Secrets of the South Coast
21 March 2012
And that's just what's lying around for anybody to enjoy at the drop of a hat. Explore a little deeper, and secret spots abound that can take your breath away.
Here, we have a collection of just some of those treasures, whose sparkle is usually only enjoyed by the wind and the sky. One of our very own photographers, Tommy Salmon, has spent the last five years exploring the South Coast of NSW to uncover magical places never before shared with the public.
His photos embody the beauty of our land that we love so much. After seeing them in these pages, I challenge you to discover the locations for yourself! Tommy won't reveal where he took his shots, but I can tell you that as wild and raw as they are, they may only be kilometres, or even metres, from the throngs of civilisation. It's almost as if Tommy has discovered a parallel universe, hidden right under our noses.
So, where to start? I can at least reveal some great places to stay on your treasure hunt, places that won't let you leave empty-handed.
WOLLONGONG AND SOUTH
Tommy grew up in Kiama, so I reckon it's a safe bet a few of his secret photos came from around the south of Wollongong. Wollongong itself has some very pleasant caravan parks to stay at that run right alongside the beach, and you can watch the escarpment that cuddles the 'Gong light up as the sun's rays crest the waves. The 'Gong's beaches are long, white and empty – perfect.
Kiama, to the south, is a beautiful town with architecture that resonates with 'old money' from its glory days as a dairy powerhouse and from its basalt quarries.
Surf Beach Holiday Park is in a fantastic spot right on the cliff tops, and affords panoramic views of the coastline (larger rigs will find it a squeeze, though). Easts Beach Holiday Park is also a lovely park set alongside the river and close to the beach. Continuing south, there are the towns of Gerringong and Berry, both gorgeous and with plenty of shops and eateries to enjoy. The countryside is postcard perfect, complete with rolling hills, ocean backdrops and views of the beautiful Cambewarra range.
Here are some suggestions for places to stay in this part of the world:
Surf Beach Holiday Park
Bourroul Street, Kiama NSW 2533
Ph: (02) 4232 1791 or 1800 222 334
Fax: (02) 4232 4295
Easts Beach Holiday Park
PO Box 10 (Ocean St), Kiama NSW 2533
Ph: (02)4232 2124 or 1800 674 444
Fax: (02)4233 1009
Discovery Holiday Parks – Gerroa
107 Crooked River Road, Gerroa NSW 2534
Ph: (02) 4234 1233
Fax: (02) 4234 1140
JERVIS BAY AND HUSKISSON
Jervis Bay and the surrounding Booderee National Park have to be on everyone's 'must see' list. It took me about five minutes before I was coming up with photographic treasures of my own there – and that's just because you can throw the camera in the air and still get great shots, it's that beautiful wherever you look.
Sketch your vision of a beach in paradise, and Booderee's coastline will bear a striking resemblance. You can go walking, snorkelling, fishing, boating, sailing and diving while you're not simply soaking it all in. You'll also be able to get up close and personal with the local fauna – frankly because the varmints are curious buggers and seem to have no fear.
Booderee supports an amazing number of different habitats within its small geography, which provides a diversity of experiences to really treasure – freshwater bodies, mangroves, marine environments, eucalypt forests, relic forests, heaths, wetlands, grasslands... the list goes on. To top it all off, there are beautiful botanic gardens in the middle of it all to really showcase nature's beauty.
The nearby town of Huskisson is the perfect place to set up camp if you don't fancy the more basic camping available within Booderee. Huskisson is set right on the water and has beautiful bays and beaches to explore. It has everything from cafes to a cinema screen, so you won't be left wanting.
Here are a few places you can stay when exploring around Jervis Bay:
Huskisson Beach Tourist Resort Beach Street, Huskisson NSW 2540
Ph: 1300 733 027
Booderee National Park Jervis Bay 2540
Ph: (02) 4443 0977
Fax: (02) 4443 8302
• Kiama Blowhole Kiama Lighthouse Rd, Kiama NSW 2533
• Booderee Botanic Gardens Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay 2540
• Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens -On the Princes Highway, Batemans Bay
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 4pm.
Ph: (02) 4443 0977
Fax: (02) 4443 8302
• Arts and Crafts Tourist Drive
Quality art and fine food venues around Merimbula, as well as some of the best scenery on the south coast.
Contact tourist information centre, Beach St Merimbula NSW 2548.
Ph: (02) 6495 1129
• Aslings Beach Rock Pool, Aslings Beach
Sydneysiders and Canberrans alike are within a few hours’ drive of Moruya, a great launching pad into the wider Eurobodalla region in which it sits. The Eurobodalla is a small region with a big to-do list, such as the national parks that cover much of the area. Within the parks are extensive cave networks to explore, waterfalls, unique rock formations like Marble Arch, many views, beautiful walks, hikes and drives.
There are 83 beaches and over 100km of coastline here, so getting a quiet spot in the sun usually isn't a problem. There are even very inexpensive council camps right alongside the beaches, so if you're set up to camp independently, you'll be very chuffed indeed.
There are endless opportunities for fishing and boating, and if you prefer someone else to do the hard work for you, there are many riverboat cruises, sailing and fishing charters to enjoy.
So, where to stay? There's a lot of choice, but I can recommend these spots:
North Head, Moruya – independent camping
Bruce Cameron Drive, North Head, Moruya
Ph: 0428 633 447
Congo – independent camping
Congo Rd, Congo Point
Ph: (02) 4476 2888
East's Dolphin Beach Holiday Park South Head Road, Moruya Heads, 2537
Ph: 02 4474 2748 or 1800 232 787
Fax: 02 4474 2539
Halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, and just three hours from Canberra, this pretty seaside town is an ideal spot to park the rig and go and explore. You can take for granted that the beaches are beautiful and opportunities for water sports are endless. You can also go dolphin and whale watching, fishing, or cruising along one of the many tourist drives in the area.
You can explore the countryside on foot, or take a tour in a 4WD. There is a strong local arts and crafts scene, as artists are drawn to the natural beauty of the area. So, where to stay? Well, I'm glad you asked:
Tween Waters Holiday Resort
Dunns Lane, Merimbula 2548
Ph: (02) 6495 1530 or 1800 260 880
Fax: (02) 6495 2963
Pambula Beach Discovery Holiday Park
1 Pambula Beach Road, Pambula Beach, NSW 2549
Ph: (02) 6495 6363
Fax: (02) 6495 8701
Killing whales used to be Eden's raison d'etre, but nowadays the whales are treated like special guests and whale watching is a major attraction.
Along with lazing on the beach, sipping lattes, visiting local craft shops and museums, you can take advantage of Eden's prime geographic positioning. Eden borders onto pretty local forests, and only a little further afield is Ben Boyd National Park, preserving some classic unspoiled coastal wilderness.
Mount Imlay is provided for your sightseeing convenience, affording views across to Victoria as well as the NSW surrounds.
Fishing keeps the local economy humming, so if you like eating or catching fish, you're in for a treat.
As is the case all along the NSW South Coast, accommodation is readily available:
Wonboyn Cabins & Caravan Park Wonboyn Road, Wonboyn Lake, NSW 2551
Ph: (02) 64 969 131
Fax: (02) 64 969 031
Discovery Holiday Parks – Eden 441 Princes Highway, Eden, NSW 2551
Ph:(02) 6496 1651
Fax: (02) 6496 1671
• Illawarra Fly Take a walk around the treetops along 500m of elevated walkways.
182 Knights Hill Rd, Knights Hill NSW.
Open 9am - 5pm (Allow 45–60 minutes for the walk)
Ph: (02) 4885 1010 or 1300 362 881
Fax: (02) 4885 2366
• Foxglove Spires Open Garden
Open seven days. Adults $5, concession $4.
Corkhill Drive, Tilba Tilba.
Ph: (02) 4473 7375
• Birdland Animal Park
Open 9.30am daily.
Entry $16 adults, $14 seniors. 55 Beach Road, Batemans Bay.
Ph: (02) 4472 5364
• Potoroo Palace Animal sanctuary and education centre
Open 10am-4pm Thurs-Mon. $16 adults, $13 seniors. 2372 Princes Highway Merimbula NSW 2548.
Ph:(02) 6494 9225
• Eden Killer Whale Museum
Open Mon-Sat 9:15am to 3:45pm, Sun 11:15am to 3:45pm. $7.50 adults, $7 seniors. 182 Imlay St, Eden NSW.
Ph: (02) 6496 2094
To learn more about the photos, or to purchase one of Tommy's books, you can go to
WORDS BY SEAN CUMMINS PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOMMY SALMON