As Daryl and I continue to make our way from Melbourne to Sydney, after completing Victoria’s Gippsland we ventured through the New South Wales South Coast for 16 days from 16 April 2018. The South Coast, having had lived west of Sydney, has previously been a regular choice for our holidays and day trips. We even lived in the Wollongong area for a number of years. This meant this section of our travels has included visiting places we have never been before and revisiting some we had.
The NSW South Coast runs along the east coast of Australia from the NSW/Victoria border to the outer suburbs of southern Sydney. It is generally made up of the Sapphire Coast, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven and the Illawarra. It is approximately 500km in length and covers an area of approximately 15000 km2.
There were many highlights for us during our time here and we were reminded why we love it so much. It is a region with an unbelievable amount of beautiful beaches, waterways, bushland, wildlife and rich history and so much of it is free to do. The standouts for us were:
- Greenglade (beach) in Nadgee Nature Reserve, a wide expanse of stunning beach surrounded by undisturbed bushland that literally took our breath away.
- Blue Pool an ocean pool in Bermagui with stunning views across the open water.
- Seeing seals and stingrays up close in Narooma. They hang around to be fed by returned fisherpeople and while they will allow people to get within a few metres it is important to remember they are wild animals, they will bite if frightened or they feel trapped.
- Discovering 270 million year old fossils on the rock plateau on the harbour in Ulladulla.
- Walking the 3.4km length of the boardwalk around Merimbula Lake in Merimbula.
- The Little Blowhole and Cathedral Rocks in Kiama.
- Overall our favourite places to explore and be by, in or on the water were Bermagui, Narooma and Kiama. Mind you there are many more other brilliant places in the region, unfortunately we didn’t have the time to enjoy them all.
We will be back again one day to spend more time here.
Our stats for the South Coast of New South Wales
Duration: 16 days
Distance Travelled: 932km
Fuel: 19.6l per 100km
Travel cost per km: $0.93
EXPENSES & BUDGET
This part of our travels was continued on our $400 per week budget. The biggest struggle to keeping to our budget was finding free and low cost campgrounds especially as we got closer and closer to Sydney. Fortunately we were able to make the most of a couple of rest stops that allow overnight stops to continue our journey without blowing our budget. For some, sleeping some nights just off a highway wouldn’t sound like much fun but it is doable and practical. If it is a matter of having to do such stops from time to time to live on the road I am more than willing.
Making do and making the most of things has become our mottos living on the road on a tight budget. So far I have never felt I have had to miss out on anything important to me and while there is a few compromises on things like where we camp, non has been impossible to bare. In actual fact it has added to our travels by giving us a more diverse experience as a lot of free or low cost campgrounds are in towns that are often bypassed by highways or in locations off the usual track. Also we have to travel slow to keep our fuel costs within budget which as a consequence means we have more time to find and explore the nooks and crannies of places and this too has added a richness to our travels.
Groceries: $263.98 total = $16.48 per day or $115.34 per week
Fuel: $266.12 total = $16.63 per day or $116.43 per week
Mobiles (Internet): $105 total = $6.56 per day or $45.84 per week
Golf Comp Fees: $41 total
Car & Caravan Maintenance: $29.95 total
Gas: $28 total
Odds & Sods: $25.35
Op Shops: $23.50
Campground Fees: $20 total
Alcohol: $20 total
Tours & Entertainment: $15 total
Laundry: $4 total
Total = $867.10 = $54.19 per day or $379.36 per week
The choice of free and low cost campgrounds on the NSW South Coast becomes less and less the closer to Sydney you are. That said if you are willing to be inland a little and from time to time make do with rest stops it is possible to keep your campground fees to an absolute minimum. We were further limited by having our dog and we still managed to spend only $20 in camp fees over the entire time visited the region. Here is the campgrounds we stayed at:
Scrubby Creek Forest Picnic Area, Narrabara
Great free dog friendly campground in the trees not far off the highway. Drop toilets and picnic tables. Take the time to check out Nadgee Nature Reserve (not dog friendly) and Wonboyn Lake from here, stunning and will not disappoint.
Roadside Stop, Merimbula
Literally a gravel pull over on the side of the road. Stayed one night after spending the day in Merimbula. Water refilling available. No other amenities. Road noise wasn’t an issue.
Secura Lifestyle Countryside Kalaru, Kalaru
Cost: $10/night unpowered
Great low cost dog friendly caravan park. Unpowered cost $10/night with use of toilets, hot showers and pool. Laundry $4 per load. Staff very friendly. Close to Tathra. Recommend.
Rest Area, Bermagui
A basic road stopover not far off the road among a few trees. There is a flat area suitable for caravans. We were the only ones both nights we stayed. Road is quiet at night. Good spot to stay and explore Bermagui. Not sure why it isn’t used more.
Bodalla Forest Park Rest Area, Bodalla
Nice free camp ground. Stayed three nights. Drop toilets which got worse during our stay. Lovely among the trees. Bins, picnic tables and drinking water available. Walking tracks to lake is good. Area accessible to all size rigs.
Waldron’s Swamp Rest Area, Moruya
Ok for an overnight. A designated area for caravans and tents separate to the truck stop area. Pit toilets were bareable. Picnic tables. Grass area good for tents. Limited space for caravans and the like. Highway noise not too bad.
Termeil Forest, Termeil
Stayed one night. The road is dirt with a few lose stones and corrugations but nothing too bad. Campsites are areas you can find to pull off into. We were the only ones camping but the road is used a lot more than we expected. Entry is via Lemon Tree Creek Road only. No amenities at all. Pls take rubbish.
Bewong Rest Area, Bewong
An okay overnighter. There is traffic noise from the highway which isn’t too bad. The toilets are awful. There is a Caltex across the road for some supplies and fuel if needed. Ensure you use common sense about where you park as space is limited and trucks do stop here.
Kevin Walsh Oval (Jamberoo Reserve), Jamberoo
Camping is on the sides of a driveway area overlooking a creek, sports field and park area. Limited space. Clean toilets nearby open 24/7. Council has agree to keep trial of this campsite for another 8 months. Look after it; nothing else nearby that is free or low cost! Terrific spot for exploring the Illawarra. Jamberoo Village is lovely.
WHAT WE DID
- Asling Beach, Eden
- Australia Rock, Narooma
- Bermagui Harbour, Bermagui
- Bermagui Point, Bermagui
- Bermagui Fishermen’s Wharf, Bermagui
- Boardwalk Merimbula Lake, Merimbula
- Blowhole, Kiama
- Blue Pool, Bermagui
- Bombo Headland Quarry, Bombo
- Bushrangers Bay, Bass Point, Shellharbour
- Camel Rock, Bermagui
- Community Markets, Bateman’s Bay
- Crookhaven Lighthouse and Lookout, Culburra Beach
- Culburra Beach, Culburra Beach
- Eden Wharf, Eden
- Fairy Meadow Beach, Fairy Meadow
- Fossil Walk, Rock Plateau, Ulladulla
- Greenglade, Nadgee Nature Reserve, Wonboyn
- Historic Wharf, Tathra
- Hyams Beach, Hyams Beach
- Indig Cultural Walk, Bass Point
- Jamberoo Village, Jamberoo
- Jerrara Dam, Jerrara
- Jetty, Orient Point
- Jetties, Curleys Bay, Cullburra Beach
- Kiama Lighthouse, Kiama
- Kiss Lagoon and Park, Bega
- LittleBlowhole, Kiama
- Mill Bay Boardwalk, Narooma
- Mogareeka Inlet, Mogareeka
- Montreal Goldfield, Bermagui
- Saddleback Mountain Lookout, Saddleback Mountain
- Seals and Stingrays, Mills Bay, Narooma
- Ulladulla Harbour, Ulladulla
- Wallaga Lake, Bermagui
- Werri Beach, Gerringong
- Wetlands, Bateman’s Bay
- Wollong Botanical Gardens, Keiraville
- Wonboyn Lake, Wonboyn
Towns We Visited:
- Bateman’s Bay
- Beauty Point
- Callala Bay
- Culburra Beach
- Fairy Meadow
- Green Cape
- Hyams Beach
- Orient Point
- Wallaga Lake
Where Daryl Played Golf:
- Tathra Beach Golf Club
- Jamberoo Golf Club
Where We Kayaked:
- Bermagui Harbour and River, Bermagui
- Wagonga Inlet, Narooma
- Wonboyn Lake, Wonboyn
We have a real love for the NSW South Coast and is somewhere we feel a connection to the place and the people. It has historically been our choice of where to go when we need to get away, destress or just surround ourselves with beauty and see the ocean. As we travel further around Australia we hope to find other places that reasonate with us as well. We highly recommend the NSW South Coast be on your lap around Australia.
Next we head to the Blue Mountains and surrounds for a month before we start our trek north for the winter months.