A Travellerspoint blog

December 2017

Mallacoota

Far East Victoria

semi-overcast 27 °C

Saltwater Creek campground in the Ben Boyd National Park south of Eden was to be our next destination but our run of outs in these southern NSW national parks continued. We don’t like booking sites unseen but decided we should check a couple of days before leaving Pambula as to the availability of a site and much to our disappointment the campground was booked out. So Mallacoota was our next stop and what a great place it was. There was a touch of sadness as we crossed the border back into our home state after 10 months away and the realisation that the trip of a lifetime was nearly over. However Mallacoota situated in the far east of Victoria was an absolute gem and we wondered why we had never found this place years ago.

We stayed at the Mallacoota Foreshore Caravan Park which is a huge park along the banks of the inlet and ocean foreshore with nice grassy sites and great views of the inlet and nearby hills. The park was fairly quiet in mid December but it is not hard to imagine how different it would be with its 700 sites full over January. With its extensive inlet and ocean beaches Mallacoota is a fisherman’s paradise and caters to boat and land based anglers with lots of boat ramps, fishing jetties around the inlet and surf beaches.

The surrounding forests have vehicle access tracks and walking tracks where you can explore this pristine area. Places we enjoyed were Sandy Point (nice picnic area), Sou West Arm (jetty) and Gypsy Point (very picturesque town on the Genoa River). A drive along the Bekta Road takes you to a number of lovely beaches. Bekta Beach has a nice picnic area and good swimming in the estuary of the Bekta River or the ocean beach. Quarry Beach has interesting coloured rock strata to the left of the car park. Secret Beach is our pick of the beaches with interesting rock features at both ends and a sea cave you can enter at low tide. Shipwreck Creek can be reached by following a 4wd track through the forest to a campground and beach with a creek running into the ocean. The last 7km of the track was full of potholes and required careful driving.

I managed to catch some nice fish off one of the jetties around the inlet on a beautiful sunny morning. Four nice tailor and a 47cm flathead provided some nice fish meals. The inlet was closed to the ocean while we were there which was affecting the fishing but there were still plenty of boats heading out every day. Mallacoota is a great little country town unspoilt by large commercial interests, so you won’t find fast food outlets here. We thoroughly enjoyed our 4 nights in Mallacoota (one night longer than we had planned) and will definitely be back in the future for a longer stay.

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Posted by OzJourney 01:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Pambula Beach

Beach and Bush

semi-overcast 22 °C

Our next destination was going to be Hobart Beach in the Bournda National Park but the dysfunctional NSW National Parks online booking service failed us again. On arrival at the campground there were very few campers there and a huge amount of vacant sites, however a large sign at the entrance warned that camp sites had to be booked online or over the phone beforehand. Having picked out a number of suitable empty sites we went online to book only to find the system would only allow bookings from the Saturday onwards, this day being Thursday. Ringing the phone number provided was equally useless as it wasn’t working. So this left us with the prospect of setting up on a site hoping no one with a booking turned up and we had to move and the other problem of the ranger turning up and fining us for not paying the camp fee. Needless to say we left and drove on to Pambula.

The Discovery Park at Pambula Beach was a great alternative with our camp site behind the dune at the beach. The long sandy beach is beautiful with the Pambula River mouth a short walk to the south. The beach was great for a swim, surfing or fishing. The park itself was excellent with great amenities, a pool, spa, camp kitchen with upstairs lounge room and grassy sites. The wildlife visiting us every day included lots of kangaroos, multicoloured parrots, ducks, magpies and numerous smaller birds.

We stayed here for four nights and loved it, with lots to see and do. The Pambula market on Sunday was good with lots of variety and some local fruit and vegies to replenish our supplies. There are lots of great beaches in the area including Tura, Short Point and Quondola, Severs and a number of others in Ben Boyd National Park to the south. Haycock Point in Ben Boyd was also worth a look. A walk out to Tura Head gives great views of the coastline.

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Posted by OzJourney 23:44 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Depot Beach

Murramarang National Park

rain 16 °C

We managed to get packed up and leave Cudmirrah before the rain started, detouring off the Princes Highway to check out Mollymook which had a nice beach and would have been inviting if it wasn’t raining. We travelled through Ulladulla and on to Depot Beach in the Murramarang National Park to set up camp for three days. It wasn’t raining when we arrived so we quickly set up camp in the large forested campground. We chose a powered site as the forecast was for rain so the solar panels would be no good here.

The Depot Beach campground is just across the road from the beach which is well protected by a headland to the south and steep forested slopes to the north. The amenities are good with hot showers, rainwater and bore water are available and fireplaces are scattered throughout. The tall forest and nice beach make this a beautiful spot to camp and even though it rained shortly after setting up and didn’t stop until the morning of the third day we still loved our stay here.

With rain forecast all day on our second day we booked the car in to get the front brakes serviced in Batemans Bay and spent the day in town, having lunch at the RSL Club which had great views out over the bay, going to the cinema, and doing a little Christmas shopping.

With a fine but overcast day on our third day we drove around the area exploring some 4wd tracks and beaches. Pebbly Beach looked like a nice place to camp, with a steep beach and grassy areas where lots of kangaroos were laying around making the most of the fine weather. Pretty Beach, Kioloa, Snapper Point Lookout and Merry Beach were all worth stopping at. Bawley Point is well known for its surf breaks but this day the swell was very small and not worth surfing but the town itself was nice.

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Posted by OzJourney 21:59 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Jervis Bay

Booderee National Park

storm 20 °C

We were on the road by 6am as we had a long drive ahead of us which included getting through Sydney on a Friday early enough to avoid the afternoon exodus. Our original plan was to camp at Greenpatch in the Booderee National Park however when we tried to book online a week beforehand the online booking wasn’t working and when you rang the visitor centre you just got a recorded message saying the park was booked out for the weekend. This recorded message never changed all through the following week so too bad if you wanted to book a site during the week.
We ended up choosing the Swan Lake Tourist Village at Cudmirrah just south of Jervis Bay as a base to explore Booderee and Jervis Bay. At $70 for 3 nights for a powered site in a quiet park with new amenities, a great camp kitchen, a pool and friendly managers you can’t go wrong. Swan Lake is across the road and the beach is a short walk. As it turned out we were glad we couldn’t get into Greenpatch as the weather while we were here was overcast, stormy and wet which would have meant the solar panels would have been useless.

Hyams Beach was a popular spot at Jervis Bay even though it was windy, overcast and drizzling rain. It would have been beautiful on a sunny day. Half of Booderee National Park was closed due to recent bushfires that burnt a large section of the park, bringing down trees across roads. We explored most of the open part of the park before a fierce storm with damaging winds and very heavy rain hit us as we pulled into the car park at Caves Beach.

A morning trip down the coast to Bendalong looking for surf was successful with some nice 3 to 4ft A-frame beach breaks on offer. The water was unexpectedly cold here at 17C with the locals saying how unusually cold the ocean was at this time of year. On the other side of the headland is another beautiful beach where we had lunch before heading back to Huskisson to look around town.

While in Jervis Bay we caught up with Steve, a friend of Deb’s from her teenage years in Anglesea who she hadn’t seen for many years. Steve and his partner Wendy invited us around for dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights where there was a lot of reminiscing about old times and finding out what everyone was up to these days. Steve is a drummer in the Charlie Harper Band and they were playing in Huskisson on the Sunday afternoon so we went along and had a great afternoon listening to some great tunes.

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Posted by OzJourney 17:21 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Ruins

Booti Booti National Park

sunny 26 °C

A short drive passing through Forster saw us arrive at The Ruins campground in Booti Booti National Park quite early in the day. This is a large open campground with green grass which is in the process of being converted from an unmarked choose your own area to camp situation, to numbered sites which you will have to book online. The online booking system doesn’t work for travellers but the national parks pen pushers don’t care what campers want so this will be another campground avoided by travellers.

The campground is situated with Lake Wallis across the road and Seven Mile Beach in front. While we were there a lot of fine brown weed was making the wave zone very uninviting and making fishing impossible which was a shame as there were plenty of pippies to be found for bait. Nearby Elizabeth Beach sits between two rocky headlands and is quite beautiful with its clear water and stunning views of the coastline to the north. A short walk around the top of the headland at the southern end of Elizabeth Beach takes you to Shelley Beach which caught us by surprise as unbeknown to us it is a nudist beach. Deb suggested we ditch the clothes and have a swim but we had second thoughts about walking along the beach with camera in hand and no beach gear.

On our second day we drove down the coast to Seal Rocks which was a quiet little coastal town with a nice beach and interesting rock formations. Up and around the headland is Sugarloaf Point upon which a lighthouse sits. The walk from the car park to the lighthouse is interesting, off to the side is a tunnel through a cliff where the ocean waves flow through, then a steep climb up a path to the lighthouse. The views of Seal Rocks and the coastline from this high vantage point are spectacular and worth the leg killing ascent. In the shallows of the beach to the south of the lighthouse where a large pod of dolphins lazing around just beyond the breakers. We spent the afternoon back at Elizabeth Beach swimming, reading and admiring the view.

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Posted by OzJourney 17:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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