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Myall Lakes Day Trip by Boat
janinerSat, 14/04/2012 - 9:54pm
Day trips by boat from North Arm Cove to Myall Lakes are a lot of fun. Our first trip up the Myall River was many years ago in a sailing boat, an RL34 with a retractable keel. That trip was quite an adventure, getting a 10m boat up some of the narrow stretches of water. We now have a 4.8m half cabin run about with a 90hp motor which does the trip up the river with ease.
We generally set out about 9am. If it is low tide, we move the boat before breakfast down to Water Street where we can load up easily. It takes about half an hour to get to Tea Gardens where we top up our fuel and have a coffee.
Travel up the Myall River is not fast and we generally allow about 2 hours. There are lots of “no wash” zones and 4 knot speed zones as well as Marine Park Sanctuary Zones, but there are also plenty of straight stretches where you can get up on the plane. We take a waterways map that shows the numbers on the channel markers so that we know exactly how far we have travelled. It would be very easy to take a side channel and end up in shallow water, so a good map is essential.
You have to be careful travelling in the river as the water depth can be quite shallow and it is essential to keep to the deepest part of the channel. You also have to be very careful on the bends as quite large boats can suddenly appear right in front of you. Having said all this, it is not a difficult trip. The scenery changes all the time and there are plenty of spots to stop for a fish or a swim. There are quaint old fishermen’s shacks, commercial camping sites and remnants of mining, plus a huge variation in vegetation from pine forest to coastal woodland. The two hours goes very quickly.
Once you arrive at Tamboi, it is time to decide what to do for the rest of the day. The river is very protected and it can be quite a shock to get to Tamboy and realise that the water on the first lake, the Bombah Broadwater, can be very choppy and unpleasant on a windy day. The Myall Lakes is a big place and it is best to stick to the southern stretches of water on a day trip from North Arm Cove.
We usually choose what to do based on the weather and how much time we have available. With kids on board, we generally just choose to swim and muck around at Mungo Brush or wherever we can find a spot out of the wind. One autumn day, we made our way to the Myall Shores near the car ferry, where we grabbed a mooring, fed the ducks and had an ice cream. Kids tend to get bored with too much time spent travelling, so a trip further up the River to Bulahdelah is best left for days when it is adults only. The section of river from the Broadwater to Bulahdelah is a bit wider and easier to navigate than the Tea Gardens stretch, so a lunch stop at Bulahdelah can be easily managed. Nerong is also a nice spot for a stop and it has easily accessible public toilets.
We have often talked about taking a tent and spending a night camping so that we can explore more of the Myall Lakes. However, we still haven’t found the time. Staying at Myall Shores is another option. The main problem is the logistics of refuelling and you would need to check your range and be sure that fuel is available before you left. We always refuel on our way home at Tea Gardens where we also take the opportunity to get an ice cream.
Our main issue with the return trip is the late afternoon sun from Tea Gardens back to North Arm Cove. You also have to plan on a bumpy ride on Port Stephens if the wind has picked up during the day. Not all our trips have been without incidents. Once we took a trip with two boats, but one boat had mechanical problems and had to be towed back.
We have enjoyed all our trips from North Arm Cove to Myall Lakes. It is a full day out, but provided you allow for refuelling stops, it is a wonderful way to experience the diversity of our waterway.