Climb and scramble over sharp rocks to find tiny rock pools glistening in the sun, perfectly breaking waves out at sea and ancient towering rock structures. Here’s Cara van Wyk’s list of coastal rock platform hotspots to explore on the NSW South Coast.
The NSW coast, in fact the majority of the edge of our enormous isle, is just littered with amazing coastal outcrops and rock platforms, many of which house wonders like hidden rock pools, secret fishing spots and marvels of geology. It’s well worth a scramble with the right weather and tide conditions*. So here’s just a taster of some of the incredible rock platforms the NSW South Coast has to offer to get you started.
*Make sure you stay safe when out on coastal rock platforms – read this before you go for a few tips on what to look out for.
# 1 The coastal rock platforms off many Northern Illawarra Beaches
Set the alarm early and watch sunrise from these pristine coastal rock platforms. Bring your cozzie and take a dip in one of the many tidal pools once the sun is up (try Coledale for a lovely walk along the rocks and around the headland).
# 2 Cathedral Rocks at Kiama
At the southern end of Jones’ Beach is a small cave from which you can watch the waves breaking over the aptly named Cathedral Rocks (park in the beach parking lot along North Kiama Drive, then walk south along the beach and over the rocks until you find the cave).
# 3 Bombo Quarry
This one is also at Kiama so it’s two for one if you go to Kiama! Just south of Cathedral Rocks, an old quarry (over seventy years out of service) with towering basalt columns has become an eerie playground for keen explorers and photographers (park along Darien Avenue, then follow the wide unpaved road around to the old quarry.
# 4 Black Head Reserve coastal rock platforms at Gerroa
Known as one of the best fossil displays in NSW, this is also an amazing spot to come and watch the sunset over 7 Mile Beach. At the end of Stafford Drive, Gerroa, there is a small parking lot with a number of short tracks to the rocks.
# 5 Camel Rock at Wallaga Lake
This fascinating rock formation is said to be one of NSW’s oldest rocks and created by undersea avalanches. Come here to watch the morning sun settle in, or lounge back on the beach sands in the late afternoon. Turn off Wallaga Lake Road onto a tree-lined road just south of – almost opposite – Beauty Point road. Park in the designated parking lot and walk down to the beach.
# 6 The Blue Pool at Bermagui
Further along the south coast, this incredible rock pool glistens topaz in its rock platform setting. This is the perfect spot for an early morning swim before another day of exploring. Park the car park just off Pacific Drive, Bermagui, and follow the footpath down the water.
There are literally thousands of epic coastal rock platforms to discover around the coast so check the tide and surf conditions, be prepared and safe and go exploring!
More coastal microadventures…