Great Lakes, NSW: Destination Guide

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Think a place that combines peaceful lakeside camping, subtropical rainforests and awesome surf breaks doesn’t exist? Then you haven’t visited the Great Lakes region!

Read on to discover the best things to see and do at the Great Lakes, or find and book accommodation in the Great Lakes today.

About the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region is a hidden gem of a destination - located a stone’s throw from NSW’s Pacific Highway - yet seemingly invisible to the hordes of holiday-makers that often migrate up and down the coast. The area is a water wonderland, dotted with crystal-clear, tranquil lakes, and set by the endless beaches of the mid-north coastline. It’s also home to a plethora of national parks, including Myall Lakes NP, Wallingat NP and Booti Booti NP, all of which have a diverse ecology that comprises lush palms and ferns through to towering gum trees. Camping spots are scattered throughout and cater for all types of travellers, making the Great Lakes a truly accessible location.

Things to do at the Great Lakes

The beauty of the Great Lakes is that you can set your own pace when it comes to how much (or how little) you want to do. For adrenaline junkies, the Great Lakes should keep you highly entertained. The rugged coastline, and particularly, the stunning Seal Rocks stretch, is an infamous spot for catching some epic waves, or you might want to drop your tyre pressure and hit the beach for some 4WDing.

If it’s R&R you’re in search of, take to the calm waters of any of the lakes for some fishing, kayaking or SUP. There are also plenty of walking and bike riding tracks through the national parks to tackle, that lead to a myriad of stunning lookouts and secluded beaches. Keep your eyes peeled as well  - the pristine national parks are a safe haven for animals, so don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of goannas, wallabies, dolphins or water birds.


Neranie Headland Walking Track

One of the more popular bushwalking tracks in the Great Lakes area – and for good reason – is the Neranie Headland Walking Track. Beginning near the eastern side of Myall Lakes NP, the relatively easy walking track travels through peaceful waterways and wetlands (teeming with wildlife), past the historic Neranie timber mill and by the old cemetery. You’ll also be rewarded with incredible views at every turn, and a quaint picnic area at the very end, perfect for a rest and refuel.

Whoota Whoota Lookout

For one of the best scenic lookouts in the country, and a view you’ll never forget, head to the Whoota Whoota Lookout. Located in the heart of the Wallingat NP, the lookout offers a breathtaking 360° panorama across Wallis Lake and Wallingat River, the iconic eucalyptus forests and the wild mid-north coastline. And the best bit? It’s accessible by car, so you won’t need to hike for a few hours to be able to appreciate the sublime beauty that’s waiting for you.

Seal Rocks

The charming coastal town of Seal Rocks is a must-visit when in the Great Lakes region. A renowned surfing spot, there are also sheltered beach areas perfect for families after a quick dip, and for those just learning how to surf. You can also take a look at the active Seal Rocks Lighthouse, or Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse as it is also known, which is the second-most easterly lighthouse in Australia. It’s also home to a number of 4WD-friendly beaches.

Getting to the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region is located on the mid-north coast of NSW, and stretches from Forster in the north, Seal Rocks to the south and inland to Stroud.

By car

Approximately 300km from Sydney, the journey to the Great Lakes district takes roughly 3 hours along the Pacific Highway.

When to visit the Great Lakes

Ideally, the Great Lakes are best enjoyed during the summer months. Long days and warm nights are the perfect conditions to enjoy many of the water-based activities, and make for idyllic camping conditions. It does tend to get busier during this time though, so if you don’t mind the cooler weather, there is still plenty to do and see in the Great Lakes region all year round.

Where to stay in the Great Lakes

For accommodation options in and around the Great Lakes, click here.