Imagine arriving in Australia in 1770 just as Captain James Cook did, sailing up the East Coast, being awe-stuck by the pristine, sparkling beaches, the lush bushland and glimpses of unique wildlife; Today, Bawley Point on the Clyde Coast is not much changed since that first sighting by Europeans and the natural wonders are a Mecca for those wanting to truly experience and enjoy a little part of the world, unspoiled by human development.
Bawley Point is a small coastal hamlet halfway between the two larger towns of Bateman’s Bay and Ulladulla on the south coast of New South Wales. Here the activity focus is on the natural pursuits of bushwalking, swimming, fishing and just getting away from the hustle and bustle of life to find some quiet time to recharge.
The village has all you need if staying in self-contained holiday rentals. There is a small supermarket, butcher, baker, bottle shop and take-away. You won’t find anything here to distract you from relaxing. No hotels, clubs, poker machines, fast-food outlets or cinemas. However, all these services are within a half-hour drive. As far as accommodation in Bawley Point goes, it also doesn’t have high-rise apartment buildings or 5-star resorts. Even though the population here is under a thousand, there are plenty of holiday rentals, mostly self-contained houses suitable for families or groups of friends and also some secluded cottages for a romantic getaway. If you want to be looked after though, there are also a number of very quaint beachside and bush bed and breakfast accommodations and a couple of boutique eco-spa resorts.
Imagine going for an early morning walk along the beach and yours are the only footprints in the sand. Imagine seeing trees over a thousand years old, standing majestically in the forest, imagine hugging one and feeling the energy of something that has been alive for so long. Bawley Point is strategically located between the Murramarang National Park, Meroo National Park, Morton National Park and the Kioloa State Forest, so you can enjoy this and more. The Clyde Coast area is named for the Clyde River which is known as the cleanest river on the Australian east coast.
The local beaches include Bawley Point Beach itself as well as Shell Beach, Racecourse Beach, Merry Beach, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach and some that haven’t even been named. They make ideal venues for a picnic and to enjoy popular beach activities such as swimming, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and boating.
The National Parks and Reserves surrounding Bawley Point have an abundance of flora, wildlife and Australian birds. Several walks are accessible from Pretty Beach. The Durras Mountain summit walk is 4.5km (2 hours), Clear Point walk is 6.7km (3 hours), Snake Bay walk is 8.9km(3 and a half hours) and the Pebbly Beach walk is 8.4km (3 and a half hours). An excellent walk is to the top of Pigeon House Mountain which has lovely tea rooms where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the south coast while sipping a cuppa. Imagine a day out walking in the bush or paddling a sea-kayak around the coastline and then returning to your holiday rental feeling more relaxed and at home than you do at home.
When Captain Cook first sailed passed on April 23, 1770, he made his first recording of direct observation of Indigenous Australians at Brush Island near Bawley Point. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Murramarang Point within the Murramarang Aboriginal Area which is the largest unmounded midden on the NSW south coast, with artefacts found in sediments dated to 12,000 years ago. The easy accessibility and the multitude of artefacts and midden material provide you with a rare and unique opportunity to closely examine an Australian Aboriginal site.
A drive in the neighbouring countryside unlocks some hidden treasures like the Fern Gully winery, which is open for wine tastings and cellar door sales. At nearby Termeil are the stables of Timbertops Horse Riding which caters for beginners and experienced riders, children and adults. They offer one hour horseriding trails as well as two day horse treks though state forest and bushland.
The area is also home to a small but talented and passionate artists’ community and there are many small galleries open to the public. You may be inspired yourself to sit on the verandah of your holiday cottage with an easel and paint brush and try to capture the unique scenery and light that is Australia.
Canberra (The nation’s capital) is approximately two and a half hours scenic drive with plenty to see and do on arrival.
The climate on the south coast is moderate to cool for most of the year. The lovely sea breezes prevent it becoming too unbearable in summer with maximum being 30°C (but then there’s the lovely blue ocean to cool off in. Spring (September-November) is probably the very best time when it is not too hot and the wildflowers make a walk through the bushland even more spectacular. Autumn (March-May) is also good for bushwalking as it is not too hot. Winters are a little cool for swimming but certainly the scenery, peace and other attractions are still at peak. Winter temperatures range between 10°C-20°C.
Travel south from Sydney on the Princess Highway, passing Wollongong and Ulladulla and turn off at Termeil and follow the road signs.
From Melbourne, travel up the Hume Highway to Canberra, or take the Princess Highway along the coast to Batemans Bay.
From Canberra take the Kings Highway to the south coast and turn left onto the Princess Highway at Batemans Bay, then follow the road signs to Bawley Point and your holiday accommodation.