EcoPoint Myall Shores Resort, Myall Lake review: Calming influence

Read our writer's views on this property below

Jacqui Taffel chooses a 'luxury' waterfront lodging surrounded by happy campers.

You don't have to arrive at EcoPoint Myall Shores Resort by ferry - you can come by road (partly dirt) via Bulahdelah. But making the two-minute boat crossing over Myall Lake to Bombah Point after driving along the coastal road from Tea Gardens makes it feel more like a holiday; that you're cutting the ties with civilisation.

Not that there's anything uncivilised about this place. We check in at reception (which also has a small shop for basic groceries), get our lakefront villa smartcard key and a code for the boom gate.

The rest of our group who have come for the weekend have pitched tents at the resort's campsite. I'd like to be the kind of person who is keen to share a tent with an 18-month-old but I'm not, so I'm staying in a self-contained villa near the happy campers.

OK, it's a little ambitious to call it a villa but it's certainly a cut above the usual campsite cabin. Two friends who have come to share it with me are impressed by its compact, architect-designed comfort. It's simple but stylish, with polished floorboards in the living area and carpet in the two bedrooms, both with generous en suite bathrooms. When you look back at the cabins from the lake, they blend in well with the trees.

The kitchen benches, sink, stove, cupboards, fridge and microwave take up one wall of the living area. A television and DVD player are stashed neatly above the microwave, a couch sits against the opposite wall and dining table and chairs are in the middle. Another table with chairs is outside on the small deck and we are a few paces away from the lake, screened by melaleucas. It's a lovely spot.

Most exciting for the toddler is the sight of not one, not two, but three of his favourite things: ceiling fans. We spend some time turning them on and off; there's an air-conditioner, too. We are happy to be staying here and not in a tent, though the campground is pleasant, also right on the lake with hot showers and toilets. Still, it's not an en suite bathroom.

The lake, a mix of fresh and saltwater and part of Myall Lakes National Park, is the colour of weak tea. It's warm and shallow with a sandy bottom and my son loves it. He'd spend his whole day in it if he could.

One of my friends declares she's not really into swimming in lakes. There's a surf beach near Mungo Brush if you take the ferry back across the water, but we don't venture far.

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We don't even make it back to reception for supplies or to the on-site restaurant, Leggey's, named after the resort's founder, Harry Legge. After walking from Tuggerah to this spot in the bush, he bought 16 hectares and later built a guest house, Legge's Camp. It opened in 1927 and accommodated 70 guests, who came to hunt and fish. Legge died in 1963 - nearly 10 years later, in 1972, Myall Lakes National Park was declared, including his property.

The EcoPoint company took over management of the resort in 2003. Its website describes it as an eco-sensitive hospitality business that aims to "minimise environmental impacts, lower energy consumption and greenhouse emissions". This includes using rainwater tanks, bore water to flush the toilets and water-saving showerheads, though I'm not sure how the air-conditioner or small bottles of toiletries in the bathroom fit in. It's a small quibble.

The highly organised campers have brought kayaks, bikes, inflatable dinghies, even a small sailing boat. It's a weekend spent on and in the water, a safe spot for our group's gang of children, aged from one to 13, and not a Wii game in sight.

For the cabin dwellers, it's the perfect lazy weekend. We sit and chat, eat in our villa or at the campsite, swim and soak up the serenity. The lake is lovely in the early morning, when the water is still, before the breeze picks up. At dusk, black swans congregate to feed, making their strange creaking-gate calls. Sticking their feathered rumps into the air as they scrabble for food on the lake bottom, they look like black tree stumps. The resort has free guided walks exploring the local birdlife. Next time.

Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.

VISITORS' BOOK

EcoPoint Myall Shores Resort

Address Myall Lakes National Park, Bombah Point.

The verdict A relaxed place to get away from it all.

Price Plenty of choice, including lakefront spa villas for $375 a night; lakefront villas for $270 a night; lakefront standard for $160 a night; bunk room for $55 a night; and campsites for $45 a night (prices vary according to the season).

Bookings Phone 4997 4495 or see myallshores.com.au.

Getting there About a 3½-hour drive north of Sydney.

Wheelchair access One villa has wheelchair access but no special bathroom facilities.

While you're there Take a free birdwatching tour, run by the resort. Hire a kayak, a bike, or both. Surf at Bennetts Beach, Hawks Nest. Take a fishing charter from Hawks Nest or Tea Gardens. Take a walk in Myall Lakes National Park. Play golf at Hawks Nest.