Travelling through the South Pacific Ocean is an unforgettable way to see both the familiar and unfamiliar spots along our coastline. Whether it be giant cliffs seen from the bow of the boat or calming waters sweeping a private inlet, coastal hopping in a boat is becoming one of the more popular ways to travel Australia. Fiona Harper’s Boating Guide to NSW, Short Stays and Long Weekends explores the very best of coastal hopping NSW. The book is available for purchase here and is published by New Holland Publishers.
The southernmost deep-water habour on NSW’s Sapphire Coast, the town of Eden is well known by Sydney to Hobart yacht racers who utilise the harbour as a last port of refuge, should one be required, before crossing Bass Strait.
Blessed with sweeping beaches awash with implausibly aquamarine seas, the coastal town of Merimbula takes full advantage of its scenic coastline and sheltered waters from every vantage point. It also has a busy central hub for shopping, galleries, cafes, pubs and more. There are so many wonderful places to walk, jog, swim, whale watch, sail, paddleboard, and if you are surfer, the beaches around here and in Eden are renowned for great breaks. But if it’s beaches you are after, Merimbula has ooddles of them – from wildly rugged sanctuaries beneath cliffs, to tranquil and sandy inlets and bays with picnic areas and kids’s playgrounds a-plenty.
Well known as a deep sea game-fishing port thanks to its proximity to the continental shelf lying 20km offshore, Bermagui is a seafood lover’s dream destination. The main street is lined with interpretive panels describing common fish species that may be hooked in offshore.
Batemans Bay is known for the succulent local seafood its waters produce, but there are plenty of other great things to do while in town, and the coastal walks around headlands and along beaches and inlets are a great way to take in the stunning scenery. For an art fix while getting your steps in, the 1.5-kilometre-long Batemans Bay Sculpture Walk takes you through Batemans Bay CBD and along the foreshore to the busy marina.
A small harbour protected from the Tasman Sea behind protruding seawalls, Ulladulla is primarily a fishing-boat harbour offering bare essentials for recreational boaters. If you are after a fun and scenic day trip, head out to Kings Point, south of Ulladulla on the upper shores of Burrill Lake. Here you can go swimming, fishing and take your pick of water sports. The surrounding bushland offers great walks, and here the lake is at its deepest and most peaceful, so it is an ideal place to go for a kayak.
Fames for its dazzling white-sand beaches which wrap around the 100-od sq. peanut-shaped bay of Jervis Bay Marine Park, the towns of Callala, Huskisson, Vincentia and Hyams Beach are dotted along the western shore.
The third largest city in NSW, Wollongong’s (otherwise known as ‘the Gong’) limited maritime facilities mean it is often bypassed by boat owners cruising the NSW coast. Excavation of the small harbour utilised convict labour in the 1830s and was initially built to support a burgeoning cedar industry.
If you enjoyed this coastal hopping story, read here for more about our beautiful coastal areas.