🌅 Batemans Bay trip: Sunrises, sun, and a tonne of trails

Back in January, Nick and I took the opportunity to go away for a couple of days as there was a public holiday for Australia Day. Since we’re still in a situation where we cannot travel internationally and are limited in where we can travel interstate, we planned this trip rather quickly. We weren’t too keen on heading out to the mountains or up north, so we decided to take a trip down south since we hadn’t explored much of that area.

We decided to go to Batemans Bay, which is about four hours south. Going down the south coast seemed like a nice change, and neither Nick or myself had been there.

A very pink and deep purple sunrise on the water. There is barely any light and the sun cannot yet be seen.
A beautiful sunrise on the day we left Bateman’s Bay to go home

On our way, we planned to stop in Bulli and visit Timber Mill Cafe, an open cafe which was in a community space that also had a shop and an art gallery. It was quite a hot day (well, the whole weekend was hot!), and we’d been to the gym before we left, so we were both hungry and thirsty. I don’t drive often and usually Nick prefers to drive, while I prefer to be in the passenger seat, but I drove to the cafe this time. It was good to get used to driving again – even though I used to drive almost every day when I lived in the suburbs, I haven’t driven a lot in the past few years, and I definitely don’t want to panic and get anxious every time I get in the driver’s seat simply because I don’t drive enough.

I got avocado on toast at the cafe, which was seasoned with some chilli oil and some nori flakes. It was a nice touch! I got an iced coffee, which I did my best to preserve until we had completed more of our trip. You have to plan those toilet breaks!

A plate with toast served with avocado, nori seaweed and chilli oil
Nori and chilli oil on avocado toast – a nice twist 🌶

By the time we arrived at our accommodation, we were pretty tired and had arrived a couple of hours after we planned to arrive. We had experienced a lot of traffic on our way out of Sydney and as I drove to the cafe – what was supposed to take an hour or so, took more like two. 😓

A view of a stretch of road during the day. The sky has some clouds in it. The road is a motorway with some cars on the road
Back on the road 🚘

We did get there before reception closed, and the lady showed us around our room and even offered us to stay another night, free of charge, since we were leaving on a public holiday and they wouldn’t have any cleaners in, nor any new guests. We didn’t take up the offer since we had to be at work the next day. It would have been very lovely to stay another night, though, especially when we saw how lovely the place was!

A kitchen with a wooden high table, wooden shelving, white whitegoods and cupboards, and some lighting hanging from the ceiling
A kitchen that looks like home

Although pricey, the accommodation was worth the money. We had a place with two bedrooms (obviously we only used one!), a large kitchen, a living area, and a huge bath that was in a large separate room from the toilet and shower. The whole space looked like it was previously an office space that was refurbished. There was a downstairs common area with a pool table and some bikes and seating, which was shared between the people staying downstairs and in the loft. We were in the loft – we didn’t really use the common area though.

A big white bathtub placed on the ground of a bathroom. A white painted wooden stool sits next to it. There is brown wooden shelving against the walls.
Why, as an adult, do I always get excited by the notion of a bath? 🤨
The common area of a hotel, resembling a cosy office. There is a desk with a computer and some shelving on the walls, attached close to the ceiling. To the side is a wooden boat, as decoration, with some cushions in it. Two bicycles sit in the corner behind the boat.
We barely saw anyone use this common area!

That evening we went for a walk along the promenade and just hung out in our accomodation for a bit. We walked around the town centre and ate fish and chips at a fish and chip shop by the water. It seemed quite popular. It looked like many eateries required a reservation, so we made a reservation at a pizza place for the next evening.

The next day I planned for us to do a couple of trails in the national parks in the area. I was pretty keen and we left really early – knowing that it was a very hot day and that it would be unpleasant to be outside in the heat for too long, especially in the middle of the day. We hoped to head out early, and then come back for brunch.

A view from a second floor balcony, of the sunrise on the water. The promenade can be seen down below. There are streaks of clouds across the sky
A beautiful sunrise on the second day 🌅

I had been looking on our national parks site for some trails to do that weren’t too intense. Murramarang National Park seemed like a good option, but I was more interested in the trails in Meroo National Park. Unfortunately, following a 40-minute drive, and doing a small trail that was supposed to have a lookout, we discovered that the national park was not well kept. We had to weave through a fair few spiderwebs and long grass. The beach and a more open trail was as good as it got – there was supposed to be a lookout, but we never found it. 😩

A secluded, yellow sand beach with some grass in the foreground. It is early morning and the sky is a bright blue. A cliff can be seen at the side.
The secluded beach at the end of the short trail at Meroo National Park

A lot of the path was destroyed by fallen trees. I think we realised the true effect of the bushfires that occurred in Australia a year ago. There were a lot of trees, but it wasn’t lush like a forest. The trees provided enough shade, but it was easy to see the sun through them. The trunks of trees were totally blackened, but some new growth was still visible.

There was some signage that showed that there was a toilet at the beginning of the track, but it looks like the fires had been so bad that the toilet must have burned down in the blaze.

A trail covered in old leaves, leading between thin trees. Sunlight leaks through the trees
Part of the leaf-covered trail, with very little canopy from the trees

The next trail we tried seemed more promising, because it wasn’t as covered in long grass. I was hoping it would lead onto the next trail I had in mind, which would go around a pond/swamp and make a return trip of a comfortable three kilometres. But unfortunately, it was not well travelled, and it didn’t look like anyone had walked the path in months and months. Although it was almost 10:00am at this time, it was starting to get quite warm, and this next trail did not look like a lot of fun. As well as barely having semblance of a path, there was no shade, so the sun would be directly on us.

Long yellow grass nearby a swamp, with a barely visible path leading into the distance. It appears to be a hot sunny day
It seemed pretty swampy, and there wasn’t any shade, nor a clear path, so we decided not to continue
A dusty, well trodden path between many trees in bushland. Some trees can be seen to have fallen.
Heading back to the car… a more approachable trail

We made the decision to head back and check out Murramarang National Park instead. As we headed in and paid for the $8 entry fee at a parking meter, Nick pointed out that the entry fee suggested that we should have come to this park in the first place. The roads were well marked, the signage was sufficient, and it looked well kept.

A path through a rainforest walk. Different kinds of trees and plants are visible, and fallen and cut tree trunks sit around the path
These fallen tree trunks were cut to allow us to walk through, but were largely untouched

We did the rainforest trail, which was a short trail through a small rainforest that was well signposted. It was a bit of a detour for a small trail that went down to the beach. By the time we got to the beach, we saw a lot of people hanging out there.

A yellow sand beach with blue waters
Depot Beach

There was another trail further down the beach (which would no doubt be better than the experience we had at Meroo National Park!) but we were getting hungry, so we chose to drive back to the city centre and get brunch at a place called Crumb Cafe.

We went for a drive to Burrewarra Point. If I remember correctly, I think I found it on the map, and knew there was a short walk through some banksia, and a lightstation. It was only about 1.5km to walk, and even though there was a bit of soft sand at the beginning of the trail (that went into my shoes a little), we spotted an old bunker, and a viewing platform, and even an echidna!

A view of the ocean from a viewing platform, with dark rock formations in the foreground. It is a sunny day with an almost cloudless sky
The view from the platform
A selfie of a man and woman, both with sunglasses on their head, and a view of the ocean in the background. It is a sunny day
A man walking towards a lightstation that is several storeys tall. It appears to be in the middle of bushland
This lightstation seems to differ slightly from your traditional lighthouse
A small echidna crawling into the grass at the side of a walking trail
Nick spotted the echidna! I couldn’t get a great photo of it.

After a bit of wandering – thanks to my uncontrollable curiosity on nature trails – we found a cliff with some wonderful views. These photos definitely don’t do the actual view any justice. This definitely felt a little more worthwhile than what we’d seen earlier that day. 😅 I really live for the spots that are off the beaten track (literally), the stuff that isn’t signposted, and I really somewhat live for breaking the rules a little and being adventurous, finding vantage points and incredible views that no one would really think of following the strange paths to.

A view of the deep blue ocean with a cliff face in the foreground, of both an earthy yellow colour and a grey colour
We wandered a little bit to find this view. This doesn’t even begin to do it justice

Nick doesn’t dig it as much. I get it, though – there is an element of danger and uncertainty, and in this kind of climate and terrain, it seems risky. I also know that he bores of the “same-looking” and somewhat repetitive nature trails after a while. But I sort of live for the endurance of them. It really is a bit like the journey mattering more than the destination… but also that sometimes, I set expectations that the destination is not always great. Sometimes it’s underwhelming.

This one wasn’t, though. I do genuinely think that Nick can get bothered by my perseverance towards these kinds of hikes/trails, because the view is not often “worth it”, and when it’s not, I have an even greater thirst for adventure.

A woman with outstretched arms, dressed in activewear. She is standing on an earthy yellow cliff face and smiling, with a great view of the deep blue ocean behind her. In the foreground, on the cliff, are barren-looking trees with only branches left
This photo of me at this incredible view doesn’t do it justice either.

We went to Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve next. It was something that was just across the bay, but that I wanted to check out before we left. At this point the car was really struggling in the heat. I didn’t even realise it was close to 39ºC. 🥵 We stopped to get a Coke No Sugar at a convenience store and then finished the afternoon with the Mangrove Walk at the nature reserve. It did involve walking along a boardwalk and being exposed to more sun at a small beach, but we did see some colonies of little hermit crabs.

A dirt beach with large rocks on the sand surface. The water is at very low tide and the beach curves around into the distance. The blue sky is covered in clouds
It was a very hot day, but there were still people enjoying the outdoors
A lightly coloured dirt beach at very low tide
Everything was quite low tide, probably due to the nature of the reserve
A number of small rocks arranged in a circle, on an open dirt area in a desolate place
Someone has been here 👀
A shallow creek with dirt in the foreground. Tiny holes, formed by hermit crabs, cover the dirt. In the background are lush green trees
There was a boardwalk on the mangrove walk, and we spotted a looooot of hermit crabs down below
A very shallow and uneven body of water. The cloudy sky creates reflections in the water. Some trees can be seen in the background but look dark like shadows.
Walking back from Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve

Eventually we were back at our hotel and I washed my hair and took a bath. I really lay there for a while just zoning out while listening to music. Then I took some time out to stretch. There was so much space in the hotel room that I was enjoying it as much as I could!

For dinner we went to the pizza place called Sam’s Pizza on the Waterfront, at which we’d made a reservation. Nick ordered a pizza and I ordered a herb oil based pasta. I love those simple pastas a lot! We ended up getting one free drink each because our food orders somehow got misplaced. We still enjoyed all of our time there. 😊

A man with dark brown hair, in a red summery patterned shirt, sitting at a table with Hawaiian pizza
Nick highly rates this place (so do I) 🍕
A bowl of linguine pasta cooked with chilli oil, dressed with rocket and garnished with parmesan and parsley
If you know me, you know I loooooove pasta with chilli oil 🤤

The next morning we made our way home rather early. We planned to stop in the town of Ulladulla, just under an hour away. I chose to drive there so at least I could get used to driving again! We parked the car in an underground carpark to keep it as cool as possible, and then had breakfast at a cafe. I got the “smooshed avo” and it really looked like there was an entire garden on my avocado toast, haha.

An early morning view of a lake with some boats on it. The sky is bright blue. In the foreground are big concrete steps lined with grass. There are some large trees on the bank
The view for breakfast
A birds-eye view of a wooden table with two plates; one plate is served with greens and avocado on toast with poached eggs and feta; the other is served with two fried eggs on toast with bacon
Me: avocado toast; Nick: bacon and eggs. We are quite predictable

While we were in Ulladulla we stopped by a lighthouse, which also offered a nice view of the sea. I walked down a bushland trail next to it, and then began to run down it to “check it out” and report back to Nick. I missed a fork in the trail, and ended up messaging Nick a few minutes later, and he’d found the lookout that I had missed. 😂 I can be such an idiot. I didn’t see much else as I’d ran a couple hundred metres down the trail, and although I spotted some Australian flora, everything started to look largely the same and uninteresting, so I ran back to meet up with Nick again. 😆

A white lighthouse in the middle of a dead-end road. The sky in the background is blue with streaks of clouds.
The lighthouse we stopped by in Ulladulla
A view of the ocean, with the sun reflecting strongly on the water’s surface. The water has some movement in it.
The view from around the lighthouse
A tall arch, made from wood, over a dirt path, with “Gari bagan” carved into a boomerang-shaped sign on top.
The entrance to the short trail near the lighthouse

We continued our drive hone, doing our best to put up with the extreme heat as midday grew closer. We stuck to buying drinks to keep us hydrated and refreshed, but we were also aware of the need for toilet breaks.

Since we were passing through Kiama, we stopped at the Kiama blowhole, a tourist attraction that is underwhelming the second time you see it. 😆 Nick recalled seeing it as a child. He said that even though he didn’t really remember it, upon seeing the blowhole, he said it was exactly how he remembered it. I didn’t remember if I’d seen it or if my family from Indonesia saw it when I was still in primary school and I only saw photos of it, but it looked somewhat familiar and was pretty much exactly as I’d expected.

A lighthouse with stairs leading up to it and a viewing platform. In the foreground are big rocks forming an uneven surface. The sky is blue with several clouds
The view of the lighthouse at Kiama
A woman with long dark hair in a ponytail, wearing sunglasses. She is dressed in a white top and checkered shorts and white shoes, and is standing on a big rocky surface with the ocean in the background
Thanks Nick for always taking nice photos of me 😊

We thought we’d take a scenic (albeit longer) route on one leg of the trip, but it was a bit of a disappointment since we were just driving through suburban towns, past malls and big roads that weren’t much different from where we both grew up. Hahah.

Overall, we had a great trip away for the weekend. It was something different for us, and we got a taste of the south coast. We also thought about the possibility of visiting other towns in the region in the future. We also got the car looked at, so the air conditioning is much better now. 🚗😀

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