It’s January, and therefore customary that Canberrans migrate east to the NSW South Coast. This is a guide for the uninitiated, or those looking for something new, and covers a few spots up and down the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Sapphire Coasts.
Jervis Bay is a series of small holiday townships of Huskisson, Vincentia, Hyams Beach, and Callala Bay, the Booderee National Park, and beautiful beaches all located on the shoreline of this spectacular bay.
Known for its remarkable white sands and glorious waters, head inland and you’ll just find more to be in awe of. There is eucalypt forest, woodland, swamps, dunes, mangroves, rainforest, scrub, grassland and heathlands, all of which can be explored via bushwalks, drives or bike rides.
Camping options inside Booderee National Park, such as Green Patch and Bristol Point, are very popular with Canberrans and Sydneysiders alike, and require booking in advance over peak season.
Ulladulla and its broader region (which for the purposes of this article includes Mollymook and Milton) caters to just about everyone. Food highlights include one of the NSW South Coast’s finest in the form of Rick Stein’s at Bannisters and the vegetarian and vegan friendly Pilgrims at Milton. The region features lookouts, beaches and walks aplenty. You’d be hard pressed running out of things to do around here.
Comprising the three tiny townships of Durras North, Durras Lake and Durras South, they’re all set in the heart of the lush Murramarang National Park and just a 15-20 minute drive north of Batemans Bay. It’s perfect for those seeking seclusion and spectacular sandy beaches. Camping at the neighbouring Depot Beach and Pebbly Beach offers more of the same.
Merimbula is a charming seaside holiday town offering a range of water-based activities including fishing, swimming, surfing, boating, lake cruises, scuba diving, sailboarding and canoeing. Merimbula is also ideal for exploring Bournda National Park, driving to Tathra, bushwalking, kayaking and bike riding.
Located about 30km south of Bega and 26km north of Eden, it’s a bit further south than the other options here, but the drive down via the Snowy Mountains Highway is a winner, and a nice change of pace from the Clyde.
Stop, look, and plan
That’s the message from Surf Lifesavers this year, who are encouraging swimmers of all ages and abilities to draw a line on the sand and to pause, look for hazards, and assess the dangers before entering the ocean.
Rip currents are an ever present danger on NSW beaches responsible for a significant number of rescues performed by surf lifesavers, while alarmingly, research shows that while beachgoers express confidence in their ability to recognise a rip, in reality less than half actually can.
It is believed that nearly 4 million Australians have experienced the terror of being caught in a rip current with the majority of those involved in a fatal incident are males aged 25-39.
To ensure the safety of yourself and your loves ones when you’re at the beach this summer, have a plan and swim at a patrolled location and between those red and yellow flags. Another resource available to swimmers is the Surf Lifesaving (SLS) Beachsafe website and app, which provides beachgoers with the latest information about every Australian Beach. Go to beachsafe.org.au or download the Beachsafe to your mobile; available on both Apple and Android devices.