Best Beat the Heat Beaches for Canberrans in 2019
Canberra’s weather can be a very temperamental. In winter, temperatures can dip below freezing and during the warmer months can rise to record highs. With an absence of a beach, these sweltering summer days can border on oppressive, but they don’t have to.
Two-and-a-half hour’s drive south-east of our Nation’s Capital, on the New South Wales South Coast, resides the city of Shoalhaven. It offers a 170 kilometre stretch of pristine coastline, showcasing 100 beaches just waiting for Canberran’s to bury their toes in the sand. During a recent trip to Shoalhaven, I visited five of my favourite beaches, that are guaranteed to be at the top of your list when looking to beat the heat in Summer 2019.
As I arrive at Mollymook beach, I look out over the grassy headlands at the sweeping two-kilometre beach of golden sand. Patrolled by several surf lifesavers, the waves are perfect for body boarding, not too rough, and not too calm that the waves would not carry me into shore. Whilst in the ocean, I also spy several hopefuls casting their lines off the rocks on the nearby headland, waiting to hook dinner.
The Bogey Hole
A short walk up from Mollymook’s main beach, and just before the surfer’s haven, Collers Beach, is the Bogey Hole. A spacious and relaxing tidal rock pool with gentle waves that flow freely over a ring of rocks fifty or so metres from the shoreline. The Bogey Hole is perfect for young swimmers looking to gradually build their confidence before eventually tackling the open waters of the main beach.
Fortunately, I timed my visit to coincide when the tide was at its peak, affording me the perfect conditions to undertake some snorkelling. During the half an hour or so I spent leisurely floating above the water, I managed to spy several schools of small flathead and bream, as well as the odd crab and periwinkle clinging to rocks below the surface.
Collers Beach has always been a hidden gem for surfers on the South Coast for its reef breaks at either end, forming some of the best barrels anywhere in New South Wales, and its reputation did not disappoint. I managed to catch some of the gnarliest waves since the beginning of last summer and it seriously made me question why I ever moved away from the South Coast.
Dolphin Point Beach
As I left Burrill Lake’s renowned fish and chip shop, after working up an appetite surfing at Collers, I ventured to the other side of the highway to Dolphin Point Beach. I found an empty picnic table perched on the elevated headland overlooking the ocean. As I devoured my battered whiting, I witnessed stand up-paddle boarders making their way towards shore of the popular holiday park where children were making sandcastles and frolicking in the shallows.
As I make my way down the cobbled pathway to the shorefront, I spy celebrity chef Rick Stein’s critically acclaimed hotel and restaurant to my right. Perched atop Narrawallee’s main headland, Banisters offers dinners a first class view, even on dreary days like today. Unfortunately, the surfing conditions didn’t get much better. Signs had been erected near the water’s edge warning swimmers of on-shore winds that had stirred up bluebottles in the area. However, I did not let this sully my day. The ocean is not the only appeal that Narrawallee is famous for, as it is also a hotspot for shell collectors young (and in my case, old).
In summary, the stunning beaches and spectacular views along the Shoalhaven coast are definitely worth the drive for Canberran’s looking to beat the heat in Summer, 2019.