The geography of the Lakes District of northern NSW is dramatically varied. The escarpments of the Great Dividing Range here run right up to the coastline in places. Over millions of years the waters flowing east from the hills have shifted course and changed the layout of the land resulting in the formation of numerous rivers and spectacular lakes.
The twin towns of Forster-Tuncurry lay on either side of the Wallamba Channel which is the entrance to Wallis Lake. The lake itself is fed by several rivers and creeks. This means that locals and visitors can enjoy ocean surf beaches, gentle tidal lakes and swiftly flowing rivers all within an hours’ drive from the towns.
Naturally, with so much water around, much of the local industry is focused on water-based activities. In fact the local economy relies on income from these industries. Visitors have a huge range of activities and adventures to choose from.
Families with young children have many entertainment options close to the centre of town. The swimming enclosures on the lake and beach areas protected by the headlands are popular as the waters are generally calm. Facilities such as amenities blocks and cafes are close by.
The local beaches vary in character depending on how open or protected they are and also which direction they face. Surfing is popular at Seven Mile Beach adjacent to Booti Booti National Park. Closer to Pacific Palms and Myall Lakes, the surf beaches get even more bold and challenging with treacherous rips to watch out for.
If you don’t fancy a surfboard, you can still ride the waves in a kayak, Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board or out on a boat. The more adventurous can try diving and snorkeling to explore the world under the water.
There aren’t too many other places in the world that have so many different fishing options in the one region. The beauty of the sport is that it allows people to indulge their hobby while at the same time immerse themselves in the natural environment.
Up in the hinterland you can go fly-fishing in search of the elusive bass. Hire a boat or join a tour to go out deep sea fishing. Local operators can help you hunt for species such as yellow-tailed kingfish, bar cod, snapper, pearl perch and even small sharks. Closer to shore you will find mackerel, jew fish and mackerel. If you travel up one of the estuaries you will be sure to find many shellfish, squid, whiting and bream. At the end of the trip, staff can clean your catch for you so you can simply take it home and cook it up for a delicious feast. Be aware that shellfish collected by recreational fishers should not be eaten raw due to the toxins they absorb from the water. Commercial seafood farms are positioned in well maintained and clean designated areas around the lakes.
Rock fishing requires extra care due to the increased safety risks. Be sure to wear footwear with a strong grip and never fish alone. If you are out on a boat, always wear a life jacket and carry emergency equipment such as torches and ropes. Avoid wearing thick, heavy clothing as this may weigh you down if you go overboard. Be sure to check the local regulations regarding catch sizes, restricted zones and protected species.
One of the many delights of the region is the presence of dolphins in some of the lakes. Also, during winter, whales can be seen as they migrate south to their breeding grounds. Those with a sharp eye or a good pair of binoculars can see the whales from the beach or lookouts. However the best way to get closer to the dolphins and whales is to join one of the many cruises on offer. The operators know where to look and the best times to see these fabulous creatures so be sure to go on at least one of these tours during your stay.
When considering accommodation for your holiday you don’t have to limit yourself to the land. You can hire a houseboat or yacht for a night or weeks on end. You may choose to have a paid boat driver or you can take on the challenge yourself. Houseboats in particular are relatively easy to master and you can simply drop anchor and fish or swim straight off the boat.
Whatever activities you choose to do out on the water you can be certain that you will have a wonderful time and go home with beautiful memories of a truly breathtaking region.