Boating and camping information about the Myall Lakes, New South Wales, Australia.

The following text was extracted from my chart titled "Boating Guide to Port Stephens and the Myall Lakes".


MYALL RIVER Boats travelling up the Myall River need to be able to clear the Hawks Nest Bridge 10.6m. More clearance can be gained by waiting for low tide which occurs 75 minutes after Fort Denison.

Boats with a draught of less than a metre can expect not to touch bottom at any state of the tide. With a draught of 1.5m going aground a few times on the trip would be normal. Boats with a draught of up to 2 metres will need to travel at optimum times and will need some determination to make it to Tamboy. The river bottom is soft mud and sand with weed. There are plenty of snags, particularly near the banks of the river. Keep your wash to a minimum and watch out for other craft on the river.

The water is muddy with visibility of about 0.6m. The rise and fall of the tide is the full amount at Hawks Nest tapering to almost nil at Tamboy. Near Tamboy the current may not change direction in which case it always flows down river. Dolphins can be seen as far up the river as Bombah Broadwater.

Keep to the centre of the river on the straights. Keep to the outside of the curves and pass on-coming boats port to port (keep to the right-hand side of the channel). There is an 8 knot speed limit in the Myall River between Witts Island and Tamboy.

When leaving Tamboy for the Broadwater beware of the submerged rock training walls to port and starboard of the channel.

CAMPING Some camping sites have toilets and garbage facilities. A fee is charged to camp at all campsites in the National Park. This fee is currently about $12.50 for 2 persons and $2 for each extra person per night. Boats anchored adjacent to campsites may be deemed to be using the facilities. Garbage Bins are provided at Bungwahl, Mungo Brush, Korsmans, Myall Shores and Violet Hill. Camping, boating and swimming in the Myall Lakes are first class. The Lake system is fragile and cannot withstand abuse. Visitors are advised to practice minimum impact camping by using stoves. No wood fires are allowed at Mungo Bush or White Tree Bay. The collection of firewood is banned in the Myall Lake National Park (bring you own). No domestic pets. Most camp-sites have resident possums and goannas. They will chew through canvas, paper, cardboard, and plastic bags to get at your biscuits, bread and fruit.

BUSHWALKING The publication "A Walkers Guide to the Mungo Track" by H. Pacy, M. Rowe and P. Pritchard describes a walk from Mungo Brush to Hawks Nest. At Mungo Brush there are short walks to the Ocean, Tamboy, and Rainforest. Violet Hill can be climbed from the camping area. A track from Johnsons Beach leads to Johnsons Hill. There is a track linking Tickerabit, Shelly Beach, Johnsons Beach and Mungo Brush. A track from the "haunted house" in Kataway Bay ascends Kataway Hill. There are a number of short walks at Nerong.

CANOEING Open stretches of water are to be avoided in windy weather. The most sheltered areas are The Myall River, Nerong Creek and Boolambayte Creek. By keeping close to the shore, the whole of the Myall Lakes system can be explored in minute detail. Canoes can be rented from Myall Shores (049) 97-4495. The best sections of the Myall River for canoeing are Tamboy to Brasswater and Tea Gardens to the Pine Plantation. The upper Myall River between Bulahdelah and River Mouth is very quiet, the greatest danger being fast boats.

SEWAGE No Sewage is to be discharged into the lakes. All boats should have holding tanks which can be emptied into a mobile barge, the Independence. The service is free. The Independence can be contacted on marine radio or hailed. There is a shore-based sewage pump-out pontoon next to the boat ramp at Myall Shores. It is self-serve and free.

MYALL LAKES SYSTEM Facilities are minimal and primitive. Bombah Broadwater supports the most number of campers and boats. The water is cloudy with visibility of about 1.5m. The water level is governed by rainfall and there is no tidal rise and fall. Bombah Broadwater is the best lake for catching prawns. The "Mungo Regatta" is held off Mungo Brush for 3 days starting Boxing Day. This area is then restricted and there is considerable noise from fast boats. The whole of the lakes is within the Myall Lakes National Park and the waterways are also controlled by the Waterways authority who police such things as speed limits, licences, regulations and safety equipment.

The water clears through Boolambayte Lake and is perfectly clear in the Myall Lake. After floods the level of the lakes may rise 0.9m.

COURTESY MOORINGS are marked with a large beehive orange buoy and are provided at the following locations in the Myall Lakes system:

Myall Shores 6

Professors Cove 2

Violet Hill 5

Long Point Bay 3

Kataway Bay 2.

PROVISIONS The key to enjoying the lakes is to take in everything you will need and take out all rubbish. Food, gas and ice can be bought at Tea Gardens, Bulahdelah, Myall Shores and Bungwahl Store. Dining out is possible at Myall Shores.

WATER The water in the lakes is brackish and too salty to drink. Soap will lather in it. Water is available at Tea Gardens, Bulahdelah, Myall Shores, Mungo Brush and Violet Hill.


The "Boating Guide to Port Stephens and the Myall Lakes" is a chart of the waterways. If you would like a copy E-MAIL The Port Stephens Visitors Centre (tops@hunterlink.net.au) with your request and they will issue you with instructions on how to get a copy. The chart will cost about $3 paper, or $6 laminated, plus postage. 36000 copies have been sold since 1988. It is updated about every second year. The Port Stephens Visitors Centre can be phoned on 1800808900.

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