Updated: Oct 7
Hawks Nest is a sleepy little village until Holiday Season when it turns into one of the most popular holiday spots close to Sydney. In Spring, Flannel Flowers are abundant in the bush and on the roadside, as well as many other species of flora. The town has a relaxed atmosphere. There is not much shopping; just enough to keep the locals happy and tourists stocked up when they visit.
The Singing Bridge
The Singing Bridge connects Tea Gardens to Hawks Nest and is named due to the sounds the railings create in strong South/Westerly winds. This bridge is a pleasant stroll across with magnificent views and often a place to capture stunning sunsets over the Myall river. As soon as you exit the bridge from Tea Gardens, or before you cross from Hawks Nest, take care when driving as it is adjacent to a koala reserve.
Jean Shaw Koala Reserve
Note: This Koala was not taken at the Reserve, it was at Billabong Zoo. I am still yet to see a Koala in the wild here, although 30 years ago when I stayed at Hawks Nest, we spotted them walking up the street everywhere.
The Jean Shaw Koala Reserve is located on Kingfisher Avenue (corner of Ibis Avenue), just across the Myall River and just behind the Singing Bridge.
The koalas in the region are listed as endangered due to dogs and road kills. It is possible to spot them in the eucalypts, particularly in Eucalyptus robusta (Swamp Mahogany), at the Koala Reserve, and they also inhabit a strip of land to the west of Mungo Brush Road north of the town. You can't enter in the Jean Shaw Koala Reserve, because it is very dense and also a regeneration area.
The moment I set eyes on Jimmys Beach I knew we were in for a long-term relationship. This tranquil beach is a picture of paradise, with calm waters, water birds and views to Nelson Bay and other towns in Port Stephens. The beach is perfect for swimming for those that do not like waves, like me. There are warnings of strong currents so be careful when swimming.
The beach has a moderately steep beach face and then a shallow seabed, which is usually slightly sloped and covered by seaweed under low water.
Osprey with a fish filmed at Jimmys Beach.
Bennetts Beach is the main beach of Hawks Nest and has a surf life saving club. 4WD vehicles are permitted in parts of the beach, however a permit is essential. Dolphins are often spotted at the beach. The Southern end of Bennetts Beach is suitable for surfing. On this side of the beach, not too far from Mt Yacaaba, there is a track that will take you to the tranquil waters of Jimmys Beach.
Mungo Brush campground not far out of Hawks Nest on the Mid North Coast NSW. It is a wonderful place to take your caravan, campervan, trailer or tent. There are plenty of campsites to choose from, but be warned, in summer, be prepared to battle mosquitoes.
You will also need to book a site through National Parks.
From the campground there is easy access north to Mungo Rainforest trail and south to Tamboi walking track and Mungo walking track. As the campsite is adjacent to the lake, it is perfect for fishing and kayaking. You can cook your freshly caught fish on a BBQ in the campground if you do not have your own.
The mixture of fauna and flora is abundant, and so are Dingoes!
Dingoes can often be seen roaming around Hawks Nest, and visitors are asked please do not feed them. You are not doing these wild dogs any favours by doing so, and in fact, you are promoting a problem. I had a frightening experience with dingoes. I often (foolishly) take off into the bush by myself, and a few days I do so again, down the Mungo Brush Track (the track closer to town, not the camp site). Funnily enough a fleeting thought crossed my mind that I could encounter a dingo, so I picked up a stick. What I should have done was going home and found a walking buddy.
I was about 1km into my hike when I realised Dingo tracks, and they were huge. I decided then and there to turn and go back but then I heard this thumping sound in the bush. I looked up and saw two dingoes hurrying towards me. I was frozen. I had visions of being mauled or even killed by these dogs. I picked up another stick and started hitting them together. I watched the dingoes go into the bush and I worried they were going to corner me. So I did what I should never have done. I ran back as fast as I can, and kept belting the sticks together. By the time I got back to my car it took me over half an hour to get my breath back. This was an important lesson for me and I no longer venture into the bush alone. The next day, when I took a friend up to Dark Point I discovered dingo tracks there too, so be careful around this area. The locals say they don't attack but trust me, I was worried.
Across the singing bridge from Hawks Nest is Tea Gardens. This quaint village offers a range of shopping including boutiques, cakes shops, restaurants, seafood co-op, hairdressers, Coles and much more. Read more about Tea Gardens here.
Hawks Nest Golf Club is a beautiful space adjacent to the beach. The Club offers modern Clubhouse facilities and a magnificent Championship rated 18 hole course of 6079 metres of pleasant walking. The club welcomes all standard of players.
Players can enjoy the tranquility of the natural bush setting with an abundance of wildlife and native flora.
Dark Point Aboriginal Place
Dark Point is spectacular Aboriginal Place in NSW. I have written a separate post on this special place and you can read more here.
If you like a challenging hike with spectacular views, then grab your hiking boots and make your way Yacaaba Headland walking track. The trail leads up and across the northern headland of Port Stephens, in the southern reaches of Myall Lakes National Park. It starts off quite easy for the first 1km. Be prepared for it to get pretty tricky the last 500m but I can assure you it is worth every step!
Start from the Southern end of Bennetts Beach and it is a steep climb. As the track veers North, stop and take in the magnificent views up the coastline. On a clear day, the distant blue ridgeline of Barrington Tops is visible. You will come across birds and stunning Australian flora.
As you reach the top, the track becomes much rockier and steeper. Views are 360, including Cabbage Tree Island, known as John Gould Nature Reserve, which protects the only known breeding colony of one of the world’s rarest birds; the Gould’s petrel.