Tour Description

Myall Lakes

 – with Spirit Australia Cruises

Eleven Days: 11th – 21st March 2020

Twin Share: $4595 per person. Sole Use: $5195 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

Situated on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, the Myall Lakes is one of the state’s largest coastal lake systems. Covering ten thousand hectares, the lakes are listed as a RAMSAR wetland of international importance and are surrounded by national parks which boast hinterland forests, pristine beaches, coastal rainforest and rolling sand dunes. As well as the inspiring, spectacular landscapes, there is an abundance of native flora and fauna, including unique species of birdlife. On our return journey we take time to enjoy some of the highlights of country NSW, visiting the Taronga Western Plains Zoo and the CSIRO Radio Telescope at Parkes. Join us and our friends at Spirit Australia Cruises, on this new tour to one of the most picturesque lake regions of NSW.

 

Day One – WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH 2020

(includes light lunch and three course dinner)

We depart this morning after home pick ups (limited areas*), to begin our journey east. After morning tea in Tailem Bend, we travel out through the Mallee towns of Sherlock and Lameroo before arriving at Pinnaroo for lunch.

Shortly afterwards, we cross the border into Victoria, heading through Murrayville, Ouyen, Piangil and Tooleybuc with a comfort stop along the way and the opportunity to stretch our legs . We then continue on to Balranald, a pretty town on the Murrumbidgee River and our destination for today.

Our accommodation for this evening is at the Balranald Motor Inn (Ph: 03 5020 1104), where there will be time to get to know our fellow passengers over dinner.

 Day Two – THURSDAY 12 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Following a hearty breakfast we continue our journey east to the town of Hay, located at the intersection of the Sturt, Mid Western and Cobb Highways. Hay has always been an important centre for transport and communications. It was a port for the riverboats which plied these waters many years ago and was an important staging depot for Cobb and Co Coaches.

After morning tea in Hay we travel through Goolgowi and Rankins Springs, a small town surrounded by land dedicated to wheat and oat farming and the breeding of cattle and sheep.

We continue our travels this afternoon destined for Cowra, a large wine producing region situated on the banks of the Lachlan River. The town is probably most remembered for the largest Prisoner of War breakout in modern military history, which took place in August 1944. This dramatic trauma in the history of the district has led the town to focus on pacifism and internationalism. The World Peace Bell, Japanese Garden, Japanese cemetery, remnants of the POW camp and the Sakura Walk at cherry blossom time are all reminders of the town’s importance both during and after the war, as well as a benchmark of healing and reconciliation.

Tonight we will stay at the Countryman Motor Inn Cowra (Ph: 02 6342 3177).

Day Three – FRIDAY 13 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Leaving Cowra this morning, we travel east, passing through the towns of Blayney and Bathurst, one of the oldest inland settlements in Australia and home to Mount Panorama.

From here we continue to Lithgow, situated on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. Surrounded by national parks, the countryside is stunning and as we travel you’ll glimpse stunning mountain views through clearings in the trees.

As we near the town of Bilpin, we’ll notice the orchards and gardens, as the fertile soils here make it the ideal spot for growing fruit, particularly apples.

Not far past Bilpin we join the historic Putty Road, the first road to link Sydney to the Hunter Valley region,  opened in 1823. Initially a popular cattle-rustling route, now much of this road is surrounded by National Park, making the journey very picturesque.

Late afternoon we are in the beautiful Hunter Valley, known primarily for being Australia’s oldest wine region. The area also boasts beautiful, natural landscapes, a rich history,  quaint towns and villages and  a variety of locally made artisan products.

Tonight our accommodation is at the Old Maitland Inn (Ph: 02 4932 5255) who pride themselves on their old-fashioned, friendly service.

 Day Four – SATURDAY 14 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, picnic lunch and two course dinner)

This morning we travel north to Forster-Tuncurry where we will begin our cruise. These twin towns are situated on either side of the Coolongolook River and are considered the heart of the Great Lakes regions. We meet the crew from Spirit Australia Cruises, who will be our hosts as we explore the spectacular Myall Lakes.

Home to the Worimi and Birpai indigenous people, the term Myall can loosely be translated to mean ‘wild’, referring to the vast wilderness that surrounds this spectacular lakes system. We board Spirit II, our purpose-built cruise vessel for exploring in these calm inland conditions.

We start our journey at Wallis Lake, which boasts crystal clear waters all year round. This lake has a rich seafood harvest including the Wallis Lake Oyster. The lake itself is approximately 25km long and 9km wide and is surrounded by Wallingat National Park to the west and Booti Booti National Park to the east. A popular spot for water sport enthusiasts, Wallis lake is actually fed by four rivers, and we will explore two of them as we cruise today, being the Coolongolook and Wallamba.

Around midday we’ll disembark to enjoy a picnic lunch at Coomba Park. Bordering the Wallingat National Park, this small friendly village enjoys the peace and tranquillity of life away from the city. It is closer to Forster-Tuncurry by boat than it is by car and there is a large resident kangaroo population in the village!

After reboarding, we’ll explore the canal developments of Forster Keys before arriving at Pacific Palms, situated on the southern end of Wallis Lake and known for its excellent surf beaches and luscious green surrounds.

We will reboard the bus and take the short journey to Buladelah, where our home for the next two nights will be at the Bulahdelah Motor Lodge (Ph: 02 4997 4520).

Please note: On the days we cruise, our tour is hosted by Spirit Australia Cruises. On these evenings, we will only be having a two course dinner rather than our usual three courses. This is because throughout the day we often have morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea while we cruise.

Day Five – SUNDAY 15 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Today we travel to Neranie boat ramp on the northern shores of Myall Lake, to board our cruise vessel. At its maximum capacity, this lake covers approximately 5800 hectares and is the largest of these freshwater lakes.

Over the next few days, we will be surrounded by the beautiful Myall Lakes National Park for much of  our cruising. In conjunction with two other national parks in the region, these reserves protect one of the largest networks of coastal lakes in NSW. They also boast the tallest tree, the largest coastal island, 80km of beach and coastline and a variety of culturally significant sites, both Indigenous and European.

After exploring Myall Lake, we cruise through two of the smaller adjoined lakes, Boolambayte and Two Mile. These waters take us through to the Bombah Broadwater, where we will disembark.

Our lunch today is at the NRMA Myall Shores Resort, a very picturesque location on the water, situated near the ferry crossing point.

This afternoon we continue our exploration of the Broadwater before entering the magnificent Myall River. Travelling upstream for approximately 20 kilometres, we arrive at Buladelah. Situated near the junction of the Crawford and Myall Rivers, the towns name is thought to mean ‘the meeting of the waters’.

We disembark and travel the short distance to our accommodation. Our motel is within walking distance, so for those wishing to stretch their legs, now is the perfect opportunity.

Day Six – MONDAY 16 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, picnic lunch and two course dinner)

Having boarded the boat after breakfast, we set out again along the Myall River, deviating to visit the pretty rural area of Nerong.

Re-entering the Bombah Broadwater, we cross over the southern waters destined for the lower section of the Myall River. Surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Myall Lakes National Park, we’ll pass by secluded camping spots such as Brambles Green, Cherry Tree, Engels Reach and Pipers Creek, stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch along the way.

After winding our way through 20 kilometres of the Myall River, by mid-afternoon the river suddenly opens up into the attractive Swan Bay.

Here are the sister towns of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens. These twin towns are situated on either side of the river and are joined by the ‘Singing Bridge’, so named for the musical sounds that the railings make in strong winds! We will berth at Tea Gardens tonight and journey to our accommodation at the Tea Gardens Country Club Motel  (Ph: 02 4997 0911).

Day Seven – TUESDAY 17 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Tea Gardens is a small, quiet village, that still retains some of its 1950’s charm. Historically, the local economy was fueled by the seafood and timber industries, but today its character and tranquility make it a popular retreat for tourists and retirees. In fact, it was one of the favourite holiday destinations of former prime minister, John Howard and his family.

After boarding Spirit II for our last day of cruising, we continue along the Myall River until it opens up into the magnificent Port Stephens. As we cruise through this spectacular area, we pass close by the popular holiday resorts of Nelson and Shoal Bays, before coming to Lemon Tree Passage, a leafy, tranquil suburb. Today we disembark to enjoy a delicious lunch at a local waterside restaurant, one of the many highlights of our day.

This afternoon we enter the Karuah River. Home to many oyster farms, this is actually the largest farming area for the Sydney Rock Oysters and we will visit one of these farms this afternoon.

Our cruise concludes in Karuah, where we say farewell to our Spirit of Australia crew after having a fabulous time cruising the picturesque Myall Lakes area.

We re-board our bus and travel back to Maitland in the Hunter Valley, staying once again with our hosts at the Old Maitland Inn (Ph: 02 4932 5255).

Day Eight – WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

After breakfast we commence our travels west through the Hunter Valley region towards the town of Denman. Located in the Upper Hunter, this area is well known for its horse studs and olives, along with the vineyards.

After stopping for morning tea, our journey continues along the Golden Highway towards the quaint rural village of Dunedoo. Surrounded by undulating hills and wide valleys, we will stop to enjoy lunch in a local café.

As we continue towards the central tablelands of New South Wales, you will notice how the countryside changes from the lush green of the vineyards and orchards, to that of property’s producing wheat and wool.

The city of Dubbo is a major service centre for the surrounding region and has a rapidly growing population. Situated on the Macquarie River, Dubbo is home to many historical buildings dating back to the late 1880’s and tonight we’ll enjoy the local hospitality at the Cattlemans Country Motor Inn (Ph: 02 6884 5222).

Day Nine – THURSDAY 19 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Just outside of Dubbo is the famous Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Opened in 1977 this zoo has developed a world-renowned reputation as a centre for the care of wildlife and for its conservation and breeding programmes, particularly of endangered species.

Grouped in five continental areas, the animals can be seen in large, open landscaped exhibits, quite different to the more traditional zoo. A system of hidden moats and fences provides uninterrupted views as we explore the zoo in the comfort of our Endeavour Tours coach, stopping to take short walks to get a closer look at the animals. There will be ample time to visit and enjoy morning tea in the café.

Late morning, we depart for Parkes, home of the CSIRO’s Radio Telescope, more commonly known as ‘the Dish’. Set amid the paddocks and trees in a broad, shallow valley, the telescope shot to fame in the year 2000 with the release of the Australian film ‘The Dish’, which tells the story of its part in the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. One of the first telescopes to be built with a ‘moving dish’, this part of the Parkes telescope weighs 1000 tonnes—that’s as much as two Boeing 747’s!

Following lunch we step into the Discovery Centre to learn more about the radio telescope, astronomy and the universe at large.

Mid-afternoon, we continue south through the township of Parkes—named in honour of the father of Australia’s federation, Sir Henry Parkes who visited the town in the late 1800s. We pass through Forbes, a gold-mining town with a colourful history before reaching tonight’s destination at West Wyalong. Located at the crossroads of the Newell and Mid-Western Highways, gold was discovered here in 1893 and the thriving rural centre now services the surrounding farmland where wheat, wool, pigs, eucalyptus oil and saw mills all fuel the local economy.

There will be time to settle into our accommodation for tonight at the Club Inn Motel, West Wyalong (Ph: 02 6972 2000) before coming together for dinner.

Day Ten – FRIDAY 20 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning after our hearty breakfast, we set off along the Mid-Western Highway to the quiet township of Goolgowi, arriving in time for morning tea.

Continuing west, we travel across the vast Hay Plains, to the township of Hay. Situated on the Murrumbidgee River and at the centre of a prosperous and productive agricultural district, Hay has a rich history, unique landscape and plenty of country hospitality.

After lunch, we join the Sturt Highway, travelling through the saltbush plains to Balranald. This peaceful town is also situated on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and is the ideal location for lunch. Keep a look out for the frog sculptures as you drive through the town! They are to raise awareness of the endangered Southern Bell Frog which is known to live in the wetlands of the Balranald Shire.

This afternoon we can relax and enjoy the journey to Mildura, named after the homestead of an early sheep station which covered most of the area. Located in the Sunraysia region and known for its grape production, the Murray River is a prominent feature of life in Mildura.

Our final dinner and accommodation on this tour will be at the Best Western Chaffey Motor Inn, Mildura (Ph: 03 5023 5833).

Day Eleven – SATURDAY 21 MARCH 2020

(includes cooked breakfast and two course hot lunch)

After breakfast, we farewell our wonderful hosts in Mildura and depart west for South Australia. Once across the border we continue along the Sturt Highway and meet the Murray River again in Renmark where we stop to stretch our legs and enjoy morning tea.

From Renmark we journey through Monash and detour to the Goyder Highway towards Morgan, where we will enjoy our two course lunch. In the 1800’s Morgan was home to hundreds of paddle-steamers being one of South Australia’s busiest river ports.

Refreshed, our afternoon drive takes us along the Thiele Highway. Named after Australian author Colin Thiele, who wrote Storm Boy, we continue our travels through Eudunda where he was born. Passing along the edge of the Barossa Valley and Gawler, we pause for a comfort stop before entering the suburbs of Adelaide.

Late afternoon we return everyone to their homes after exploring the incredible waterways of the Myall Lakes and experiencing first hand the unique natural beauty that this region has to offer.