Located only 70 kilometres north of Newcastle and two and half hours drive north of Sydney are the beautiful coastal towns of Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest. These two neighbouring towns, separated by the Myall River, have plenty to offer visitors in the way of scenery, beaches, cafés, camping and fishing, all within a short drive up the Pacific Highway.
The Marina has a top selection of cafes and eateries
The two little towns typify what it's like to live on the Aussie East Coast, both with that laid-back, easygoing atmosphere, friendly locals, and a beaut little marina that you could quite easily waste hours away in front of admiring the water views and mangrove birdlife going about their business across the river. Like most towns on the coast, fishing is a big way of life around these parts and while some parts of the area are protected by the Port Stephens Marine Park, there's still plenty on offer for the keen angler or the part time recreational fisher.
The Singing Bridge joins the two towns
Jimmys Beach in Hawks Nest is on the northern side of Port Stephens and is a nice sheltered beach with calm surf and great views of the Mt Yakaba and Mt Tomaree headlands. For those looking for something a little more fast paced, Bennets Beach provides a better swell for surfers and body boarders. You can catch ferry across the port to Nelsons Bay for more Port Stephens beaches and attractions.
Campers will find the Myall Lakes National Park a home away from home with some absolutely pristine riverside campsites along the Myall River and Myall Lakes. The Myall River Campground is a huge camping area along the banks of the river that offers great facilities and it's a prime spot to throw in a line and settle in for a few days of relaxation. You can head on in further to the national park and head for one of the many lakeside campsites.
Myall River Camp offers pristine riverside camping
There's 4WD access to Mungo and Lemmontree Beaches through the park which are great, secluded beaches, perfect for fishing for that catch of the day. There's spectacular views of Seal Rocks to the north and Broughton Island to the south. You can travel north through the national park to Seal Rocks or continue round to the Bombah Point ferry and into the Bulahdelah State Forest which has plenty of tracks for the 4WD enthusiasts.
There's 4WD access to Mungo Beach
If fishing's not your thing or you just happen to be unlucky on the day, the marina has a nice little strip of cafes and eateries with a heavy influence on fresh seafood. Relaxing by the water, sampling the local catch is the perfect way to round out the afternoon. So for a perfect weekend getaway to escape the city to a more relaxed pace, try out these two little gems on the Mid North Coast.