protected area in New South Wales, Australia
Oceania > Australia > New South Wales > Mid-North Coast > Myall Lakes National Park

Not to be confused with Myall Creek in Bingara

Myall Lakes National Park is a national park in the Mid-North Coast region of New South Wales, close to Forster mostly renowned for its large sand dunes, encompassing one of the state's largest coastal lake systems. With 40 kilometres of beaches, rolling sand dunes, and the lake all makes it one of the most visited parks in the state.

UnderstandEdit

HistoryEdit

The Worimi Aboriginal people had inhabited the Myall Lakes National Park land area for its abundance of natural resources. These natural resources had offered a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle for the Worimi people. The park includes important spiritual sites that are an important part of the identity of local Aboriginal people. Dark Point Aboriginal Place served as a location for the Worimi people to gather together for ceremonies and feasts and has been of significance to Worimi people for at least 4000 years.

LandscapeEdit

Myall Lakes National Park incorporates a patchwork of freshwater lakes, the ocean, islands, native flora, dense littoral rainforest and beaches. But not to forget, the park is covered full of sand dunes, something you can never say no to.

Flora and faunaEdit

The lakes in the park support a large variety of birds including bowerbirds, white-bellied sea eagle and tawny frogmouths.

Other fauna in the park includes the nocturnal long-nosed bandicoot which has grey-brown fur and a pointed snout for which it uses to forage for worms and insects. The Striped marsh frog can be found near ponds and swamps and has a distinct sound which can be heard all year round. The Eastern swamp crayfish was first discovered here.

ClimateEdit

The average maximum temperature during the summer season averages between 19 °C and 27 °C with the highest temperature recorded at the park is 41.5 °C. The average temperature during the winter season averages between 10 °C and 19 °C and the lowest temperature on record being 1.1 °C. The wettest month typically occurs in May while the driest month occurs in November while the area's highest recorded rainfall in one day is 257.8mm.

Get inEdit

 
Map of Myall Lakes National Park

Eastern sideEdit

All roads into Myall Lakes National Park are paved, and can be accessed in any weather, although the park can only be accessed via car. The quickest way to come into the park is via Bombah Point Road from the Pacific Highway. Do note though, by using this route, you will need to take a cable ferry crossing Two Mile Late/White Tree Bay to get to the south-eastern ends of the park. There is also a southern entry point as well, and is much quicker to use but the catch for those coming from the south is that you will need to take a right turn off a divided highway, two lanes each way with passing traffic continuously coming at 110km/h. The third way, coming via Seal Rocks Road is a much better alternative for those who do not want to do the other two routes. Do also note, while buses do run on the Pacific Highway, they do not divert to the park, nor do they stop anywhere nearby.

If travelling south from Brisbane or Port Macquarie continue along the Pacific Highway (A1) and then turn left onto The Lakes Way following the Forster and Tuncurry signs. This will take you through Tuncurry and then Foster. Continue on the Lakes Way travelling for approximately 30 minutes and then turn left onto Seal Rocks Road and then you'd have arrived into the park.

Northwestern sideEdit

When travelling on the Pacific Highway, exit onto Tourist Drive 6 The Lakes Way and then turn onto Stoney Creek Road. Then you'll be heading underneath the highway, and then you're on the other side.

Fees and permitsEdit

There are fees into Myall Lakes National Park, although the fees are not that much compared to other parks. But in general, it's $2.50 per pedestrian, $6 per vehicle, with an additional $6 for caravans, trailers or boat trailers, $5.50 per motorbike and $10 per vehicles 4 tonnes or larger.

Get aroundEdit

Generally, it's best to take the car around given the large distance this park covers. Unlike other rural national parks in NSW, all main roads are paved and in very good quality to take around. But if you really want to go off the roads, 4WDs are allowed on the beach near Dark Point. However, that is only under certain conditions, and be sure not to destroy the surrounding environment as Dark Point is a very sacred site. However, if you have a preference for walking, Myall Lakes National Park is never short of them. Although don't attempt to cross the divided highway though...

SeeEdit

 
Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse in 2007

While many don't really associate Myall Lakes National Park with sacred sites, Myall Lakes National Park is home to a sacred meeting spot used over a period of 4000 years. As this park gets really close to the coast with elevated sand dunes, that also means that if you're keen on whale watching, come here between May to November, and you might see one.

  • 1 Dark Point Aboriginal Place, Dark Point walking track, Mungo Brush. This indigenous site has been a Worimi gathering spot for over 4000 years and has been declared an Aboriginal Site of significance in 2002.
  • 2 Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, 75-77 Lighthouse Rd, Seal Rocks. Built in 1875, there are stairs leading to some lookouts overlooking the ocean. If you're lucky to go here from May-November, you may as well have a chance of seeing whales. The lighthouse is also the second-most easterly one in Australia, after the Byron Bay lighthouse.
  • Whales. For the keen avid whale watchers, the months from May to November is the time for whale watching. While in most places throughout the state you will need to take a boat to see the whales, the elevation of the sand dunes in Myall Lakes National Park allow for better views of the whale migration without going on a boat or ferry.

DoEdit

 
Lower Boolambyte Lake
 
The view of the lakes from these trails

If there's anything to do, Myall Lakes National Park is nothing short of things to do. From kayaking, to hiking trails, to swimming, Myall Lakes National Park has something for anyone who likes the outdoors.

Hiking trailsEdit

  • 1 Treachery Headland walking track. 2 km (1.2 mi) return trail, however rated as a grade 4 trail from the AWTGS and takes about 45mins-1.25 hours to do. The trail offers stunning views of Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, the headland and the long coastline. The walk is quite an easy one, taking you through the park’s coastal rainforest.
  • 2 Dark Point walking track. 2 km (1.2 mi) return trail, however rated as a grade 5 trail from the AWTGS. This trail passes through some of the state's untouched and finest sand dunes. On top of that, this trail leads to Dark Point Aboriginal Place, a culturally significant site where the Worimi people have been gathering for about 4000 years.
  • 3 Mungo Rainforest walk. Bring your binoculars here if you're going to do this trail, as this trail is rich in birdlife, so that's not to be missed. Takes about 15 - 45 mins to do this trail, and rated as a Grade 3 trail by the AWTGS.
  • 4 Mungo walking track. This track is 21 km one way, and traverses most of the park's coastline. It takes about 10 to 12 hours to do this trail so be prepared.
  • 5 Neranie Headland walking track. Small 1.4 km (0.87 mi) trail return, this is a very simple walk and only takes between 15-45 minutes to do, while still getting to explore the lush greenery of this park.
  • 6 Submarine Beach walking track. Another short 1 km (0.62 mi) trail passing through some of the sand dunes in the area. Should take about 15 to 45 minutes.
  • 7 Tamboi walking track. 5.6 km (3.5 mi) return, and takes approximately 1.5-2.5 hours to do. This track is easier than some others, but nevertheless, it's still rated as a Grade 3 track by the AWTGS.
  • 8 Yacaaba Headland walking track. 7 km (4.3 mi) return track, and takes about 2.5-3.5 hours to do. The track is quite hard to do, and hence graded as a Grade 4 in terms of difficulty by the AWTGS. However, while all of this is difficult, the views are definitely worth it. Avoid doing this track in rain though, as it can get very slippery.
  • 9 Broughton Island walking tracks. 2 km (1.2 mi) return and should take approximately one hour to do. Has some stunning views of the sand dunes on the mainland.

Cycle pathsEdit

KayakingEdit

If you want to go kayaking, but didn't bring your own kayak, here's the options you've got. Do note though, that the water in Myall Lakes National Park is very shallow at places.

DivingEdit

See also: Seal Rocks#Diving

The park is not very well known for its dive sites, but one notable spot; Seal Rocks has a lot to offer the traveller, and arguably one of the best in Australia, although that heavily varies on opinion. Some of the aquatic life in Seal Rocks that are of interest to travellers include Grey Nurse Sharks, huge cod, massed schools of baitfish, kingfish, snapper, giant lobsters and sometimes the occasional Bronze Whaler Shark.

Apart from aquatic life in Seal Rocks, it's also possible to see the Shipwreck, S.S. Satara and Shipwreck, S.S. Catterthun. The S.S. Satara shipwreck is rated as one of the best wreck dives on the east coast of Australia wile the S.S. Catterthun is also fantastic, but its 55-62m depth and strong currents make it only available to professional divers making it less accessible.

There are also caves as well, both with depths of around 33m, and is best taken via an underwater tour, although be sure to bring a flashlight. Advanced diving qualifications are essential on this one though.

BuyEdit

There is nothing you can "buy" in Myall Lakes National Park just like most other national parks in NSW.

EatEdit

There are no cafes, restaurants or anything like that in Myall Lakes National Park. However, there are picnic areas. But if you did not bring any food, there are numerous places to buy food from nearby Bulahdelah albeit the town not in the park. This article only covers what's in the park.

Picnic areasEdit

  • 1 Black Oaks picnic area. Located on the southwestern banks of the Myall River, this picnic area is particularly known for a good place to go wildlife spotting.
  • 2 Engels Reach picnic area. Typical picnic area by the river, with a wharf nearby. Another spot for kayaking, although you will need to bring your own kayak.
  • 3 Grandis picnic area, Ferny Creek Rd, Boolambayte. This picnic area is right in the middle of the coastal forest, although it's still quite some distance from all the other parts of the park.
  • 4 Hearts Point picnic area, Neranie Rd, Bungwahl. Another picnic area overlooking Myall Lake. This picnic area is generally more family friendlier than some others.
  • 5 Hole in the Wall picnic area, Hole in the Wall Trail, Mungo Brush. This is one of the few picnic spots by the sand dunes, next to some swimming and fishing spots by the beach.
  • 6 Northern Broadwater picnic area, Mungo Brush Road, Mungo Brush. This picnic area is right next to a popular swimming spot in the holiday season.
  • 7 O'Sullivans Gap picnic area, off Woolton Way (Old Pacific Highway) near Bulahdelah. This is one of the new picnic areas west of the Pacific Highway surrounded with lush forest.
  • 8 Pipers Creek picnic area, Pipers Creek Firetrail, Hawkers Nest. This picnic area is very close to the border of the Hunter region, and next to some boating and canoeing areas. You do however, have to bring your own boat.
  • 9 Tamboi picnic area. This picnic area is near the historic site of the Tamboi fishing village, and located on the western banks of the Myall River. To arrive here, you'll need to come by boat and arrive at the old wharf.

DrinkEdit

Given that there are no places to eat, yep, no places to drink in the park and that is quite obvious.

SleepEdit

 
The night sky seen from some campgrounds at night by the beach.
 
This one is a view by the lakes

Unusually, Myall Lakes National Park has more places to rest your head than a usual park anywhere in the Mid-North Coast, however much of these are far more interesting as they may look. This is because much of these are beside the lake as the park name suggests, or what better, beside the sea on the sand dunes.

LodgingEdit

  • 1 Cutlers Cottage, +61 2 4997 4566. Check-in: noon, check-out: 9AM. Small cottage, over looking, not one, not two but three lakes, plus the ocean. 3 bedrooms, and maximum 6 guests allowed.
  • 2 Davies Cottage, 57 Kinka Rd, Seal Rocks. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. A hillside cottage overlooking the ocean and right near Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. 3 bedrooms, and maximum 6 guests allowed.
  • 3 NRMA Myall Shores Holiday Park, Resort Rd, Bombah Point, +61 1300 769 566. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Has villas, camping, glamping sites as well as a caravan park.
  • 4 Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages, 75-77 Lighthouse Road, Seal Rocks. 7 bedrooms, maximum 20 guests allowed. Accommodation in a heritage building with some stunning ocean views nearby.

CampingEdit

  • 5 Banksia Green campground, Mungo Brush Road, Mungo Brush. 15 campsites, although quiet since the sites are marked and unpowered. However, this would mean that you've more a beach to yourself.
  • 6 Boomeri campground, Old Gibber Road, Mungo Brush, +61 1300 072 757. Another lakeside camping area. 20 campsites available.
  • 7 Brambles Green campground, Mungo Track, Mungo Brush, +61 1300 072 757. Nice small, quiet camping spot by the Myall River. The only downside to this camping site is it can only facilitate two campsites. No extra fees apply, but entry fees do.
  • 8 Broughton Island campground, Island Top Walk, Mungo Brush. Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 11AM. This is one of the few spots where you can legally camp in an active seabird colony. Apart from that, nearby activities in the sea include swimming, fishing, boating, snorkelling and scuba diving. While there's only five campsites here, it's for good reason - the island might feel like yours, as this isn't a well known campground.
  • 9 Korsmans Landing campground and picnic area, Korsmans Trail, Bombah Point. 24 campsites, a popular spot for boating and fishing.
  • 10 Mackaway Bay campground (Mackaway Bay Camping Area), 895 Clarks Rd, Bombah Point. 3 campsites. Sunsets from here can at times, look stunning. However, getting here will need you to use a 4WD. Oh, and not to forget, eastern gray kangaroos and red-necked wallabies can be found here.
  • 11 Mungo Brush campground, Mungo Brush Access Rd, Mungo Brush. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. 78 campsites available, although this spot is very crowded during holiday season. But it's right next to the bay where you can swim, fish and sailboard, but also kayaking too.
  • 12 Neranie campground and picnic area, Neranie Rd, Bungwahl. 24 campsites. This campsite is generally more a paddleboat campsite and there's more padding activities nearby.

BackcountryEdit

  • 13 Joes Cove campground, Joes Cove Access Trail, Boolambayte. Only two campsites, and you will need to bring your items via a decently long walk. The water here also is not as clean as the water on the other side of the lake.

Stay safeEdit

Safety of anything is not a concern in Myall Lakes National Park and wildlife is nothing to be concerned about but avoid walking bare foot on the sand in summer, as the temperatures can be more surprising than you think.

Go nextEdit

Routes via Myall Lakes National Park
Newcastle SSW A1 NNE  CoolongolookPort Macquarie
END SW   NE  Forstermerges into A1Taree



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