Eden to Sydney

Friday 4 June 2021: Eden to Merimbula 40km

Eden to Merimbula is only about 40km but with a few walks and some sightseeing we filled in the day.

After yesterday’s rain today was clear and warmer, ideal for a walk around Curalo Lagoon
Black Swans on the Lagoon
Royal Spoonbill 
The Pinnacles (near Eden): an erosion of white sands cliffs capped with a layer of red gravel clay
After the devastating 2019-20 bushfires there is some regeneration in places
We came across this oyster shed on Lake Pambula – freshly shucked oysters with finger limes
Then we went on to an Oyster Bar for some Kilpatrick
Low cost grass mowing in this caravan park
Oyster farm on Merimbula Lake
Floating bags hold the oysters and allow them to filter feed
Dinner – smoked mussels from Eden with locally made pasta and tomato sauce

Saturday 5 June 2021: Merimbula to Bermagui 80km

Another short driving day but plenty to see: surfing beaches, rocky headlands, mountain forests, cows and sheep grazing on bright green fields and small villages. This is aptly named the Sapphire Coast (Sapphire is a saturated shade of blue).

Merimbula has the prettiest parkrun we’ve run – along a boardwalk with water either side
Someone even has free range eggs for sale beside the parkrun path
Merimbula rivermouth
Looking back at Short Point Beach from Tura Head
Tura Head Rockpool
Giant stingray waves to us in the shallow waters at Kaininny Wharf
Heritage-listed Tathra Wharf was built from 1860 to 1862
The main shipping point for the Bega Valley until 1954, it is the last deep sea timber wharf in NSW

Sunday 6 June 2021: Bermagui to Batemans Bay 165km

We took all the Tourist Drives today to follow the coast where possible and avoid the main highway.

An early morning walk along the beach at Bermagui
Australian red wattlebird feeding on banksia flower
Camel Rock
Wallaga Lake Bridge, constructed in 1894 is one of a few wooden single lane bridges
It may now be the only remaining example of an arched timber bridge in NSW
Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma
Mystery Beach: in 1880 five men disappeared in mysterious circumstances here
Seal, pelicans and a seagull waiting for scraps from a fisherman at Mill Bay Wharf, Narooma
But this cormorant caught its own fish
There’s a colony of seals at Narooma
Hole in the rock at Narooma Inlet in the shape of Australia
We liked the name “Oyster Farmers Daughter” so we went there for lunch
It’s a shack on a lovely inlet at North Narooma
Impossible to decide so we had a mixed dozen

Monday 7 June 2021: Batemans Bay

We’d been looking forward to our Clyde River Oyster Tasting Kayak Tour with REGIONX (website here) and it turned out way better than we expected. Out guide Josh Waterson led us through the oyster beds, stopping at the Oyster Shed to taste the oysters and to learn about their cultivation. We are now oyster aficionados. Josh also offers other tempting multi-day kayak trips.

Launching the kayak without even getting your feet wet – Josh drags it out with Pam sitting in it
Kayaking through the Clyde River oyster beds (photo by Josh)
There are hundreds of oysters inside each cage which protects them from predators
They are native rock oysters and draw their nutrients solely from the tidal water
Sheds of the commercial oyster farmers on the Clyde River at Batemans Bay
Jade, fourth generation oyster farmer, shucks oysters for us to try
Nothing beats the taste of freshly opened oysters (photo by Josh)
The Oyster Shed – the only one in Batemans Bay selling oysters direct from the farm to the public
Lunch at the Oyster Shed
Oysters: cucumber, pickled ginger, wasabi + oysters: mayo; chilli, lime, sesame
Seafood chowder in a sourdough loaf
Sunset at Batemans Bay

Tuesday 8 June 2021: Batemans Bay to Bendalong 130km

We had originally planned to stop at Ulladulla but Pam read that there were stingrays in the shallow waters of Bendalong Beach so we spent the night there instead. Bendalong, population 95, is a small coastal town 15km off the highway. There’s a beautiful deserted beach and not much else mid-week in winter. It’s like going back in time.

Pelican line astern formation flyover
Warden Head Lighthouse, originally on the Ulladulla Breakwater in 1873, shifted to Warden Head in 1879
It is one of only two towers in New South Wales made from wrought iron plates
Ulladulla Harbour stone pier where the lighthouse once stood is at least 150 years old
Little Pied Cormorant on the sea wall
Fishing boats in Ulladulla Harbour
Unloading yellowfin tuna on the wharf at Ulladulla
Italian immigrants established Ulladulla’s fishing fleet in the 1930s
The Heritage Bakery in the oldest and most beautiful historical building in the little town of Milton
When we saw their old fashioned pasties we knew what we were having for lunch
Beautiful and deserted Washerwomans Beach below the campground at Bendalong
Walk into the clear water and the stingrays come
You can even hand feed them – if you are brave enough!

Wednesday 9 June 2021: Bendalong to Greenwell Point 165km

Today we followed the coast as close as the roads would allow. That did mean quite a lot of tedious snail pace driving through the suburbs.

There is regrowth on the trunks of some of the trees burnt in the January 2020 bushfires
Bendalong was cut off for days and without power etc but there was no loss of life or property
Dead calm Berrara Lagoon reflects the trees and clouds
White Faced Heron at Berrara Lagoon
Husky Bakery in Huskisson has been making pies since 1924, bloody good ones too
A beach at Huskisson
In 1928 the S.S. Merimbula ran aground on rocks at Currarong; there was no loss of life
“Splendidly equipped with 96 saloons she was the finest vessel that ever sailed the South Coast Ports”
We stayed at Greenwell Point
Greenwell Point oyster beds
Jim Wild’s Oyster Shed on the Crookhaven River
Jim Wild, world champion oyster shucker, has an oyster farm and shed at Greenwell Point
We spent the night nearby so we could try them

Thursday 10 June 2021: Greenwell Point to Shellharbour 135km

Something different – we headed inland climbing through thick green rainforest to the town of Kangaroo Valley with its historic bridge and then further up to the Fitzroy Falls. Driving back to the coast it started raining disrupting our planned sightseeing.

The old English, Scottish & Australian Bank of 1890 in Kangaroo Valley is now a cafe
The entire town with its 20 Heritage Listed buildings was classified by the National Trust in 1977
Hampden Suspension Bridge, about 1km past Kangaroo Valley, was completed in 1898 with castellated towers like the turrets of a castle. It is the oldest suspension bridge in the country
Spectacular Fitzroy Falls plunge 80m into the Kangaroo Valley
Back on the coast – the Blow Hole at Kiama “blows” spectacularly when the wind and waves are right
The 1887 lighthouse on the headland above the blowhole can be seen from 27km out at sea
Kiama Post Office, Victorian Classical Revival, was completed in 1878
Kiama looks like an historic seaside town but rain prevented our exploration

Friday 11 June 2021: Shellharbour to Sydney 140km

Our van was displaying a air bag warning so Apollo wanted us to call in to their Sydney depot to change vehicles. We took advantage of their southern Sydney location to follow the coast for 100km along the Grand Pacific Drive.

Hundreds of seagulls on the rocks at Shellharbour
665 metre long Sea Cliff Bridge, 20km north of Wollongong, is a highlight of the Grand Pacific Drive
Driving on the Sea Cliff Bridge