuah home.

Please contact Bre from Karuah Progress Association via email blgonzales@gmail.com if you’d like to learn more about this project – she'd love to hear from you!

This project relates to Actions 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5 of the Karuah Place Plan.

Karuah Bridge

Karuah P&C were a successful recipient of council’s grants program and used the money to create a regular community market that is held at Karuah Public School on the third weekend of every month. The market provides an opportunity for the community to come together, connect and celebrate local culture and showcase local micro businesses, artisans and produce. The markets started on Sunday 21 August and run monthly thereafter.

Want to know more? Please contact Michelle from Karuah P&C Association via email karuahpublicschool@pandcaffiliate.org.au – she'd love to hear from you, especially if you are interested in becoming a volunteer or stallholder at the markets!

Port Stephens Council, working with Karuah RSL, The Karuah Centre, Karuah LALC and Karuah Progress Association were successful in applying for a grant from Transport for NSW to provide an on demand bus service for 2 years. This service runs Tuesday and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm and provides a way to transfer residents into the main street of Karuah for shopping and social interaction. For more details, click here.

Want to know more? Please contact Chris from Karuah RSL via email generalmanager@krsl.com.au – he'd love to hear from you!

This project is due to be completed July 2024.

white van parked in parking lot

Whilst the annual Karuah Oyster and Timber Festival didn’t go ahead in October 2022 due to inclement weather, the first of the Western Harbour cruises still took place on Saturday 15 October, 2022. As part of this project, the working group looked at attracting visitors from Nelson Bay to Karuah with Moonshadow-TQC hosting 65 people on the day. Passengers enjoyed learning about the history of the Western section of the Port, the significance of our oyster industry and of course, our beautiful waterways.

Want to know more about next year’s Oyster and Timber Festival? Please contact Event Manager Brett Sweetnam via email brett.sweetnam@optusnet.com.au – he'd love to hear from you!

This projects was completed October 2022.

A boat at the Marina

Get involved

You’re the expert when it comes to your place – we need your local knowledge and passion for your place to help develop and implement your Place Plan. There are many ways in which you can get involved:

  • If you want to get involved in planning for your place, head to our Have Your Say page.
  • Download our Place Plan factsheet to learn more (PDF 3.7 MB).
  • Discover more about the progress of the Karuah Place plan by subscribing to our newsletter that is sent out every 2 months. Get in touch if you want to be part of the emailing list.
  • Contact our Place Planning Project Manager today on 4988 0402 or via email on placeplanning@portstephens.nsw.gov.au to arrange a time to talk about your place planning idea or project.

Community grants

Our funding program gives eligible individuals, artists, community organisations, not-for-profits, businesses, students and others the opportunity to apply for funds to deliver initiatives that make a real difference to local communities and our region. These funding programs play a pivotal role in building capacity by supporting initiatives which enhance the social, cultural, environmental and economic life of our communities.

The Karuah Place Plan provides lots of inspiration for projects that would qualify under the grants program. Visit our Grants page for more information.

Community champions

Toni says she is most proud of her town because of the amazing community members who work together to support all students to be able to engage in learning. She is also proud that the school can support local elders in keeping Gathang language alive. Toni has been recognized as a Karuah Community Champion for her assistance in getting the Garuwa Community markets up and running. Visit her Facebook page for more details.

Toni Lyle holding a book about Gathang language

Lisa is a passionate community member and currently is heading up the Mainstreet Beautification project to add some vibrancy back into a part of Karuah's main street. Lisa says she is most proud of her town because of the amazing people who constantly offer their time and support on a volunteer basis to make great things happen for Karuah!

Lisa Floyd standing in front of a Riverside Motel sign

Introducing Cheryl Crotty, organiser of the local Conservation Crew in Karuah. Cheryl, her hubby and volunteers have been busy cleaning up the riverbank from Memorial Park to Longworth Park, so that residents and visitors can enjoy a beautiful walk around the river.

Cheryl, pictured, is a passionate member of the Karuah community, caring deeply for the environment and the people who look after it.

Cheryl Crotty – Karuah Conservation Crew (Landcare)

Introducing Jean Keeley, long time Karuah resident and manager of The Karuah Centre.

Jean has been working at the centre for over 14 years and has managed in excess of 20 volunteers in that time. Jean is most proud of giving back to the community and donating to people in need.

Jean is a passionate member of the Karuah community and would love to see more people get involved in volunteering at the centre. If you are interested, please contact Jean via email at admin@karuahcentre.com.

Jean Keeley

Bre is a passionate member of the Karuah community stating: "It took me moving half way around the world to find a place that felt like home". The Karuah Progress Association are instrumental in many projects around the town with Bre providing her special skills to her community especially with her grant application writing skills.

The Karuah Progress Association meet on the last Wednesday of the month from 7pm at Karuah RSL. If you are interested in joining the Association, please contact Breanna via email blgonzales@gmail.com.

Breanna - Karuah PP

Contact us

Contact our Place Planning Project Manager on 4988 0402 or via email on placeplanning@portstephens.nsw.gov.au to arrange a time to talk about your place planning idea or project.