Myall Lakes National Park

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Myall Lakes National Park, New South Wales
Myall Lakes National Park ... a great spot for a paddle Photo: Tourism NSW

For grey nomads seeking refuge from the hurly-burly of a trip up the New South Wales east coast and from the rigours of driving the Pacific Highway, Myall Lakes National Park could be just the ticket.

While it is located just an hour north of Newcastle, the park – with its vast coastal lake system and 40 kilometres of beaches – seems an awful long way from the hustle and bustle of the state’s second city.

The area’s three main lakes are Myall Lake, Boolambyte Lake and The Broadwater, and all offer fantastic recreational opportunities. This is a park that is absolute heaven for kayakers, boaters, anglers, and swimmers … and it’s not a bad place for wildlife watchers, either. The park is a Ramsar listed wetland of international importance and is a haven for waterbirds, especially during drought. Twitchers will be keen to keep an eye out for species including egrets, whis­tling kites, little tern, masked owl and osprey.

While a number of the park’s beaches are open to 4WDs and there are some great tracks to explore, the best way to really get to grips with the wonders of the park’s heaths, rainforest, woodlands, coast­line and sand dunes is to take one or two of the many walk­ing trails. Favourites include the Submarine Beach walking track, the Neranie Headland walking track, Dark Point walking track, the Old Gibber track, and the Tamboi walking track.

A sightly more challenging walk that is a favourite with many visitors is the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse Walk. The hike up to see the beautiful old lighthouse sitting on top of Sugarloaf Point headland takes about half an hour. Those who make the effort will be rewarded with panoramic coastal views. Completed in 1875, the lighthouse is one of only two in Australia that has an external stairway

Another must-see destination is the Grandis, a 76-metre high flooded gum, that is one of the tallest trees in the state.

Grey nomads tempted to throw in a line need to be aware that the waters here are protected as part of the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park, and fishing is only allowed in certain spots. The experts say that some of the most commonly caught species within and adjacent to the park include bream, whit­ing, taylor, Australian salmon, flathead, estuary perch and mullet.

Travellers are literally spoilt for choice in terms of camp­ing spots in Myall Lakes National Park. While many of the smaller sites are not suit­able for caravans, those that are include campgrounds at Banksia Green, Bungaree Bay, Dees Corner, Korsmans Land­ing, Mungo Brush , Neranie, Violet Hill, Wells, White Tree Bay, and Yagon.

With so much to see and do here, it is no wonder that few grey nomads are eager to leave this watery wonderland and return to the challenges of the Pacific Highway.

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