Three in one – Beach, Bay and Lake­side fun

David Thorndike gives lux­ury camp­ing a crack at the newly re-opened Jimmy’s Beach Hol­i­day Park at Hawks Nest, NSW.

Caravan, Camping and Holiday Parks with Kids - - From The Editor -

Dis­cover the nat­u­ral beauty of Hawks Nest and the peace­ful calm bay per­fect for kids at Jimmy’s Beach.

If you think that camp­ing isn’t for you, that it is a bit too rough on the com­fort side of things, or that it just looks like plain hard work, then you need to try the lat­est camp­ing style tak­ing over hol­i­day parks in a big way. It’s called ‘glamp­ing’ and it is camp­ing with ev­ery­thing you need to keep you cool, clean and com­fort­able, and with­out the has­sle of putting up tents and sleep­ing on the airbed! We are stay­ing at the newly re- opened Jimmy’s Beach on the mid North Coast of NSW at Hawks Nest and this place is the bees knees as far as fam­ily camp­ing lo­ca­tions go.

And that’s not just be­cause of our lux­ury camp­ing, sorry ‘glamp­ing’, ac­com­mo­da­tion, though the wife and kids are tick­led pink to see that we are stay­ing in a 30’ long cov­ered can­vas tent that in­cludes a pri­vate en­suite with shower and toi­let, a dou­ble pos­ture­pedic en­sem­ble for mum and dad, as well as dou­ble bunk beds for the kids, a kitchen in­clud­ing up­right fridge/freezer, mi­crowave and of course a sink, a four seater lounge suite fac­ing the tele­vi­sion, ceil­ing fans and even a cov­ered front deck­ing with an out­door din­ing set­ting.

This place has all the space of a ho­tel suite but with the added ben­e­fits of be­ing able to roll the can­vas win­dow flaps up and en­joy a fan­tas­tic breeze blow­ing over you while you sleep, just the ticket for those balmy sum­mer nights by the beach.

Speak­ing of the beach, if your fam­ily is ad­dicted to the wa­ter as much as mine is, then you will love Hawks Nest. One of the best (and also one of the safest) white sandy beaches you will find any­where in NSW is Jimmy’s Beach. Just a 100 me­tre stroll out the back of our tent brings us to this idyl­lic, calm north­ern shore of Nel­son Bay, with a view that stretches across the wa­ter to the town of the same name. There are no break­ing waves here and if you have lit­tle ones who love to splash around but are not yet con­fi­dent in the wa­ter, this is the per­fect place.

Jimmy’s Beach con­tin­ues in both di­rec­tions for over 500 me­tres from the ac­cess point be­hind the hol­i­day park, and there is plenty of room to set your­self up for fish­ing, swim­ming, pad­dling or just re­lax­ing on the sand and build­ing cas­tles with the kids. The one down side is that there is no nat­u­ral shade avail­able so make sure you pack an um­brella or pop up shel­ter so you can spend some time out of the sun as well.

If your kids are older and like to surf or swim in the break­ers, then the pa­trolled surf beach is just a ten minute walk through the other side of the park. And if boat­ing or pad­dling is more your thing, there are two fan­tas­tic choices with Nel­son Bay right in front of you and Myall Lakes only a few min­utes up the road.

Hav­ing a safe pro­tected beach right be­hind the hol­i­day park is fan­tas­tic and we take full ad­van­tage by walk­ing be­tween the two sev­eral times a day for meals, naps and just to get out of the sun for a lit­tle while. The wa­ter’s draw­ing power is too great how­ever and we can’t stay away for more than a few hours be­fore we are ei­ther back in again, or en­joy­ing an evening stroll along the edge watch­ing the last rays of the sun sparkle on the wa­ter.

Even though we are stay­ing in the Taj Ma­hal of tents, there are plenty of fa­cil­i­ties here at Jimmy’s Beach for those who pre­fer to camp in their own car­a­van, camper trailer or tent at one of over 100 sites, many of which are still sport­ing new grass from the make- over. Walk­ing around the park, we are es­pe­cially im­pressed with the num­ber

of free gas BBQ’s, as well as the huge un­der­cover camp kitchen, com­plete with hot wa­ter, sink and mi­crowave as well as half a dozen large fam­ily pic­nic ta­bles. There are also two great ameni­ties blocks, a laun­dry and a per­ma­nent camp­fire pit, where you can sit around and toast marsh­mal­lows with your fel­low campers and en­joy look­ing up at the stars.

Our hosts, Barry and Karen, are two of the friendli­est down to earth peo­ple you will meet, and over the course of our two night stay we run into them a few times, stop­ping to chat about the park, the weather and the town. Lo­cal knowl­edge is al­ways the best source of in­for­ma­tion, and I ply Barry for a cou­ple of the bet­ter places to throw a line in, and also for his rec­om­men­da­tion for a feed in town. Yes, even though we have a kitchen, we’re on hol­i­days and eating out means no clean­ing up!

If you’re look­ing for a peace­ful ac­tiv­ity, you can’t beat koala spot­ting, and Hawks Nest has a thriv­ing colony in the lo­cal bush­land. In fact Barry tells us that they had one in the park just a few weeks back, but he’s moved on again now. It’s also worth tak­ing a full day to catch the ferry across to Nel­son Bay and go on a whale watch­ing cruise, although a word of warn­ing, you do go out to sea on this trip, so if you get queasy eas­ily, make sure you take a cou­ple of mo­tion sick­ness tablets first.

Also top of the list while here should be a drive up to Myall Lakes. There is a great swim­ming and pic­nic area at Mungo Brush, where the wa­ter is knee deep out to about 50 me­tres from shore, so once again, its great for young kids. There’s plenty of shady trees, toi­lets and BBQs, so plan to spend at least half a day here. And for those with 4WDs, there’s beach ac­cess on the other side quite close to here as well, but be sure to pick up a per­mit first from the lo­cal newsagency, and make sure you check the tides.

04 01 A day trip to nearby Myall Lakes 02 Out the front of our lux­ury tent 03 Play equip­ment next to Jimmy’s Beach 04 Jimmy’s Beach is the per­fect spot for a fam­ily swim

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05 05 Sim­ple fun out of the sun 06 The in­side of our lux­ury tent ac­com­mo­da­tion 07 Look­ing out over the main surf beach at Hawks Nest

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