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Travel Guides

Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest

Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest

Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest are two of our favourite school holiday destinations. Only 2.5 hours drive from Sydney, they make for an easy and relaxed getaway. They offer stunning beaches on your doorstep and are close to beautiful bushland. The highlights of our holidays spent on the North Coast of NSW would have to be swimming at Bennetts Beach, stand up paddle boarding on the Myall River, sand boarding at Dark Point and exploring Myall Lakes National Park. This travel guide includes links to the best local restaurants and activities so you can plan the perfect holiday.

Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest Map

A typical day for our family begins with either a walk along the riverfront or a stand up paddle board on the Myall River. We frequently see dolphins here so keep an eye out. The mangroves along the river banks are home to diverse bird and sea life. A stand up paddle board or kayak is a peaceful way to explore the river and come close to wildlife. Shoals of fish dart in the shallows of the mangroves, stingrays sit on the bottom of the water, dolphins often come to feed in the river as well. The bird life is spectacular and you will see pelicans, bats, egrets, herons, honeyeaters, black cockatoos and eagles just to name a few. You can hire all the gear you will need from Lazy Paddles or Ezy Kayaks

White-cheeked honeyeater Hawks Nest

A white-cheeked honeyeater feeding on a banksia

We then head to the local bakery Two Fat Bakers for breakfast. You can get your takeaway coffee, freshly baked bread or, my personal favourite, churros.

 

A pelican takes flight on the Myall River

Tip: Two Fat Bakers is incredibly popular and sells out by lunchtime most days. If you like the look of a pie for lunch, it is best to buy it at breakfast so you don’t miss out.

If we have brought our border collie Maggie along with us, we then take her for a walk along Bennetts Beach. This is a dog friendly beach in certain areas only so be sure to check signage before you go. I love Bennetts Beach. It is so huge that it manages to harmoniously have patrolled areas for swimming, then, elsewhere plays host to surfing, fishing, 4WDing and dogs! On our morning walks along the beach we often see dolphins, so again, keep your eyes peeled.

Shell on Bennetts Beach

Little Gibber Dark Point Bennetts Beach

Little Gibber

In the warmer months there is nothing better than spending the entire morning on the beach. Our favourite is Bennetts Beach, but Jimmys Beach is popular with younger families.

If lounging on the beach isn’t your thing, perhaps a walk up to Yacaaba Headlands at the southern end of the beach for some fabulous views is more your style. To get to the beginning of this walk, park your car at the very end of Beach Road, then walk along to the end of the beach. It is not a long walk to the top of Yacaaba, but it is a steep one. During the walk there is a lovely vantage point that overlooks north west, I actually think this is the best view, so don’t feel compelled to make it all the way to the top if you don’t fancy it!

If you head up Mungo Brush Side Road you will have a variety of walks to choose from in Myall Lakes National Park. 

Dark Point Myall Lakes National Park

Where the bush meets the sand dunes at Dark Point in Myall Lakes National Park

Dark Point Myall Lakes National Park

Sand dunes at Dark Point in Myall Lakes National Park

Dark Point Walking Track is a stunning walk through bush and sand dunes. Take a boogie board for sand boarding. You can even walk over to the North end of Bennetts Beach (Little Gibber) for a swim if you fancy it. Pay attention to the tracks in the sand, we have found some interesting ones on our dune walks. Please remember that this is culturally significant land and has been a gathering place for the Worimi people for over 4000 years. Be respectful of this cultural heritage and do not remove any relics or artifacts. 

Tracks in the sand Dark Point Myall Lakes National Park

Prints in the sand dunes at Dark Point in Myall Lakes National Park

Mungo Rainforest Walk is a kid friendly quick loop. The walk begins from Mungo Brush Campground and you might see golden whistlers, figbirds, and if you are really lucky satin and regent bowerbirds. For longer walks check out The Myall Lakes National Park website or get the National Parks app on your phone.

Rainforest Walk Myall Lakes National Park

Mungo Rainforest Walk Myall Lakes National Park

Tip: You can pay your $8/car/day National Park entry fees at Mungo Brush campground or Hawks Nest Newsagency. If you are planning to 4WD on the beach you need to purchase a permit. They cost $100 and are also available from Hawks Nest Newsagency.

Myall Lakes National Park

Mungo Rainforest Walk Myall Lakes National Park

Another way to explore the area is by boat. You can hire them from the Boatshed. You don’t need any experience or even a boat license to hire these! The team at the Boatshed will provide you with a quick lesson, a map, life jackets and tips on where the best fishing spots are. Bring your own fishing gear and bait. 

The Singing Bridge Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest NSW

The Singing Bridge that connects Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest

THE NITTY GRITTY AT A GLANCE

Highlights:

Stand up paddle boarding on the Myall River

Swimming at Bennetts Beach

Sand boarding at Dark Point

Stand up paddle boarding Myall River Tea Gardens

Stand up paddle boarding on Myall River

Tea Gardens Police Station

Police Station in Tea Gardens 

Dolphin Myall River Tea Gardens

Dolphins feeding on the Myall River

Pelicans feeding on Myall River

Pelicans feeding on Myall River

The National Parks:

Myall Lakes National Park

Myall Lakes National Park

Myall Lakes National Park

Where to stay:

Glamping or Tiny House

Myall River Camp

For couples

Tea Gardens Loft

Where to eat:

Boatshed - Highly recommended

Two Fat Bakers - Highly recommended 

Mumm’s on the Myall - Highly recommended

Lovely restaurant and great takeaway food.

The Garden Eatery at The Country Club  - Highly recommended

Not sure where the garden is, but this place has great Aussie style Chinese food, think Mongolian Beef and Honey Prawns. Be sure to book a table at the resturaunt, as if you order at the bar the wait for food can be considerable.

The Tea Gardens Hotel - Highly recommended

Great pub food with a lovely atmosphere, beer garden and kids playground. They do trivia night on Thursdays at 7pm. Be sure to book.

Tea Gardens Hotel

The pelican at Tea Gardens Hotel 

Benchmark on Booner 

Ice Cream Shack - Highly recommended 

 

Shell watercolour

Painting shells is one of my favourite pastimes

A bit about us. I am Charlotte, owner and designer of Love From Shop, an online Australian gift store. My husband Mark is the owner and all round sound guru of ISM Studios. We have two children, Asha (14) and Evie (12). We call Sydney, Australia home and we love to travel.