There are few more pleasant areas in Australia than around Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest, just an hour's drive north of Newcastle and even closer to the glistening sands and surf of Port Stephens.
Toss in the uniquely beautiful Myall Lakes system just a few kilometres north and you tend to forget that Tea Gardens presided over a failed tea growing venture by the Australian Agricultural Company in the 1850s.
Modern Tea Gardens and its sister town of Hawks Nest - joined by the Singing Bridge across the Myall River (so named because of the resonance it gives off during strong winds) - have ridden to fame on the succulence of the local prawns and a resident flock of ravenous pelicans.
The revered crustacean is celebrated through the Myall Prawn Festival held at Tea Gardens-Hawks Nest in March each year. Its accompanying World Prawn Eating Championship has produced a record of 1kg of prawns being scoffed in five minutes.
Photo courtesy Tourism New South Wales