Back in 1797 a group of men (and their beer), became shipwrecked twice and ended up on Ninety Mile Beach. With nowhere else to go, they hiked north – 740km north – but only three of the men survived.
1. Golden Beach, Victoria
Sand and surf as far as the eye can see is what you get at Golden Beach. The quiet town sits on one section of Ninety Mile Beach, yep 145km of soft sand and rolling waves! There’s no competition to find a lonely spot and laze the day away.
It’s the kind of place where you can slip out of time, nice and easy. Although Golden Beach is one of the more popular spots, the area is pretty quiet all year, so you’re sure to find your own spot for swimming, surfing and fishing.
Keep in mind, wild beaches are unpatrolled in most parts – so stay safe!
2. Pearl Point, Cape Conran Coastal Park
Hidden away in Cape Conran Coastal Park is this wild bit of coast. Rolling sand dunes back up onto rich blue water. There are a couple of permanent rips, so take care if tempted to go for a dip.
You can stay overnight at the free campground just above the beach; with only four campsites you’re guaranteed a peaceful stay. Access is via a rough unsealed road, recommended for 4WD only. Alternatively, you can walk the 12.5km to Pearl Point from East Cape and work those legs out on the sand!
3. Hegartys Bay, Ben Boyd National Park
Hegartys Bay is a slice of paradise for those who make the walk in. It can only be accessed by foot, either from Saltwater Creek in the north, or from Bittangabee Bay in the south, and is framed by striking red cliffs and fascinating rock structures.
Behind the bay, in the shade of sheoaks, is a basic campsite for those who want to stay the night. Make sure you bring everything you need as there are no facilities. Hegartys Bay is just one of the many great stops along the Light to Light walk. This is a popular multi-day hike which stretches the coast of Ben Boyd National Park, winding through diverse bush and spectacular coast.
4. Moon Bay, Mimosa Rocks National Park
This sweet spot in Mimosa Rocks National Park is a crescent-shaped bay, framed by rocky hills and shady bush. The beach is an easy 250m walk from the carpark, though the climb back up might get your heart pumping!
The bay was once used for loading timber onto ships, and there are still remains of the process cut into the cliff faces. Now it’s a good place for fishing, and general lazing about. If you want to stretch your legs, the Warjurda Point walking track starts from here, which will lead you to a good lookout. You might even spy some whales!
5. Horsehead & Camel Rock, Bermagui
If you’re impressed by huge rocky structures that may (with a little imagination) resemble something living, this is your stop! From the car park, it’s a short walk to the expansive beach. The waves can be a little rough, and jagged rocks make the place look fierce.
Camel Rock is easy to spot, almost immediately. Then, if the tide is low enough, you can pick your way over the rocks to find Horsehead Rock. Seeing pictures of the rock can’t prepare you for how big and imposing it is.
Mad about big rocks? Check out Cathedral Rocks in Kiama Downs as you continue your journey north.
6. Depot Beach, Murramarang National Park
For idyllic camping by the beach, head straight to Depot Beach in Murramarang National Park. Here you can camp under shady gums, just a stone’s throw from calm, turquoise water. Idle the day away with swimming and snorkelling or head off for a stroll through the rainforest.
Camping needs to be booked and is $12 per adult. Day entry to the park is $8 per vehicle. If you want to explore other stunning beaches nearby, pop in at Pebbly Beach and get up close to a dozen kangaroos grazing near the sand.
7. Eagle Rock, Royal National Park
Another one for the ‘rocks-that-look-like-living-things’ fans! Take in the awesome landscape by walking from Wattamolla to Eagle Rock (about 3 hours return). The walk actually leads you to two highlights. Just ’round the cliff from Eagle Rock is Curracurrong Falls. If you’re there on a windy day, you might be able to see the falls being blown up the cliff instead of plunging down.
Royal National Park is only about an hour and a half from Sydney, so this is a great little day adventure for those craving some bush. Park entry is $12 per vehicle.