How many times have you travelled up and down the highway from Sydney to Brisbane and, all the towns in between, wishing you could find a really beautiful place to stop and have a break? Well I'm going to let you into a secret about a hidden gem in a place called Coopernook, just 9 minutes North of Taree and 45 minutes to Port Macquarie. I am referring to the Cattai Wetlands and this is a beautiful part of NSW that is bird watcher's and photographer's dream. The photo below is the viewing deck for bird watching so bring those binoculars and cameras with zoom lens.
To be honest, I was a little underprepared for my visit. It was a wet day, still rather humid for this time of year, and even though I had insect repellent ready to defend myself against an attack of the dreaded mozzie, I didn't think that wearing sneakers might get my feet wet. Duh Deb! It's a wetlands and it is raining what do you expect? Yep wet feet!
As I dredged through the mud, fighting off the mosquitoes and carrying my camera and umbrella I did wonder if I was indeed quite mad continuing with this walk. If you can picture a middle-aged woman all alone with a can of insect repellant in her pocket to quickly pull out to help herself whilst under Mozzie attack, and cursing for not wearing sensible shoes - well that's me! Was it worth it? Oh yes!
Here is one of the reasons it was worth the defence against the Mozzies! I walked up to the lookout and was met with one of the most spectacular views. There is information at this lookout regarding indigenous Australians of this area plus notes on fauna and flora.
Cattai Wetlands is just North of Taree past the Harrington Turn on Spring Road. This scenic part of the NSW Mid North Coast provides a sanctuary for over 180 species of birds, kangaroos, wallabies and reptiles.
Once I walked down from the lookout I discovered something else! A fantastic boardwalk to explore more beautiful scenery and an amazing picnic area, with gorgeous rustic tables under shelter. So now you see why this is a good rest stop! You can take a scenic walk and if you are prepared, have a bite to eat.
Toilets are situated near the carpark and the good news is that Mid North Coast Council do not charge any fees to visit this amazing place.
If you have the time there is also a 800m forest walk both uphill and down that brings you right in the heart of nature.
Cattai Wetlands is an awesome place to visit and I'm surprised to learn how many locals have not even heard of it. Well you have now!