Chillaxing on the NSW South Coast

ACT blogger Mick makes the most of a long weekend and explores the quietly idyllic South Coast town of Narooma.

If you live in Canberra (and probably most places in Australia), when a long weekend comes around, you’re thinking about getting out of town. The chance to get away for that extra night is usually enough incentive to encourage us to load up the car and drive somewhere to make the most of one of the country’s many public holidays.

On this occasion, it was the Canberra Day long weekend. Even though it lands on a day off for Victorians as well, it’s slightly more exclusive than the likes of the Easter and Christmas public holidays and means we can get away without encountering the usual NSW ‘long weekender’ crowd on our journey.

For many Canberrans, this holiday opportunity usually means a two hour trip east, usually to Bateman’s Bay, Ulladulla or a similar South Coast destination. In our case we headed an hour further south to the town of Narooma which sits about equal distance between Bateman’s Bay and Bega.

Narooma Beach

This town, with a population of just over 3000 people, is the perfect location for a weekend away. It avoids the big crowds of the coastal towns further north and sits right next to the largest island on the south coast, Montague Island.

Montague Island

Day one
Our long weekend was to be spent in a lovely bed & breakfast called ‘Anchors Aweigh’. Located just off the main street and minutes walk to the local pubs and restaurants, this B&B offered a perfect location for us to relax for the weekend.

Anchors Aweigh at night

Anchors Aweigh bar

We were greeted by one of the owners, who carried our luggage up stairs to our ensuite room. The room included a lovely long balcony with views out over the inlet and a large king size bed.

The house itself is immaculate and displayed a multiple of collectibles from dolls, to model cars, to teddy bears, to beer bottles. You could spend a lot of time just looking around the house at the impressive collections.

Car collection

Glass collection

On our first night, we decided to take a walk to the pub and enjoy a steak whilst soaking in the views of the Wagonga Inlet and the ocean. The ‘Top Pub’ balcony offers fantastic meals and a view to die for. A good meal and a few beverages later and we could walk back to our accommodation to relax for the rest of the evening. A great start to the weekend!

Day two
The following morning we awoke early to take in the glorious brekkie (got to love B&B’s!). Having made our selections the evening before, we were served up fresh fruit, eggs, sausages and the pièce de résistance, some freshly baked damper. It was a fantastic start to the day especially as it was all enjoyed on our private balcony in the warming sun.

View from my room at Anchors Aweigh

With the beautiful weather, following weeks of torrential rain, we decided to do some kayaking in the Wagonga Inlet. For just $35, we hired a kayak for an hour and paddled our way around the crystal clear waters, checking out the fish and the scenery. It’s a great feeling to make your way around the area in your own time. BBQ boats can also be hired for larger groups or the more relaxing ‘Wagonga Princess’ offers cruises around the inlet.

Wagonga Inlet

Following the kayak adventure, we decided to explore some of the nearby towns. The Bermagui Seaside festival was taking place this weekend and although we missed the Saturday night fireworks, we wandered around the city centre and admired some of the local wares.

Bermagui Gelati

The Quarterdeck

We filled up with some amazing fish and chips before heading a little further north of Bermagui, to Mystery Bay. With its intriguing name, we decided to explore further. The bay itself is surrounded by rock pools giving us plenty of entertainment as we spotted the marine life and wandered around the coast-line.

Mystery Bay

There are any number of small inlets and bays around the South Coast, each with its own identity and patronage. Everyone will tell you that ‘their’ beach is the best!

That afternoon we decided to take in a movie at the local cinema. The Narooma ‘Kinema’ is the fourth oldest cinema in Australia and well worth checking out. There are two cinemas inside, each with a quaint old fashioned feel whilst still having modern amenities (cup holders!). It was the perfect place to watch ‘The Artist’, the award winning silent black & white film.

Narooma Cinema

After the movie we decided to stroll down to the boardwalk in the twilight. To our surprise, we looked into the water and literally saw hundreds of small fish swimming right near the shore.

Narooma is a popular place to base yourself before trekking out past Montague island for fishing tours. There are multiple boating companies offering fishing, snorkelling and diving tours. We decided to make the most of this by booking in for a snorkelling trip the next day.

Day three
After an early morning wake-up call, we made our way to the boardwalk and boarded the boat that would be taking us out to Montague Island.

Narooma jetty

We were provided with all snorkelling gear and even some refreshments for the trip. The nine kilometre trip out to the island takes only around 30 minutes. The operator made their way to the back end of the island to a secluded bay where we set anchor. From here we could snorkel around the area and observe the local marine life. Stingrays, wobbegongs and plenty of fish could be seen.

Heading out to Montague

The second location we stopped out was closer to one of the two seal colonies on the island. When a young seal decided to investigate and swim with us, it was quite an experience!

The young seal dipped, dived and mimicked us as it swam around. The boat staff told us that there can often be a lot more seals swimming with people, but on this day, just the one decided to be adventurous. It definitely made the trip worthwhile!

Lazy seals

Our final afternoon in Narooma consisted of a relaxing walk around the heads of the inlet including the ‘Australia’ rock and some lounging on the beach.

Australia rock

Narooma is really a great place to get away from it all and relax with its picturesque surrounds and friendly people. The location lends to it being quieter than some of the bigger coastal towns, ideal for when you want to have a chilled out weekend away.

Mick’s Narooma’s must do list:
– Kayak in Wagonga Inlet
– Take a trip to Montague Island
– Grab a steak and a beer at the pub
– Walk down at the boardwalk at twilight
– See a movie at the Narooma Cinema
– Have a cherry pie at the Sugar Pie Patisserie
– Bingo at the Bowls Club

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