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Myall Lakes

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Myall Lakes - Cities, Towns and Localities
The Myall Lakes is in an ancient river basin, locked between high sand dunes on the coast and much older, flatter dunes on the west. For forty kilometres, beaches, offshore islands and the most extensive brackish lake system on the state’s coastline nurture a wealth of ecological treasures. A series of geological events caused a diverse substrate that supports an immense range of habitats, from wildflower heathlands to luxurious rainforests.

The dunes on both sides of the lakes run parallel to the ocean and have been built up by the sea over various ice ages and fluctuating sea levels. On the coastal edge, old land continues to be washed with new sands. Between Hawks Nest and Seal Rocks moving ‘aeolian’ dunes are constantly shape by the winds.

Owing to the landlocked nature of the lakes there is virtually no tidal flushing. Salt levels vary greatly from near saltwater at the prawning village of Tamboy (where the Myall River leads to Port Stephens from Bombah Broadwater), to almost fresh water at Bungwahl (on the northern shore of Myall Lakes). The habitat of extensive shallows and seagrass meadows include colonies of black swans and water birds, as well as supporting a complex association of salt and freshwater animal life. The Myall Lake system is a dynamic but extremely fragile area of precious coastal lagoons, constantly affected by fluctuating water levels due to storms, rainfall and tidal movement in the south.

Myall Lakes area - courtesy Tourism New South WalesAt Mungo Brush an intriguing juxtaposition of wildflower heathlands, littoral rainforest, paperbark forest and dry eucalypt forest exists where ancient carboniferous sandstones are exposed in a sea of recent sands. About one hundred thousand to two hundred thousand years ago, when the sea level was higher and the coastline ran on the western side of the Myall River, Mungo Brush was an island-similar to offshore John Gould Island. Both support rainforest in soil derived from weathered sandstone, which is richer in nutrients than the surrounding, relatively recent, infertile sands.

The interlocking complexity of plant communities along the Mungo Brush track make it a haven for birdwatchers. Within a few kilometres one can walk from the silvery paperbark forests fringing the lake shore-lit up with fluffy cream cones in autumn, filled with nectar for flocks of honeyeaters-to dark, wet rainforests and open wildflower ‘gardens’.

Two significant walks leave Hawks Nest to Mungo Brush and The Great Lakes. There are excellent information booklets describing the walks available from the visitor information centres at Tea Gardens and Forster. Check out our listing of Myall Lakes accommodation.

Information Centre

Forster Visitor Information Centre

Tea Gardens Visitor Centre

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