Down by the riverside

If you’re after a weekend getaway or a longer linger, the relaxed riverside town of Bulahdelah is the hidden gem you’ve been looking for.

Located halfway between Newcastle and Taree, it’s reached by an easy scenic drive on the Pacific Highway. The name Bulahdelah comes from the Worrimi words Boolah Dillah – a reference to the mountain overlooking the town – meaning ‘the Great Rock’. Whether you’re a nature lover, water baby, bushwalker or if you prefer to settle down and relax with a good book, the town offers the best of all worlds, for all ages: it’s a gateway to green forests, majestic mountains, pristine beaches and stunning waterways.

Situated on the Myall River and on the edge of the Myall Lakes National Park, take your pick of activities in this water wonderland. Bring your canoe, kayak or boat and set about seeing the world from the river or lake. Aquatic and bird wildlife is abundant and chances are you’ll soon be spotting cockatoos, egrets and maybe even a kingfisher. If you’re a keen angler, be sure to throw in the fishing rod and cast a line, and definitely pack your swimmers – there are over 40-kilometres of beaches for swimming and surfing, including family favourite Blueys Beach or the quaint fishing village of Seal Rocks with its picturesque Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. For the more adventurous, there are perfect conditions for water skiing.

For those who prefer exploring on foot, the Bulahdelah region is host to some truly spectacular bushwalks and must see nature spots. If you’re up for a challenge, then the town’s namesake mountain is the best place to begin. Bulahdelah Mountain, also known as Alum Mountain from its earlier mining days, is the highlight of Bulahdelah State Forest. The return walk to the lookout takes around an hour and offers stunning views over the region. Keep an eye out for indigenous tree carvings along the way, as well as one of the more than 80 varieties of orchids that call the forest home.

Put aside some time to spend with giants and marvel at The Grandis, the tallest known tree in NSW. Standing at around 80 metres high, just north of the town, this flooded gum tree is a sight to behold. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the sights and sounds of the lush rainforest landscape.

Those interested in the history of the area should head to Wang Wauk State Forest and hike the Wootton Historical Railway Walk. Running for six kilometres, it will let you step back in time and follow the path of the old logging vehicles from the turn of the 1900s.

Through the trees and forest, past waterfalls and creeks, run the railways and bridges that reveal a snapshot of a time gone by. Keep the history lesson going with a visit to Bulahdelah’s most historic building – the heritage-listed courthouse. This fascinating museum is open on Saturdays and will bring to life the town’s colourful past and give you an insight into how it became the place it is today.

After a full day of fun and adventure, you’ll be wanting to stay somewhere relaxing and comfortable. A great base for your visit is the BIG 4 River Myall Holiday Resort. Newly opened and perfectly positioned on the banks of the Myall River, the resort offers a variety of accommodation options to suit groups of all sizes and comfort levels. Set on over 50 acres, enjoy the convenience of little luxuries, while giving yourself a chance to breathe, unwind and find sanctuary in the natural surrounds.

Accommodation ranges from the simple to the more indulgent, with deluxe villas and spacious campsites. Add on the convenience of five star amenities such as a pool, games room, fully-appointed camp kitchen and laundry, you won’t be missing any of the comforts of home. Being a pet friendly holiday park, your furry friends are invited too.

If you’re venturing into the town itself, there are plenty of dining options to satisfy a big appetite after a day exploring. Try one of the great cafés on the main street: Detours Café is known for its classic cooking and delicious family favourites like fish and chips; stop off at Café on Main for homemade cakes and slices and the freshest sandwiches; and the cute Myalla Magic Café serves up big breakfasts and lunches. Enjoy a great pub meal overlooking the river at the Plough Inn and don’t forget to stop off at the bakery before you go for one of their legendary pies.

You’ll find a full range of services, medical and retail options to provide all the necessities to make your break a real getaway. From adventures and thrills, to discovery and wonder, time spent in Bulahdelah is bound to be rejuvenating and unforgettable.

Story by Judith Whitfield, photography courtesy of Destination Barrington Coast and River Myall Holiday Resort

Read more in the Winter issue of Hunter&Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.