Location: South Coast, New South Wales
Distance: 700km (roundtrip)
Eurobodalla means ‘land of many waters’ in local Indigenous parlance, but that’s something of an understatement. This unspoilt region unfurls a richly-textured mosaic of more than 83 beaches and multitudes of inlets, lakes and rivers swirling amongst forests, glowing green farmland and charming historic settlements.
Even in holiday season it’s easy to find a patch of paradise that’s all yours.
- A seemingly endless succession of empty beaches, calm inlets and waterbird-embellished lakes.
- Low-slung heritage settlements such as Moruya and Central Tilba with vibrant arts scenes.
- Dog-friendly beaches and calm coves between Sunshine Bay and Broulee.
- Rewarding wilderness walks such as the Bingie Dreaming trail.
- Sensational snorkelling from shore, and seals on Montague Island.
Day 1 - Goulburn
The most visually gratifying, relaxing way to reach the regional gateway of Batemans Bay from Sydney is the inland highway route via Goulburn.
The glory days of gold and agriculture booms linger in Goulburn’s heritage facades, and having driven nearly 200 kilometres you’ll certainly appreciate the cafes and a leg-stretch.
Poplars edge the road and the sheep paddocks are sprinkled with granite as you drive the 85 kilometres towards historic Braidwood. From here, it’s a 60-kilometre swoop to the coast through dense, fragrant forests.
Day 2 - Broulee
Sheltered coves and flamboyant rock formations typify the beaches between Sunshine Bay and Broulee (22 kilometres). Pick a beach, put your head underwater and get set to oggle blue gropers. With the formation of the Batemans Marine Park, the snorkelling just keeps getting better.
Pretty Point Bay, Guerilla Bay and North Rosedale feel particularly tucked away. After a swim, snorkel, kayak or stand-up paddle board, walking along these pebbly beaches is akin to visiting a vast sculpture gallery. Many of the headlands feature walkways, with Mossy Point offering exceptional views.
Surfing and snorkelling fans will be sated at Broulee, a retro-vibe beach village with gelato-coloured shacks and a bike track. If the water gets choppy, make for Mogo Zoo, which specialises in endangered species. There’s also bike and kayak hire, horse riding and heaps of other activities for kids in this area.
If you’re near historic Moruya on a Saturday, be sure to browse the riverside market.
Day 3 - Narooma
The sky gets bigger and scenes become wilder as you drive the 42 kilometres from Moruya to Narooma.
Numerous detours reveal untrammelled treats. Congo (11 kilometres from Moruya) has a large, child-friendly inlet and a walking trail through cycads and spotted gums. Bingie Road (five kilometres from the highway) leads to lichen-coated boulders of Bingie Bingie and Mullimburra Point: five calm wilderness beaches shared with kangeroos.
Splendid lake views and beaches fringed with Norfolk Island pines await at Tuross Head, and if you’re after solitude, the sea mist-shrouded beaches of Potato Point will hit the spot.
In the cheese-heritage village of Bodalla, gothic All Saints Church hosts frequent music concerts. If time allows, loop through the web of alluring country roads west of the Princess Highway to gold-rush relics such as Nerrigundah.
Nudging laid-back Narooma, Wagonga inlet startles the eyes. The boardwalk on the northern shore is a fabulous perch for a picnic, swim with stingrays or a sublime sunset.
Day 4 - Tilba Tilba
Tours to Montague Island – which include the lighthouse, penguin colony and swims with playful seals – depart daily from Narooma’s glassy harbour and shouldn’t be missed. At Mystery Bay and nearby Billy's Beach – another great place to snorkel – the rocks look molten.
Keep driving for seven kilometres through country straight out of a cheese commercial (the Sunnyside Road route takes in the loveliest views) and you’ll reach National Trust-listed Tilba Tilba and Central Tilba. These storybook villages feature artisan galleries, antiques, cafes with big sofas and the timber Dromedary Hotel, known for its fireplace, convivial atmosphere and live music.
Fancy a secluded beach reached by driving through paddocks? Sherrington Lane, opposite the Tilba Tilba turnoff, will take you there.
Day 5 - Glass House Rocks
Start the day with an invigorating walk amongst the primeval Glass House Rocks. Before heading off, grab a bite at the boatsheds at Forsters Bay on Wagonga inlet.
If you’re returning to Sydney, follow the coast to Oak Flats then climb up to the Southern Highlands to take in genteel, English-style scenery. Melbourne-bound travellers meanwhile are in for a riveting coastal drive.
Words and photographs: Melissa Rimac