We weren’t sure what we were in for when we started down a dark dirt road resembling something out of horror movie. Daylight had faded four hours earlier when Brendan and I first headed north from Sydney. We just wanted to be out of the car with a glass of wine in our hands. When the 15-minute crawl down the gravel path ended, we came face to face with our home for the weekend: Myall Shores Nature Resort, located in Myall Lakes National Park.
We obviously couldn’t make out much of our surroundings once we arrived, but both Brendan and I were pleased with the accommodation, a two-bedroom, lakefront cabin. It was both cozy and modern, with user-controlled heat, a large bathroom, spacious kitchen with fridge and deck. And of course, the bottle of wine waiting for us on the counter didn’t hurt first impressions.
Daylight revealed a treelined lake so still it looked frozen. Its shores proved to be an attractive environment for ducks, birds like the kookaburra, pelican and superb fairy-wren and kangaroos. We saw more of the birds and ducks on our 10km bike ride to and from the beach after we crossed the lake by ferry.
The resort receptionist told us koalas often hung out in the trees of a nearby town called Hawks Nest, but we didn’t see any on our car ride there. The trip wasn’t completely futile, though, as a stop off at the beach near Mungo Brush revealed these rolling sand dunes. They were a bit scary to walk up because the incline was so sharp, but the mountain of sand was hard and supportive. The storm blowing in from the ocean made the scene seem almost other-worldly.
After a long sleep, Sunday stretched unscheduled before us. We walked around the resort before checking out and happened upon a hungry trio of kangaroos. In a dramatic turn to an otherwise sweet scene, the joey’s mother knocked over the other roo. Smack down! The one on the defense started hopping toward me — it was the closest I’ve ever gotten to kangaroos in the “wild.”
We decided to drive up to the Seal Rocks near Forster around noon. A sign along the way lured us to the tallest tree in New South Wales. The muddy ride up and down a winding path made the result a little disappointing, but it is one tall tree.
Twenty minutes later, we rolled up on tiny Seal Rocks, so named for the seals that used to gather there. A chat with a shopkeeper revealed that seals no longer actually turn up, but we took her suggestion to check out nearby Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. Seeing all the rocks around the lighthouse, it’s easy to tell why this baby was built in 1875, after one of the worst shipwrecks in Australian history.
While we were robbed of our seal spotting, another wonder of nature greeted us as we stood on the staircase to the lighthouse: a pack of dolphins riding the waves near the shore. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a clear picture of them because we were quite high above the water. It was definitely a nice way to end our sightseeing tour of the Mid North Coast, though.