Sydney to Gold Coast Drive
DAY 7: Myall Lakes
Myall Lakes National Park is a stunning tapestry of lakes, rivers, rainforests and secluded coastlines. Sunsets are colourful and birdlife is plentiful. During May to November you can watch migrating humpback whales.
There is plenty of affordable camping ($8 - $12 per adult) amongst nature, here. All our recommended campgrounds and points of interest are marked on the map below.
- Beaches: If you like swimming, surfing, exploring rock pools, lazing on the sand and generally hanging out on beaches, Myall Lakes is your paradise. There are a lot of secluded coves with calm turquoise waters to the north near Forster and Tuncurry such as McBrides Beach and Burgess Beach (both mapped). The south is made up of long open beaches and large sand dunes where you’ll spot penguins and other seabirds. Submarine Beach has a pretty walking track to it from the car park and crystal clear waters. Seal Rocks is speckled with rockpools which are great for swimming in.
- Kayaking is a fun way to explore the region. Lazy Paddles (in Tea Gardens) and The Frothy Coffee Boatshed will hire you the gear you need. Lazy Paddles also takes tours of the Myall River. There are some lovely areas scattered along the waterways for kayakers and boaters to stop for picnics including Engles Reach, Black Oaks and Pipers Creek picnic areas which have jetties to tie up to.
- Mountain Biking: There are several dual walking and mountain bike trails in the region including Mungo and Tamboi walking tracks and cycle ways. The Mining Road fire trail is another popular 20km easy mountain biking trail. In Wallingat National Park, the Tip to Tail cycle track takes in everything Wallingat has to offer, which is quite a bit!
- Sugarloaf Lighthouse is at the northern end of Myall Lakes in Seal Rocks. Naturally, it’s a great spot for ocean views and whale watching (in winter). It was built in 1875 and has an external stairway. The lightkeeper’s cottages now serve as quirky accommodations.
- Great Lakes Winery does tastings and often has live music outside among the vineyards.
- Grandis Picnic area makes a nice stop off point on your way north. Here you can walk among the tallest trees in NSW.
- Art Galleries are not what most people come here for, but there are three worth mentioning. Nadine Wilson Art and Design Studio in Seal Rocks is a great place to pick up some affordable gifts. Manning Regional Art Gallery in Taree has a changing exhibition of contemporary works. Tobwabba Gallery has authentic Aboriginal art for sale in many affordable forms.
- Whoota Whoota Lookout is the highest point in the Wallingat National Park and you can drive right up to it. It is a grassy clearing on top of a mountain with picnic tables and views for miles all around.
- The Hinterland to the west encompasses the towns of Nabiac, Coolongolook, Wootton, Buledelah, and historic Stroud. Meander through fertile valleys, sample the local produce, taste wine and browse the antique shops.
- Go fishing: There are countless places to cast your fishing line. Bream, whiting, Australian salmon, flathead and mullet could be on your BBQ menu.
- Go snorkelling or diving. See below for a list of the best sites.
- Bush walking. You're spoiled for choice in Myall Lakes so we've shortlisted 9 good ones (see below).
Snorkelling and Diving
Broughton Island, Gould’s Island (also called Cabbage Tree Island) and Seal Rocks offers some of the best diving in the state.
- There’s a famous shipwreck dive off Seal Rocks
- Grey nurse sharks (people friendly sharks) congregate off Forster and Broughton Islands.
- Further south, Fly Point Marine Reserve is great for beginner snorkelers.
- Cabbage Tree Island (12 – 14 metres deep) is a protected calm area with cliffs that drop away to the sandy bed 12 metres below, swim through caves, and the naked lady statue. You’ll see rare doughnut nembrotha, wobbiegongs, eels, blue groupers, schools of bullseyes, yellostail and old wives.
- Boondelbah Island (12 – 30 metres deep) has protected waters, a colorful spnge garden, sheer walls, swim throughs and caves which provide a home for bream, blue grouper, and drummer. In summer you’ll see schools of snapper and mullaway.
9 Walks in Myall Lakes National Parks
Walking is a great way to explore the natural beauty of the region. Here's our pick of 9 varied walks.
- Treachery Headland (2km return, 45 mins) is a short walk through coastal rainforest, passed a giant fig with buttress roots, and onto the grassy headland where you have views of the coast and the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. A side track will take you to the beach where you can swim, surf, or fish.
- Dark Point Walking Track (2km return 45 mins) is a short walk through coastal dunes to Dark Point Aboriginal Place with historic middens of the Worimi People. You have breath-taking coastal views along the way.
- Mungo Rainforest walk (1.5 km 20 min) from Mungo Brush and Dees Corner Campgrounds is an easy loop into a lush and enchanting forest of ancient trees, plum pine, and brush bloodwood that is alive with colorful birds. Golden whistlers, figbirds, rufous fantails, bowerbirds and brush turkeys all call this forest home. This track joins with Tamboi and Mungo walking track.
- Tamboi Walking Track and cycle way (5.6 km return 1.5 hr walk) passes through swamp forests of cabbage palms, paperbarks and swamp mahogany. These protected waterways are rich in migratory birds and home to white egrets, grebes, and kingfishers. In early summer, the magnificent white swamp lilies bloom. It joins Mungo Walking Track.
- Mungo Walking Track and cycle way (21 km one way, 10 – 12 hrs) is a long but easy walk that passes through diverse landscapes. After Tamboi historic fishing village, you meander through old sand dunes and splendid wildflowers.
- Neranie Headland (cemetery) walking track (1.4 km return, 20 mins) on the eastern banks of Myall Lake takes you through tree-lined waterways and wetlands teaming with birdlife. At certain times of year the chorus of friar birds and rainbow lorikeets is almost deafening.
- Submarine Beach walking track (1 km return, 15 min) is a sandy trail that passes through forests of blackbutt, banksia and lush coastal rainforest to a viewing platform where you can check out the surfing action before continuing on to the crystal clear waters of Submarine Beach.
- Yacaaba Headland (7 km return, 2.5 hrs) is a slightly challenging walk with great views of the ocean. It takes you through angaphora stands, banksias and grass trees. On a clear day you can see the blue ridgeline of Barrington Tops. Cabbage Tree island protects the only known breeding ground of the Gould’s Petrel, one of the worlds rarest birds.
- Cabbage Palm Loop (1.7 km, 45 mins) in the Wallingat National Park to the north takes you through cabbage palm trees and rainforest trees, alluvial flats and drier eucalypt forests. The Wallingat River region is rich in birdlife. Echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies and goannas also live here.
Myall Lakes Camping
The criteria for our recommended camping areas and caravan parks is three-fold; they must be well-located, campervan-friendly, and well-reviewed (4 stars or more) on Trip Advisor and Google.
Rates and Facilities
Facilities in the national parks include BBQs and toilets but no showers. Some have picnic tables. Rates are the same for all of them unless stated. Peak: Adults $11.50, children $7. Offpeak: Adults $8, children $4. A cheaper option is in Wallingat National Park - $6 per adult, $3.50 per child. Only Mungo Brush Campground takes bookings.
Myall Lakes National Park Camping
- Stewart and Lloyd’s Campground - is between the river and the ocean beneath shady angaphoras. It has direct access to the beach and offers great beach fishing, walking and mountain biking. Facilities include BBQs and toilets.
- Banksia Green Campground – is nestled in the sand dunes by the beach and is also close to the calm waters of Bombah Broadwater. Facilities include BBQs and toilets. No bookings.
- Mungo Brush Campground is popular and is right on the water front of Bombah Broadwater. It is also close to the ocean. Facilities include BBQs, picnic tables, toilets and a boat ramp. Booking ahead is recommended.
- Dees Corner Campground – Is right on the calm waters edge of Bombah Broadwater in the shade of paperbarks. Facilities include toilets and BBQs. No bookings.
- White Tree Bay Camping and Picnic Area – is on the banks of Bombah Broadwater under the shady paperbarks. It’s a great spot for birdwatching, kayaking, and bush walking. Facilities include BBQs, picnic tables and toilets. No bookings.
- The Wells Camping Area – is right on the banks of Bombah Broadwater. Facilities include BBQs and toilets. It’s one of the few places you can have a campfire.
- Yagon Bay Camping Area – has direct access to the crystal clear waters of Submarine Beach via the pretty Submarine Beach walking track. Facilities include BBQs, picnic tables and toilets.
- Violet Hill Camping and Boat ramp – is on the banks of violet Hill passage. It’s a great base for water based activities such as kayaking. There are waterways and islands to explore. Facilities include BBQs, picnic tables, toilets and a boat ramp.
- Korsman Landing Campground – is on the northern shores of Two Mile Lake with a pier and is set among shady eucalypts and paperbarks. It’s one of the few campsites where Eastern Grey kangaroos like to graze. It’s a great spot from which to explore the waterways. Facilities include BBQs and toilets.
- Neranie Campground and Picnic Area – is on the banks of Myall Lake by a sandy beach, which is perfect for calm water swimming. BBQs, picnic tables and toilets. No bookings.
- The Ruins Campground – is an open grassy sight fringed with cabbage tree palms and paperbarks right on Seven Mile Beach and just a stones throw from Wallis Lake. Walking tracks are nearby. Facilities include showers, sinks, BBQs, picnic tables, toilets and drinking water.
RATES: Peak – Adults $16, children $8. Off peak – Adults $11.50, children $6 per night. No bookings.
- Wallingat River Campground - in the Wallingat Naitonal Park to the north of Myall Lake is by a river deep within the forest. Facilities include BBQs picnic tables and toilets.
RATES: $6 per adult, $3.50 per child. No Bookings
Myall Lakes Caravan Parks
The following 7 campervan-friendly caravan parks are privately run and highly rated. Their rates vary and are listed.
- Northcoast Holiday Parks Jimmys Beach, Tea Gardens, is on a white sand beach surrounded by sand dunes, crystal clear waters and natural forest. The sites are spacious and shady. Facilities include camp kitchen, laundry, hot showers, playground, free WiFi and BBQs.
RATES: From $30 for two. Additional adults $15. Children $10.
- NRMA Myall Shores Holiday Park – is right on the water’s edge of Myall Lake on shady grassy sites. Facilities include a swimming pool, kiosk, laundry, licensed café and pizza, BBQ areas, hot showers, games room, toilets and free WiFi.
RATES: From $30 for two. Additional adults $15. Children $10.
- North Coast Holiday Parks Seal Rocks - A spacious park on the beach with free WiFi, a kiosk, BBQs, laundry, a camp kitchen, hot showers and toilets.
RATES: From $32 for two. Additional adults from $18, children from $11 each per night.
- Pacific Palms Caravan Park – is located on a quiet road that runs along pretty tree-lined Elizabeth Bay. The turquoise waters of Elizabeth Bay are normally calm and protected making it a good swimming beach. Boomerang and Blueys beaches are nearby for the surfers. Sites are shaded and protected by trees. Facilities include hot showers, sinks, camp kitchen and gas BBQs.
RATES: Unpowered sites are $24 - $30 for two. Additional adults $10 - $14, Children $8 - $12.
- BIG4 Great Lakes at Forester Tuncurry – is on a point surrounded by the Coolongalook River. Facilities include a waterpark and play ground for the kids, swimming pool, TV room, café, camp kitchen, BBQs, hot showers, laundry and toilets. Some of the powered sites are on the waterfront.
RATES: From $43 for two. Additional adults and children $12.50.
- North Coast Holiday Parks Tuncurry Beach – is on a point with direct access to Seven Mile Beach and the Coolongolook River inlet. The Tuncurry rockpool is just a stones throw away. It’s perfect for swimming and paddling in. Facilities include playground, free WiFi, BBQs, laundry, hot showers, toilets.
RATES: From $35 for two. Additional adults $18 per night, children $11 per night.
- Twin Dolphins Holiday Park – is nestled in the forest so sites are shady. Facilities include resort style swimming pool, a wading pool, jumping pillow, pedal go-karts, playground, a large undercover BBQ area, games room, hot showers, toilets and free WiFi.
RATES: From $30 for two. Additional adults $10, children $7.50.