A diverse ecosystem teeming with wildlife, the Great Lakes – Myall, Smiths and Wallis – is a wonderful destination. From still lakes and estuaries to white sandy beaches and national park wilderness, the region is a haven for water sports, bushwalking and houseboat holidays.
Just a few hours’ drive north of Sydney, Forster offers a range of water activities such as dolphin cruises, fishing, sailboarding and scuba diving. Between May and November, go whale watching with Amaroo Cruises to see humpbacks on their annual migration.
Forster Main Beach has ocean baths, perfect for families. Another popular spot is One Mile Beach, which has barbecue facilities, and visit Wallis Lake for fresh local oysters. Booti Booti National Park is a peninsula between the lake and the sea. Two hours’ drive inland is Barrington Tops National Park.
A short drive south of Forster is Pacific Palms, a small town bordering Wallis and Smiths lakes and the ocean. You’ll find plenty of places for fishing, stand-up paddleboarding and surfing. In Wallingat National Park, take the trail to the breathtaking Whoota Whoota lookout.
Bulahdelah is 50 minutes’ drive southwest of Foster and is the gateway to the shallow lakes of stunning Myall Lakes National Park and The Grandis, the tallest known tree in NSW. Hire a houseboat and cruise the lakes in the national park, home to pelicans, sea eagles, kangaroos and koalas.
At Hawks Nest, on the southern shores of the Great Lakes, you can stroll along Hawks Nest Beach to the scenic lookout at Yacaaba Headland. From Hawks Nest, drive across the ‘whistling’ bridge to Tea Gardens for fresh local oysters and a wooden ferry trip with the chance of spotting wild dolphins.