Having partied in the New Year with some of my favourite humans, I wake on New Year’s Day and think about how best to start the New Year. One of my new years’ resolutions is to be more spontaneous and live in the moment, so over breakfast I decide what better way to kick off 2019 than a spontaneous adventure!
What started as “we should go kayaking sometime” has now turned into:
- A campsite booking at Mungo Brush campground,
- A printed map of Myall Lakes National Park, and
- A Subaru Forester full of camp gear complete with kayak on the roof.
We set off up the coast alternating between driving, choosing the tunes and vaguely making plans for once we get there. The first idea was a “challenging bushwalk” from the brochure, but at 31°C outside that might not be the best idea. Thankfully we decide against it, as the temperature gradually climbs to 36°C as we leave the highway at Tea Gardens.
Thankfully on the coast there was a lovely sea breeze, but the heat was still intense whenever you stepped out of the shade. After quickly setting up camp in our allotted site, our attention was drawn to the water. Here at Mungo Brush campground you are given the best of both worlds, camping on the freshwater lake but with the beach only a 200m walk away. The serenity of the shallow lake was calling us, after all this was supposed to be a somewhat relaxed adventure- no plans, no deadlines, and nowhere to be but here.
As those of you who have been following my adventures closely may know, I’m not all that good at relaxing. In general the concept of sitting still and doing nothing sounds like the PROBLEM to me, of which an adventure is the SOLUTION. However on this occasion, I am genuinely enjoying relaxing in the water on a hot day, just chilling with a cold cider or two, and listening to some tunes which I thankfully remembered to save offline before losing cell reception. For all the adventures which will ensue over the next 24 hours, this moment of relaxation is worth remembering.
Once we are suitably cooled off, it’s time to get that kayak in the water! As lovely as that cool breeze is, we quickly realise that if we stop paddling we begin to drift fairly quickly. Most of the lake is not much more than 3m deep, but we find a sandbar which is more like 1m deep. Thankfully that means we can take a break from paddling by standing in the water, just about the only way to stop us drifting back towards shore. We paddle a bit further out to a green marking post which I recall chilling at last time I was here, only this time the swell is so large from the wind that bumping the pole nearly flips us and we decide maybe best to not try to hold on.
By this point it’s time for fivesies, so we open the hummus and carrots that were prepared earlier. One snack time later and we’ve drifted all the way back to shore, but not at all near where we started. As we nearly drift into the reeds at the southern end of the campsite, it’s time to make a bee-line for the boat ramp, which is of course against the wind. Never skip arm day.
With the kayak safely back on dry…Forester, the adventure continues to the Rainforest walk at the north of the campground. This short loop starts following along the lake shore and circumnavigates Mungo Brush hill through the oddly tropical section of scrub. Naturally we find a great view of the lake and find a Dave in his natural habitat, climbing all the things.
Back at camp it’s time to cook dinner and relax briefly before we take a short 400m walk across the road to the beach. The water is freezing but watching the sunset with a glass of wine is a great way to end the busy day!
The next morning is a sweltering 29 degrees at 8am with the day just ramping up from there. Once camp is packed down, back to the shady spot in the water to relax and soak up the beauty of Myall Lakes one more time.
The final part of our adventure was on 4WDing on the beach via the Lemon Tree beach access track. Subies love sand, so after a quick letting down of the tyres we were good to go. The stretch of beach you are allowed to drive on here is from north of the access track up to the Little Gibber headland, where we see a line of cars parked making use of the flat and sheltered section of beach next to the headland. Having stopped a little further down the beach we have a great but windy picnic lunch before heading back to the access track and making our way home… or so we thought.
We get to just about the end of the access track, where there is a car park to stop and let your tyres down or leave the 2WDs, but someone has managed to get themselves bogged in the soft sand coming in and we are car #3 out of at least six waiting to get off the beach. Thankfully I’ve got my maxtrax in the boot, so I do the usual thing where I go and help. Partially because I’m such a selfless person, but I guess also because they are in my way! Besides, I’m happy to take all the practice I can get at recovering vehicles when it’s not my vehicle that I have to worry about!
Unfortunately the maxtrax aren’t quite enough to get them out this time, despite at least three others helping dig the tyres out. As well as their tyres not being let down enough, it seems they spun the wheels for far too long before I got there as the tyres were buried up to the axle and the car was sitting on the sand. With one wheel spinning and no diff lockers what we really needed to do was pull them out but all the vehicles were on the wrong side of them! Thankfully someone else tried to get on the beach, so they were on the correct side for us to use a snatch strap and pull the Hi-Lux backwards.
With them out of the way and us off the beach, we pump the tyres back to road pressure and head for the highway home. It’s been a fun two days Myall Lakes, you will definitely see us… and the Forester… and the kayak… back here again soon!