Tea Gardens - Mungo Brush Run and Lunch

11 April 2018

Myall Lakes National Park Mid North Coast MX-5 Chapter Run.

 Saturday 7 April at the Port Macquarie Service Centre a.k.a ‘The Donut’, found an enthusiastic group assemble for the Mid North Coast Myall Lakes National Park MX-5 car run. Greg, who was run leader with his new MX-5 RFGT, 700 ks only on the speedo, with Suzanne as a navigator, Cathy and Wayne down from Kempsey in their well sorted out NB, Pam and Allan fronted in their new ND, Jenny and Barry came up from Newcastle in their beautiful green MX-5 type Jag, Jill and Peter in from Wauchope with their NB, Judith and John in their NC and Graham in his latest acquisition a Subaru BRZ -MX5. The day was what I would call a typical Mid North Coast beautiful day, I know I could be biased!!, with a clear blue sky scattered high white clouds and a slight breeze all promising to unfold for a great day of driving.

We took the opportunity to inspect and admire the new acquisitions. Wayne very kindly even offered to conduct an independent test drive however his offers were politely refused! Greg did however offer a compromise of static sittings in his RF to feel the Ricardo instead! At the briefing, Graham, Convenor, emphasized that the day was about enjoyment and travelling at one’s own pace especially as the run was going to incorporate the Wootton Way which has become an almost obligatory part of our southern runs! The presence of not 1, or 2 or even 3  but 5 highway patrol cars adjacent to the briefing area helped reinforce the safety message.

Finally, we set off down the Pacific Highway for our first destination morning tea at the Flow Bar in Old Bar. Even though it was the highway and we were all travelling well below the posted speed limit the countryside is quite picturesque and we had time to appreciate the scenery as we drove. Also, we appreciated the white and red blur of a highway patrol car and police motorcycles going north on the highway. We reached the Flow Bar without incident. I wondered why our NC would not raise its roof and after a seemingly endless session of pushing various panels found that the boot had not been fully latched. Greg the previous owner, gave a quick 101 course on raising and lowering the roof, pointing out that unless the boot is fully latched the safety mechanism prevents roof movements. The refreshments at the Flow Bar lived up to their reputation and after a relaxing morning tea we were ready to tackle the infamous ‘Nurbushring’ a.k.a the old Wootton Way to Bulahdelah before rejoining the Pacific Highway. The ‘Nurbushring’ had accumulated considerably more dry leaves on its surface since our last run and coupled with a couple of cars coming the other way reminded us to take care and to enjoy ourselves safely.

We regrouped before turning right onto the Pacific Highway for the next part of the run to Tea Gardens and the Myall Lakes National Park. The highway bypasses Buladelah and certainly cuts down the travel time as it is a posted 110 kph until just before the Tea Gardens turn off. The new highway is certainly faster and safer, however it is really just a set the “cruise control” type driving until the turn off. The road into Tea Gardens and Hawkes Nest highlighted the juxtaposition of scenic countryside punctuated with pockets of new development. This area was a former family holiday destination of one of our former Prime Ministers, John Howard; however, he wasn’t out to see us today!! We followed a road the Myall Lakes National Park through the quintessential coastal forest and dune systems with glimpses of sparkling water until it ended at a punt service. Our original plan was to take the punt and explore further however hunger was calling and we had a luncheon booking at the Boathouse in Tea Gardens. Obligatory photos were taken at the river bank instead, have a look at the excellent photographs on the MX-5 Mid North Coast Facebook page taken by Wayne and Graham of the run.

We retraced our steps along the fairly narrow road to Tea Gardens. Its worth noting that the road has a posted 80 Kph limit and has no centre line marking and in parts is a shared pedestrian and vehicle roadway. The Myall Lakes National Park is a very popular camping area and appears to be well serviced by myriads of camping sites many near the waters edge. The luncheon spot was the Boatshed also called The Cricketers Arms for a reason that escaped most of us. This was a popular eating spot right on the waters edge with Pelicans flying over and alighting on the canvas roof to give us a shadow show. A pleasant and relaxing lunch was had while we watched the procession of many different types of boats motoring along the waters and the nearby wharf.

Saying farewell is always hard after such a pleasant day and the goodbyes sometimes appear to be a marathon event; such is the camaraderie that develops during a good day of driving, eating and sightseeing. The sun had been turned up to full and so we pressed the button, put our roof up, turned the air-con on and had a most relaxing journey back to Port Macquarie. Many thanks to Greg our run.

Scribe John Hansen

Photos Graham Rochester. Convenor Mid North Coast Chapter.

Members that attended the Myall Lakes Run: Graham Rochester Convenor, Peter and Jill Mc Donnell. Greg Cox. Wayne and Cathy Lang. John and Judith Hansen. Barry and Jenny Lutterell. Allen and Pam Martin. 

Guest: Suzanne Wiltshire.