Myall Lakes National Park
It has been a pretty “blah” couple of weeks at work and I was feeling like I was losing my mojo, so I decided I would take a Friday off and head up to the Myall Lakes for a couple of days of paddling. I was craving the solitude of the outdoors and this was going to be the cure.
The Myall Lakes National Park is about 200km North of Sydney. I have been there a number of times, but I have never done an overnight paddle there before. The plan was to paddle from the Mungo Brush Campground to the Shelly Beach Campground to the East. The distance was 20km there and 20km back.
It was the first time I have paddled on flat water (i.e. on a lake) with all the gear in the boat. I was very interested to see what sort of speed I was going to be able to maintain, especially since this was the biggest paddle I had done since injuring my elbow. I managed to average around 7kmh, however the final 6km on the first day was into a strong headwind, so I slowed down to 5kmh and it was tough going.
The paddle was very peaceful. There was a lot of bird life on the lake, including a lot of black swans, pelicans, cormorants and lots of musk ducks. Musk ducks (see image below that I pinched from the internet) look really strange from a distance, as the swim really low in the water and look like they have round heads. They actually look like otters that swim around in Canada.
Photo Credit: Denis Hawkins https://www.denishawkins.photography/
The campsite at Shelly Beach was amazing. It is only accessible via the water or a long hike in. Being that it was a Friday night, there was nobody else staying there, so it was great to have the solitude, swim in the warm water and enjoy the most amazing sunset.
I got up at sunrise on Saturday morning and was greeted by the most glassy lake you could ask for. So I ate a quick breakfast and packed up, wanting to take advantage of the perfect paddling conditions. I was able to enjoy the peace and quiet for an hour or so, and then the roar of the water-skiing boats and jet skis could be heard. The Myall Lakes are a popular spot for water-skiing and the other campsites were all filled with campervans and boat trailers.
Anyway, I have put together a short video of the trip and also included heaps of photos below. I highly recommend this paddle.