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Myall Lakes

30 January 2011 4,929 views One Comment

the area
cruisy weekend
sand dunes

In the last couple of years I’ve really wanted to visit Hawks Nest and Seal Rocks, but it just hasn’t come together – I’m usually too late for accommodation. Once again they evaded me and so I spent the weekend at Myall Lakes. As it turns out, not a bad Plan C at all.

Three-ish hours north of Sydney (three and a half if you miss the highway turning), past the Hunter and past Newcastle, Myall Lakes National Park covers the ‘great lakes’ fed by the Myall River and Boolambayte Creek. It also includes mangroves, bush, and as I discovered, some awesome sand dunes. The big skies and warm water remind you again that there’s more to NSW than sparkling coastline, pounding surf and coffee shops.

the resort

The Myall Lakes area is enormous and there are heaps of camping places but I stayed at EcoPoint Myall Shores Resort because I needed to work on the laptop and I wanted a fridge. I had a Lake Front Standard cabin. Lake front is right, I was twenty feet max from the soft lapping waters. Standard was right as well; the cabin was basic but completely fine. In fact the cabin next to me looked like it was housing 6-8 adults so I felt like a right princess!

A bit of a hiccup when I realised the cooking facilities were kettle, toaster and microwave. Should’ve seen me pacing the 8×8 room checking there wasn’t a hob or grill hiding somewhere… There was a BBQ though so I figured things out, and Id brought my own coffee pot :) so really it was all fine. Honestly sometimes I think the only things I need in life are a yoga mat, a coffee pot and WiFi. Oh, except there was no WiFi so I had to have double coffee :)

not something you’ll read here often: ‘doing nothing…’

It had rained on the way up – not a bad thing cos Lal’s aircon isn’t up to much – but the rest of the weekend was Sydney summer hot and shiny. I had my usual weekend away salty snacks at sunset. That put a smile on my face. I’ve currently decided I prefer pretzel sticks to pretzel shaped pretzels, better nibble quality.

I had come intending to do nothing and so the next day I ignored the perfect-for-paddling conditions – and really the lakes are superb for all sorts of watersports – and perfectly enjoyed sitting on the shady decking watching ducks, goanas, butterflies and clouds. The whole thing was spot on. In between doing nothing I walked around my lake a bit. There were some sandy beach fronts, a few piers and some nice stretches of crunchy-under-foot path, it was spacious and peaceful. The Myall Lakes water is very brown, apparently this is from the paperbark trees that are all round the area. It doesn’t make the water very inviting (good news for me!) but you feel like it’s full of minerals and goodness. And actually when I went for a paddle (as in ankles in the water) it was really nice – brown but clear – bit odd really.

Sunday was glorious: the lake was just rippling so all you could hear was the cicadas. The air was clear and still – I could see right across to the mangroves on the far side of the lake – funny how you don’t always realise it’s hazy until the haze lifts. I think a lot of people had left the resort because it was even quieter than yesterday. Well, safe to say, yoga done, bowl of muesli in hand, I was in heaven.

surprising find

I hung out at my cabin, expecting someone to arrive and tell me to move. Someone never arrived and I was still there at 6pm, it was glorious. I decided not to take the same gravel road back to the highway and instead went à la car ferry which was ridiculous fun. I mean a car ferry with you as the only passenger, wicked! And then I took the road to the elusive Hawks Nest. It was a fantastic drive because the road runs between the Myall River and the ocean which means the views, foliage, landscape are just incredible. I pulled Larry to a stop when I saw sand dunes ocean-side and ran up the bank… They were stunning: silk sheets of sand flowing in all directions, I wanted to explore the whole area and like a complete amateur I was convinced that the next summit would be ‘the end’ but they were endless. They had that thing with extensive sand, sea, snow where it’s really hard to determine any metrics: distance, volume, length etc and so I walked until I saw the ocean and it took a lot of discipline to turn back around. You know when Thelma says she feels “wide awake” as they drive through the desert – I reckon NSW can make you feel like that. But, there’s also the isolation and if you have any imagination at all you’ll run off on a tangent of horror movies about being alone in the bush blah blah blah.

driving solo

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m not running or bike riding at the moment, or because of travelling recently in Thailand but I was really keen to drive this weekend. Both there and back the kilometres just chewed away, BUT I have some questions about Australian roads. Actually I’ve had these questions for a while:

  • Why are there not ‘proper’ service stations along the highways here? When I do a road trip I like to bust a good 50 dollars on unnecessaries in the service station. Check with any Moto or Welcome Break in the UK – they know what I’m talkin about…
  • What is an odometer?
  • So clearly the directional signage is really poor, or all drivers are stupid, what else can account for the unbelievably high number of u-turn bays..?
  • What are you meant to make of the following sign: ‘road deformation due to mine subsistence’?
  • What are road plates?
  • And while we’re at it, what are fly bys?
  • Oh, and why is linen called ‘Manchester’?
  • Sorry, back to the roads… Why do people stop on roundabouts to let you in?? I know it’s nice, but that’s not how it works…
  • Why do people indicate when they’re following an arterial road or turning on to a one-way road?


I can’t not mention the sunset on the way home, it was outstanding. The sky seemed to burn orange FORever and then finally milky orange melting to milky blue to twilight blue and then the stars came out. It was a full on performance with encore; a visual lullaby.

So, if you want restorative Myall Lakes is your place. Well, it’s certainly my place. I don’t know that I’ll ever make it to Hawks Nest or Seal Rocks now…

Have great weeks xLuce


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One Comment »

  • lucyjjames » Blog Archive » Fraser Island & Noosa said:

    […] find it freaky how deceiving distance and texture is when you look at sand dunes, I thought that at Myall Lakes too, you think you’re at the summit and then… no, another mound to […]

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