Although Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens are destinations in their own right, there is plenty to see and do in the surrounding areas.
- The towns are perfectly positioned between other major tourist destinations such as:
- the sprawling vines of the Hunter Valley
- the incredible diversity of the Myall Lakes National Park
- and the waterways of Port Stephens.
Regular ferry services run between Tea Gardens and Nelson Bay, connecting the towns with wider shopping opportunities and additional services.
For those who want a little adventure on the high seas there’s whale watching, fishing charters, a trip to Broughton Island or dolphin-watching cruises. So whether you live locally or are visiting, take the time to explore the region – there’s plenty to see and do in all directions.
To the North
Perhaps the most recognisable feature to our north is the Myall Lakes National Park. This 47,000 hectare park stretches from Hawks Nest / Tea Gardens, north to Forster (one of our major regional centres) and inland to surround the township of Bulahdelah and even extends east to include Broughton Island.
The Myall Lakes – a coastal lake system inside the national park – remains relatively untouched by human activities. These lakes are listed as a Ramsar Wetlands site, making the area an internationally recognised region.
Inside the national park you will find Seal Rocks, Sugarloaf lighthouse, camp grounds, walking trails and 4WD access to a number of beaches.
Also to the north are the townships of Nerong (just off the highway) and Bulahdelah (where the Pacific Highway bypass will soon skirt around the town).
To the north west are the towns of Stroud and Gloucester. These are lovely towns and are a nice day trip from Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens.
To the South
Across Port Stephens, to our south, is Nelson Bay – just a ferry ride away. Or drive around to the port through farm land – where produce is abundant if you know where to look.
Driving around Port Stephens will take you through Karuah (if you don’t want to stay on the highway), Medowie, and along the southern shores of Port Stephens where you can access places such as Tanilba Bay, Lemon Tree Passage, Soldiers Point and Corlette.
To the East
Broughton Island lies just off our coast and is visible in the distance from Bennett’s Beach. The island is part of the Myall Lakes National Park and offers excellent diving, snorkelling, swimming and boating.
Just off Hawks Nest Beach is Cabbage Tree Island, the only breeding ground for Gould’s petrel.
Fishing charters, whale watching tours and dolpin watching tours are available from a range of businesses in Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest and also Nelson Bay.
To the West
To the west (and a little north) is the Karuah National Park. Although not as famous as the Myall Lakes National Park, it is still a beautiful area and a great spot for bushwalking, camping and just immersing yourself in nature.
Southwest is the famous Hunter Valley (only an hour and a half to the centre of the vineyards). An early morning drive to the wineries will see you well stocked and back in Hawks Nest or Tea Gardens in time for a late lunch or early dinner and a great bottle of red or a chilled white to go with your meal.