Change. Some love it, others do all they can to avoid it but ultimately, it’s what life is all about. And while travelling through the Great Lakes these past few days, with my young family in tow, I’m constantly reminded of the changing role of the holiday-style parent. Regular rules relax, bed times become very negotiable, meals happen when time can be found in between beach trips and bush walks and the odd holiday “treat” morphs into eating out everyday with ice cream a given at some stage of the day.
Like my current role as tour guide/taxi driver/ mediator/ chef/ sunscreen distributor, the landscapes that make up the Great Lakes region are also amazingly diverse. Ocean, lakes, rivers, forest, bush and townships all seamlessly roll into one another, creating a very special spot on the The Legendary Pacific Coast.
After waking to sun beaming through our cabin’s front door at North Coast Holiday Park Seal Rocks (well, perhaps the hungry baby who had unwrapped himself like Harry Houdini was the first alarm clock) we hit the main beach to breathe in the splendour and revel in the fact that we were the only ones in sight on this golden stretch of sand. Kids have an uncanny knack of going to the beach fully clothed, with full intentions of adhering to parental instructions of “only dipping your toes in” only to head home, hours later, clad in nothing but wet undies after gradually venturing deeper and deeper into the waves. This happened today too, but who could blame them because despite the cooler temps, the waters of Seal Rocks are pretty irresistible.
After beach time, we hit the road and drive an easy 30km, past the lapping waters of the Myall Lakes, through green paddocks and pockets of bushland, then winding our way over a forest covered mountain and there, we magically pop out onto the Pacific Highway, en route to the fairly recently bypassed Bulahdelah. Once the hot spot for petrol but nothing much else, this Great Lakes town has taken on a new, refreshingly relaxed vibe since waving goodbye to the highway traffic. The Myall River meanders past the town, with a new “Free Camping” space almost complete on the south side of the bridge. The kids love watching the ducks and geese drift by, but after they feed them all our bread scraps, we’re in search of lunch ourselves and head to one of the town’s many eateries, Myalla’s Cafe, for simple yet satisfying food.
If, by chance, we were to visit Bulahdelah, my dad placed me under strict instruction to visit the Barry Bros Butchery, famous for their nationally award winning sausages and when we do, we’re impressed with the quality and range of meats on offer. Owner Wayne Barry says the shop has been in the family since 1901, so its hardly surprising that these guys know how to make a great snag. This, just another hidden gem that The Great Lakes has thrown our way, add in a visit to the delightful town playground to appease the kids and our opinion of the river-side Bulahdelah has changed for good. We will be back, next time perhaps for a house boat holiday on the lovely Myall.
But for now, its back to the beach and our home away from home at North Coast Holiday Park Seal Rocks. A glass of wine in hand, my husband and I watch the kids play on the grassy headland with the waves crashing in the background. Dolphins appear as if on queue. Pinch! Nope, not a dream, just another day in the ever-changing Great Lakes.