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.
At 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
Myall Lakes accommodation.