Need a cruisey beach escape after yet another hectic week at work? Or perhaps a refreshing sea change after spending a few days walking in the Deua Valley? Broulee and Broulee Island on the NSW South Coast have some chill vibes to soothe your soul.
- Long clean beaches with breaks suitable for surfing
- Island nature reserve walk with bird and whale spotting in season
- Snorkelling in a marine park sanctuary
- Scenic photography
Day 1: Night Photography, Rockpooling and Bodysurfing around Broulee
Waking up to the sound of surf washing over sand has to be one of the most awesome ways to start a weekend. Scrambling out of the tent, pre-dawn air thick with the scent of peppermint gum, we head to the beach.
Neil sets about photographing the Milky Way while it’s still dark and I go for a long, peaceful beach walk. As the sky gently changes from indigo to pink we watch a pod of dolphins cavorting in the surf around Broulee Headland. Cormorants pose, Karate Kid style, in front of the rising sun.
A glorious day beckons. The surf’s really pumping – a little too much for gumby surfers like Neil and I, so we decide to go and explore the rockpools around Broulee headland (keeping in mind Cara Van Wyk’s excellent recommendations on rock platform safety) and enjoy bodysurfing in the shallows.
Day 2: Snorkelling And Walking On Broulee Island
Another hot and clear day is ushered in by a raucous chorus of kookaburras and wattle birds. The previous day’s strong swell has gone but now there is too little surf even for us. Perfect snorkelling conditions – so we head off to Broulee Island.
First stop is Shark Bay, a well-protected little beach between rocky promontories. The beach is also the permanent sandbar that connects Broulee Island with the mainland. Much of the bay is fairly shallow (3-4 metres), with seagrass beds on the sand and reefs around the rocky sides.
We see plenty of marine life including Banjo Sharks, after which the bay is named.
From Shark Bay we head east into the Broulee Island Marine Sanctuary (no fishing or collecting allowed), following a pebbly path between rocky shore and overgrown interior. We walk past a couple of middens, full of abalone and hermit crab shells, last remnants of an independent clan of the Yuin people who once made their home on Broulee Island. Aboriginal rangers still play an important part in protecting the cultural heritage and environment of the area today.
Continuing around the island we come to Pink Rocks and another small bay, sheltered by rocky reefs. The snorkelling here has been recommended but the wind has changed and visibility is poor, so we walk on, pausing to admire a white-bellied sea eagle cruising the thermals above the island. Coming to the southern end of North Broulee Beach we cross back over the sandbar to Shark Bay to complete our circumnavigation.
We just manage to finish our fish and chip dinner before the storm blows in – a fitting end to a glorious two days of coastal chillin’.
- Tent and camping gear
- Wetsuit (not essential but good for both warmth and sun protection if you’re in the water for a while)
- Snorkelling gear
- Sunscreen & hat
- Camera – waterproof if you’ve got one
- Walking shoes or sandals (thongs not recommended for the island walk)
- Bird watching
- Whale watching
- Bush walking
- Beach walking/running
- Fishing (from beach and rocks)
- Chilling out
Surfing – Beginner to intermediate depending on the size of the swell.
Snorkelling – Beginner to intermediate in the bays, more advanced if you plan on going deeper.
Circumnavigating Broulee Island – 4 km at sea level on a path of pebbles, rocks and sand.
How To Get There
From Sydney – Roughly 4 to 4½ hour drive (depending on traffic)
From Canberra – About 2¼ hour drive
Where To Stay
There are a few commercial caravan parks in the area, the closest is Ingenia Holidays, which has direct access to Broulee Beach next to the surf club.