As a local put it to me while we stayed there, Mungo Brush is the crown jewel of the Myall Lakes NP. This is the perfect place to bring your young family and enjoy a few magic days on the edge of the water. It has the calm waters of Myall Lakes as well as the open surf just a short 200 metre walk away.
Mungo Brush is 705 Km’s south of Brisbane if you turn left at Buladelah. This route has a small ferry ride across Boombah Point which runs every 30 minutes. Alternatively you can drive in via Tea Gardens which adds another 30 Km’s to the trip. From Sydney, it’s an easy 240 Km drive via Tea Gardens. The main roads in and around the national park are paved so easily accessed in a Falcon. You won’t be able to access a few of the side tracks but it’s not critical to enjoy your stay here.
When we arrived at Mungo Brush mid afternoon, we found a campsite right on the edge of the grassed day use area over looking the lake. It looked to good to be true. It was December and before I had the tent out of the car the kids were in the shallow tea leaf water running around and having a ball. They were only four and two at the time but with it being so shallow it was easy to look after them while we set up camp.
Soon we had the tent up and I was enjoying a rum under the shade of the trees right beside the water. While sitting around there is plenty of wildlife around with Kookaburra’s, Ducks, Goanna’s, Black Swans and even the odd Dingo passing through the camp at different times of the day. All were friendly and make the stay more enjoyable. Pack some extra bread for the ducks!
We were on a four week trip when we stayed here and seriously thought about extending our stay because we were having so much fun. One of the best things here is that you’re sheltered from the wind. During our stay, the sun was out but the wind was blowing a good 20 – 25 knots from the south east. With the dunes of the beach being steep and the thick trees on the top, you have no idea that it’s blowing a gale on the surf side of the dunes until you try to go and have a fish. This protection allowed us to enjoy the lake from early morning to well into the afternoon.
At the end of the first day here, around 17:00 o’clock, a number of people started to arrive in cars. They weren’t setting up tents, but pulling out chairs and just sitting around. Then I saw large gas bottles, burners and pots coming out. I was getting excited but also confused. It was starting to get dark. Then the nets came out and I couldn’t resist any more. I wandered over to ask what they were doing only to be told that the prawns were on! You Beauty!
But I didn’t have a net. No problem! They were one man down and needed someone else to walk with them with the promise of splitting the catch. So I popped a set of rock shoes on (apparently their is a fish that you can step on) and we waded out into water that was chest deep and started walking. What time do you head out – everyone agreed that you don’t enter the water until the Kookaburra’s laugh (about 30 minutes after sunset).
It’s important to note that in NSW it’s illegal to use a cast net, and you must use a funnel net. It’s the opposite in Qld (go figure). It’s also important to note that it’s illegal to have a cast net near or around water in NSW (this includes having it packed in your car)
The guys that I went out with had a slight modification to their funnel net. To help keep the bottom of the net on the ground, they attached poles to the vertical edge and tied the bottom corner of the net to it. Then they tucked the pole under their arm while walking so the net stayed on the bottom. It was comfortable and worked well. When we walked up onto the beach we poured the prawns straight out of the net into a bucket and then large pot of boiling water. A couple of minutes later it was prawn time! You wanna know the best part – this happened every afternoon we were there. How often do you get free prawns everynight. If I was camping here again I would defintely bring a net.
For those of us that live on the east coast, it also provides a unique opportunity to see the sun set over the water. While this is enjoyable, the light reflecting off the surface makes it a great place to capture photos. It means standing out in the water and looking back towards the campsite but the paperbarks and the trees in the background make it a perfect setting.
The lake is a popular water skiing, boating and kayaking destination also. In fact there is the remnants of the bar within Mungo Brush when they used to hold water skiing competitions. Within in the Mungo Brush campsite, there is a good, single access boat ramp if you want to take the tinny along. We didn’t own a kayak at the time but it would be the perfect place to bring them with the kids. Depending on where you’re camped it’s a short 20 metre walk to the edge of the lake.
One drawback of camping at Mungo Brush is that you’re not allowed to have fires. While I can understand that they want to protect it because it is so great, it’s unfortunate they haven’t created a communal area to at least enable people to get together and enjoy.
Facilities at Mungo Brush are good pit toilets within a well ventilated shed. The toilets looked quite new when we were there and are certainly wife approved! 🙂 Town water was also available in the park which made it easy to have a shower and wash the dishes without having to conserve a lot of water.
In NSW national parks, you can stay for a maximum of 28 days. Because Mungo Brush is so popular with the locals, on school holidays and Christmas / New Year, you’ll find them leaving their caravans in camping spots in order to reserve them. They’ll turn up so their last day of their stay is on day 28. Given camping here works on a first come, first served basis, this means campers that arrive before to camp most likely won’t get a nice spot near the water. Alternatively, you’ll have to accept camping down the back of the camping area or at another campsite within Myall Lakes NP.
Permits and Fees
There are fees for camping in the Myall Lakes NP. For vehicles you’ll need a vehicle permit and overnight fees apply. You can’t buy the vehicle permit within Myall Lakes NP so you’ll need to arrange one before you arrive. You can pay for your campsite via the honesty box within the park so make sure you bring cash to pay for your permits although while we were there it had been vandalised. For details on costs follow this link.
Overall, Myall Lakes is a great area to camp and you can easily spend 4-6 days here. I would especially recommend it to young families looking for a beach side holiday. The shallow tea stained water makes for great all day fun in the water. I would highly recommend this destination.