WHERE THE Great Lakes, just three hours’ from Sydney, are a network of waterways that include the Myall, Smiths and Wallis lakes and sit between Nelson Bay and Forster, north of Newcastle.
MAPS HEMA Maps’ Australia Easy Read Road and 4WD Atlas (9th edition) is useful. The Myall Lakes, Booti Booti and Wallingat National Parks’ visitor guide is available from tourist information offices.
CAMPSITES THE Mungo Brush campground is a well-known campground near Hawks Nest. There are more than 22 campgrounds within the Myall Lakes. The Sandbar and Bushland Park campground can be found some 20km south of Forster. There are two idyllic campsites in the Wallingat National Park: the Wallingat River campground and the Ferny Creek campground.
FUEL AND SUPPLIES THE area is serviced by the towns of Hawks Nest, Forster and Bulahdelah.
KEY CONTACTS WALLINGAT National Park is operated by Great Lakes (Pacific Palms), phone: (02) 6591 0300; (02) 6554 0489. Sandbar and Bushland Caravan Park, phone: (02) 6554 4095 www.sandbarpark.com.au
RESTRICTIONS AND PERMITS 4WD beach permits are required to drive along the beach north of Hawks Nest. General park entry and camping fees also apply. The permit allows access to beaches in the Great Lakes and Greater Taree City Council areas. Fishing permits are also needed. The lakes, including the Myall Lakes National Park and the Wallingat National Park, are always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
TRIP STANDARD SUITABLE for standard 4WDS. All tracks are well graded, particularly around Myall Lakes. Be sure to pack recovery gear, as things can get interesting if the tracks are wet.