An Australian woman attacked by a shark says she holds no ill will towards the predator that mauled her face and almost ripped off her arm.

"My face was like minced meat ... but it wasn't its fault, it was just one of those things," Lisa Mondy told the Daily Telegraph as she returned to the Port Stephens beach in Nelson Bay where she was attacked last month.

"I didn't see it coming, the first I knew was when it grabbed my face. As weird as it sounds, the first thing I thought was 'Hey, I've always stuck up for sharks, why are you doing this to me?"'

The 24-year-old was wakeboarding near Jimmys Beach in New South Wales on March 16 when the shark, lurking in the clear water, reared up without warning.

She had just fallen from her wakeboard, and was waiting for the boat to turn back and pick her up, when she was attacked. When the shark released its grasp on her face, Ms Mondy barely had a chance to catch her breath before the monster did an about-turn and had a second bite.

The shark grabbed her left arm, shredding it so badly doctors first thought amputation would be the only option.

"It's pretty awful under there," she said, showing some of the wound to her upper arm. "But at least I've got it."

Ms Mondy's mouth and neck are disfigured and she has barely any movement in her left arm, but she said: "I'm alive."

She spent two weeks in hospital after numerous operations to save her arm and to repair her torn face.

"I didn't want this to ruin my love of the water, so it was important for me to get back as soon as I could," she said. "I went out on a boat, pretty much to the spot. I couldn't get in as I can't get my arm wet, but I want to get back in."

Nelson Bay, a popular fishing area, is known for tiger and bull sharks, although there have also been sightings of great whites. However, attacks are rare.