Secret beaches on the Sapphire Coast
Take a saltwater escape along the stunning Sapphire Coast and side-step the holiday crowds at these beautifully off-the-beaten-track beaches, where you can rewild in rare solitude.
Mind the photogenic gap at Wallagoot Gap
The twin headlands of Wallagoot Gap at Turingal Head in Bournda National Park are just far enough apart to form a dramatically cloistered beachscape of golden sands and sapphire waters. Sandwiched between the holiday towns of Merimbula and Tathra, this secluded nook sheltered by shoulders of scrub-covered cliffs is largely overlooked by beach travellers. Wade into the shallows on warm days, and in the cooler months, take a detour to Turingal Head picnic area or the headland walking track to snap that astonishingly photogenic cleft between cliffs.
While away the day at Bittangabee Bay
Set in the Green Cape area of Beowa National Park, the rock-enclosed cove and calm waters of Bittangabee Bay feel wonderfully under-discovered. A small stretch of secluded sand quietly beckons swimmers, anglers, twitchers and whale-watchers to the picturesque bay, where each activity may be enjoyed in near isolation. You may be lucky enough to enjoy it in solitude, but should the arrival of another party shatter the illusion, hit nearby trails to spot lyrebirds, bandicoots and wombats or visit the ruins of an 1800s-era storehouse.
Glimpse Aboriginal history at Severs Beach
Judging by the Aboriginal shell middens, humans have been enjoying the sheltered waters of Severs Beach for many thousands of years. Soft, white sands separate tide and bush, and provide ample places to soak in the peace. In the cooler months, bring a thermos of hot coffee and watch sea eagles pluck their next meal from the water, throw out a line yourself, or take in the enlivening fresh air on a beach walk. In summer, enjoy cooling saltwater swims and falling asleep under a large hat as you listen to native birdsong. With Eden not far away, winter provides an opportunity to combine a Severs Beach trip with one of the area’s riveting whale-watching tours during migration season.
Take a selfie at Camel Rock
A photographer’s dream (and also a geological marvel) Camel Rock is an incredible coastal rock formation resembling its namesake animal kneeling down into the sea, formed by underwater avalanches 450 million years ago. Take selfies with the camel from the viewing platform, enjoy lunch by its side at the picnic area, or see it from different angles on the 1.5km walking track to Murunna Point. Frolic in the waves and rockpools, or swing by Camel Rock on your way to nearby Wallaga Lake, where you can waterski, hike, fish, observe significant Aboriginal relics, and bask in, on and beside the reviving waters. While you’re in the vicinity, duck into the Sapphire Coast’s first craft brewery, Camel Rock Brewery Bar, set in the BIG4 Wallaga Lake Holiday Park.
Stroll forest to sea at Bithry Inlet
Cutting into Mimosa Rocks National Park, before giving way to the entrance of Wapengo Lake, is a serene little estuary. With sandy shores fringed by verdant bush and gently lapping waters that house nurseries for breeding bream, salmon and flathead, Bithry Inlet feels largely untouched. At times, you’ll barely meet a soul as you stroll by the shore and, come summer, silky waters will beckon swims in its wild waters. Toilet amenities, picnic tables and a barbecue area make it easy to spend a day here attuning to beach life or join a three-hour guided walk with Navigate Expeditions that ambles from Bithry to Stinking Bay and loops back via the national park. The Forest Meets the Sea walking tour comes with a hot cuppa, snack and a roll call of native fauna, from birdlife to kangaroos and seasonal whale-spotting. Should it be too difficult to extract yourself from this natural paradise, you can always sleep over at the inlet-adjacent Myer House.
Snorkel an underwater world at Kianinny Bay
Known to a handful of local fishing fiends and boating enthusiasts, Kianinny Bay remains a hidden gem on the tourist trail. But a visit to this quiet cerulean bay in Tathra offers a treasure trove of wonders to explore beneath the surface of the water. Bring your own snorkel and jump off the jetty to spot schools of colourful fish and resident stingrays gliding along in the clear water. This gorgeous inlet, folded into Bournda National Park, is also a relaxing spot to enjoy lunch. Unfurl a spread at the grassy picnic area and fuel up before embarking on the challenging but stunning nine-kilometre, coast-hugging Kangarutha Walking Track, which offers front-row tickets to whale-spotting during migration season.
Sleep by the ocean at Saltwater Creek Campground
Lovers of the great, remote outdoors will relish pitching their tent at the bush-cloaked Saltwater Creek Campground in Beowa National Park. Cocooned in nature, this hidden haven enables complete disengagement from daily life and an immersion in the sights, sounds and aromas of an apple gum forest. Edged by beach and small, gentle lagoons, days are spent by the water before retreating to your cosy campfire to watch the nocturnal life of possums and bandicoots scuttle around in the undergrowth. Soundtracked by tumbling waves and lit by pristine night skies, expect sleep that is deep and timed to the sun.