Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Diamond Beach, Australia

I came across following phrase in one of the promotions and immediately decided to visit this place.

"The Great Lakes is the region defined by water, how it interacts with space place and community. It is characterised by unique triple lakes system, meandering rivers, vast tracks of forest, 145 Kms of stunning coast line..... This amazing space contains everything you will need to create memories that will last for your life time." To my delight, I found this expression true to it's every word. 

Diamond beach is 3.5 hrs drive north of Sydney. It is north of the central coast, Forester and part of The Great Lakes region. The place is surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty and charm. The Great Lakes boasts three stunning lakes (the magnificent Wallis, Smiths and Myall lakes), not to mention the pristine beaches as well as the second tallest water fall in Australia (Ellenborough Falls). Above all, to my surprise a beautiful sunset point and as a landscape photographer, I long for such locations and to be fair there are not many good sunset points in NSW.

Diamond beach is a great place for quick, immediate and hassle free vacation. No major planning required, pack your bags, drive 3.5 hours and you are there. Resorts and other accommodation are easy to acquire, just one phone call away. Normally you will easily find accommodation, even at the last minute.

So during the Easter break my family and I took off for a visit to this exciting destination. Fortunately the traffic was far better than I expected and we had a smooth ride until we hit Bulahdelah. Here we decided to take the tourist drive ‘The Lakes Way’ (the back road to Forster). To get there we drove on Pacific highway from Bombah Point to Bulahdelah and then turned onto the Lakes Way.

We drove through the winding roads of Myall Lake and found our first destination ‘Seal Rocks’. Seal Rocks is a tiny fishing village on an island surrounded by the National Park. We took a 10-minute walk up to Sugarloaf Light Station for spectacular views of the coast. We also found a path here which lead to a lookout over Seal Rocks, a collection of rocky islets which are home to Australian Fur Seals. Fortunately, I was carrying my binoculars so I was able to make the most of this fantastic view.

We then drove back onto Lakes Way and took another detour along Sugar Creek Road just north of Bungwahl, veering off into the rainforest to wind our way up to Whoota Whoota If you ever take this trip, keep an eye out for breathtaking views over the three lakes and coastal beaches.

I am sure this road holds an abundance of surprises which we missed due to time pressure. In case you are visiting this area, I would strongly recommend taking diversions and detours to explore and enjoy the surrounding beauty.

We stayed at Seashells Beach Resort which is a 3.5 star resort with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained and just 20 meters from beach.  The location of the resort is a bit further away from main town (12kms), making it a very peaceful place indeed. The resort is well equipped with a pool, six tennis courts, table tennis, mini golf course, games room and a large barbeque area. It is also a very convenient place to stay if you are travelling with seniors. We also loved the idea of having the pool just opposite our room as we could keep a watch on kids while they are played. The rooms and accommodation were clean and well kept. The only thing missing from the resort was a good restaurant. For restaurants, shopping or groceries you need to travel 4-5 Kms to Black Head.

The next day we visited Bennett’s Head at the crossing of Bennett’s Heads drive and Marine Drive. This is a beautiful point presenting a 360 degree panoramic view of Forster town and One Mile beach. One Mile beach also boasts Giant Sandhill which is extremely popular for sand sliding and boarding.
One Mile Beach

View from Bennett's Head Lookout

On our way back to Forster we stopped at The Tanks beach which is five minutes drive from Bennett’s Head lookout. The Tanks present an unusual rock formation about 25 meters from the shoreline that creates a picturesque inlet for swimming. The jet-black formation of rocks looked quite striking and watching the waves forcefully pound on the rocks was incredible. This is a beautiful spot to swim and relax. We spent about half a day here swimming with family and friends. 
Tanks Beach

The next morning I decided to wake up a bit earlier to catch the sunrise and my extra efforts resulted in enchanting photographs. Beaches in the morning are so beautiful and you simply cannot miss it especially when you are just 20 meters from it.
Sunrise at Diamond Beach

Lookout for the beautiful morning sky

Old man fishing, Diamond Beach

Kids enjoying the beach

Later that evening we visited Booti Booti National Park Sunset point. We arrived about half an hour early with our picnic basket and drinks. The sunset experience was truly amazing.
Booti Booti National Park, Sunset 

Booti Booti National Park, Sunset 
We spent the rest of the time relaxing, playing golf and enjoying the pool and resort facilities. This was yet another superb holiday and I hope you enjoyed taking the journey with me.