Eve spent a few days immersed in the Eurobodalla region four hours south of Sydney. There she discovered living Indigenous history thriving on a stunning coastline.
It’s safe to say, I didn’t expect this. After all, I’d never even heard of Eurobodalla, how special could it be? Well, in a word – magical! And if there’s a time to go, it’s now, before everyone else finds out!
Just four hours’ drive from Sydney, Eurobodalla Shire is a mountainous coastal region in South Coast NSW, stretching from Batemans Bay in the north, to Narooma in the south. It’s a place of great natural beauty, with countless options for outdoor activities and a deep sense of history.
Inspired? Watch our three-part video series Eurobodalla: Yuin People and immerse yourself in the region.
An Ancient Ceremony
‘Close your eyes,’ Trish, our local Aboriginal guide, said to me as she showered me in smoke. As part of Trish’s tour, we took part in an Aboriginal smoking ceremony used to cleanse and ward off bad spirits.
The aromatic smoke danced around my body and spiralled into my nostrils, reminding me of the 2019-20 bushfires and how this area had been so badly affected. As I blinked open my eyes and looked through the smoke I saw the lush green plants around me.
Nature is tenacious, and while evidence of the fires still remains, the regrowth in the whole region is impressive – local people are clearly working hard to rebuild their lives.
Trish’s company is called Minga Cultural Experiences. Minga is one of three names Trish has been given throughout her life to date. She explained that an Aboriginal person will receive many names in their life as they change and grow, and that Minga is her favourite. It means ‘wise’ and it suits her perfectly!
Growing up on Bingi Bingi Point
Trish showed us around Bingi Bingi Point, a scenic headland in the Eurobodalla National Park. ‘This one’s called Lomandra’, she’d said, tugging off a strong green reed and beginning to weave it with her hands. ‘We can make rope, bracelets and all manner of things with this tough grass and when the fruits turn brown we can eat them’.
She introduced us to the aptly named Pig Face fruit which grows on the ground and is edible when it hits a pinky colour. The taste is surprisingly delicious, a kiwi-meets-fig kind of flavour.
Trish also pointed out a resident sea eagle which was circling above us. Eagles have spiritual significance for Aboriginal people and are seen as protectors and creators. In fact, there’s no shortage of wildlife in Eurobodalla, including kangaroos, Bottlenose dolphins, and of course the fur seals on nearby Montague Island (Barunguba) which we could see in the distance from Bingi Bingi Point.
Bingi Bingi Point is part of the Bingi Dreaming Track, a 13km walk which links the places visited by Aboriginal people – from spots for trade and ceremonies to freshwater sites and campsites.
On our tour, Trish showed us Casuarina needles – ‘perfect for making a soft bedding to sleep on’. The truth is, I would’ve walked straight over these without even noticing were it not for Trish. It’s amazing how her insight added to everything around us and brought it all to life. Trish’s knowledge seems deeply embedded, she spoke so passionately and shared so generously, eager to impart as much as she could on us during our time together.
Locals Who Love The Land
I felt a similar fervour with other locals here, like Jade at the Wray Street Oyster Shed in Batemans Bay who not only filled us with freshly shucked oysters, but with tonnes of information about what makes the region so perfect for growing them, and how her family business started 64 years ago.
She’s an award-winning shucker and possibly the most cheerful person in Eurobodalla – such a smiley, happy being who clearly loves what she does!
If you’re not an oyster lover, give the seafood chowder a go – it’s a massive portion served in a huge homemade loaf of sourdough.
Riding & Paddling Through Eurobodalla
Then there’s Warrick and the guys at Region X who took us kayaking in Clyde River National Park, they know that maze of mangroves inside out! A truly off-the-beaten-track experience with the added perk of guides who know the local history well.
The Clyde River is Batemans Bay’s largest estuary system and oyster farming flourishes here. Slide beneath red gums upstream or explore hidden beaches. Tours run from half a day to multiple nights, the choice is up to you.
Sally at Southbound Escapes hooked us up with e-bikes to ride from the historic gold rush village of Central Tilba to Narooma. In Central Tilba you’ll discover a heritage-listed town full of little shopping gems. You’ll have no trouble finding something authentic and handcrafted!
Central Tilba is also home to a historic pub, The Dromedary Hotel (The Drom), which stands prominently at the foothills of Gulaga.
Sunset Over Mother Gulaga
Dave’s sunset river cruise on the Wagonga Princess was the perfect end to our trip. I’ll never forget the majestic sight of the sun dipping behind Mother Gulaga, the Mother Mountain. She’s in the shape of a reclining woman, facing the sea, an amazingly calming presence, like a guardian keeping a watchful eye on this very special region.
Keep Exploring! Our three-part video series Eurobodalla: Yuin People will immerse you in the region and the personalities that make it so special.