Australia: An Epic Road-trip, Part 2

Part 2 - Exploring the Sapphire Coast

From Wollongong, we headed to the Sapphire Coast via the coastal road, Princess Highway. The plan was to stop at famous sites and for R to drive for 4 hours max a day and spend the rest of the day exploring or on outdoor activities like hiking. Doing the road in a linear fashion felt as if we were really on a road-trip. Our car was packed with huge suitcases for a month worth of clothes, groceries and water. The drive on the coastal road was incredible. Princess Highway was sandwiched between the coast and the mountains, the scenery was amazing. I saw a few kangaroo and wallaby carcasses along the road. R warned me to keep my eyes peeled for a kangaroo or kangaroos crossing the road. They usually come out before sunset, stop, jump, cross and stop and get ran over by motorists.

After two hours, we arrived at Milton, a town known for historic buildings which could be seen from the highway, for example, the Heritage Bakery Shop - Milton 1870. 

We stopped for lunch in Ulladulla, the town right next to Milton. It's famous for its fishing harbor. We're supposed to find the biggest Woolworth's (a place that we frequently visited on this road trip) in the town center that ran along the highway. However, we did not get our lunch at Woolworth's but ordered fish and chips takeout from the famous seafood restaurant in town. I was pleasantly surprised to have the option of having the fish in the 'fish and chips' grilled instead of fried. We ate at the picnic table in the park facing the beach and the Ulladulla Harbour.  

Tuross Head

A few kilometers off the Princess Highway, we stopped at Tuross Head, a seaside town surrounded by water: Colla Lake, Tuross Lake and Tuross River. It offers coastal trails and a diversity of bushland and coastal dunes to explore.  But we only made the stop to see its most famous attraction - the One Tree Point - and for R to rest. L and I went to the top of the hill to enjoy the stunning scenery that was part of  McWilliam Park and Tuross Head Natural Heritage. L and I went for a short coastal walk while R went in the car to get some rest.


Next, we headed to Narooma just off the Princess Highway. R & L had visited the place before, so they knew exactly where to go. We went straight to the Australia Rock at the end of the Bar Rock Road. They dared me to climb the Australia Rock, a natural rock formation that resembles the map of Australia.  It's said that the Australia Rock was formed as a result of thousands of years of erosion of the ancient chert and shale headlands. Climbing the Australia Rock was not easy. R had to assist me and offered his back as my ladder. When I reached the top, it was so windy for taking pictures. Luckily, it was low-tide, and I found another path to go back to the top of the rock for another photo-op. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the afternoon taking pictures at the Australia Rock and did not get to explore the beaches, other rock sites and rainforest in the National Park and Wildlife Reserve.


We left Princess Highway to get to Bermagui, our home away from home for two nights and three days. Bermagui is described as a coastal haven at the northern entrance to the Sapphire Coast in some travel brochures. But for me, it seemed to be the center of the Sapphire Coast because all the attractions that we visited were a short drive away.  In fact, the Blue Pool one of the most famous attractions was walking distance from our cabin (Caravan Park).  The following morning, we tried to get our feet wet in the blue pool, an ocean pool that was carved into the rocks and flushed with seawater. The marine life was abundant when we visited that the seals and the sapphire-colored water and the surrounding seascape took my attention away from the blue pool.  

The Horse Head Rock, the Camel Rock and Camel Rock Beach

R & L had been to Bermagui before and like most visitors to this place, they saw the Horse Head Rock from the lookout. One of the oldest rock formations found in the Sapphire Coast, the Horse Head Rock resembles the horse head from the neck, hence the name. On this second visit, R & L made it a goal to see the rock up-close and personal. However, seeing the Horse Head Rock up-close and personal requires climbing through very rough and sharp-edged rock, and it could only be done during low tide. So, the timing was very important.  The two were really adamant in climbing the rock that they talked to the nice lady at the visitor center, who climbed the rock before. While they were talking, I went out to use the Wi-Fi. So, I missed out on the lady's suggestions, precautions and warnings. I only realized how dangerous it was when we actually started walking/climbing the small sharp-edged rocks. I thought if one of us fell, then it would be the end of our road-trip.  I honestly thought, they would not go through the whole thing. So, I took my time taking a video from behind while the two tried to walk slowly and safely, holding on to one sharp rock at a time. It took us 30 minutes to reach the Horse Head Rock. And all the efforts and troubles we went through in climbing the sharp-edged rocks was well worth it. 

Camel Rock and Camel Rock Surf Beach

You can't climb and go to the Horse Head Rock without passing the Camel Rock and Camel Rock Surf Beach. The whole rock formation resembles the shape of a camel.

Mystery Beach and Glass House Beach

Some of the beaches we explored in the Sapphire Coast included the Mystery Beach and the Glass House Beach.

Mystery Beach.  Curious about what's the mystery in Mystery Beach, R just followed the sign that says, "To Mystery Beach" off the Princess Highway. When we arrived, there was no one around. We walked the expansive white sand beach to get to rocky side that seemed to be great for photo-op. L and I spent our time taking pictures while R walked around the beach. He saw a kayaker who explained to him how the beach got its name.  Apparently, there were sailors who went missing and never to be found. 

Glass House Beach.  We returned to the Princess Highway to go to the Glass House Beach. R said he discovered a path to get to the Glass House Beach from their previous visit. So, we saved some time in walking the coastal trail to get to the beach. He parked the car by the cemetery, and we took the trail less traveled so to speak. 

Rock formations with a kangaroo-shaped rock on top

Tilba Tilba and Tilba 

Of course, we could not connect back to the Princess Highway without passing Tilba Tilba  and Tilba villages protected by the National Trust for their historic nature.  We came to Tilba village for ice cream before going to Bermagui. But the whole place was empty, all the stores were closed. We returned the following day and made sure to visit before 3:00pm. We walked around to explore the historic village. With the vintage establishments like the post office and gas station, it appeared like a living history. And with the ice-cream shop, candy store, tea shop and bakery, and art gallery, it felt as if we're walking through a village that was plucked from a page of a fairy tale book. The surrounding area was not bad either. It was surrounded by rolling green hills and striking landscape. R finally got his ice-cream fix. 

Two days later, we said goodbye to Bermagui. The drive and the scenery turned less dramatic. We stopped at small towns like Merimbulla, Tathra, Eden for coffee break or lunch or make a visit to Woolworth's, IGA and Cole to get our food supply for the next cabin. During our stop at the small towns, we visited and explored some of the town's highlight, for example, the Tathra Memorial Gardens in Tathra.  In Eden, we got to explore the Killer Whale Museum and got to walk around town to see the historical sites like the courthouse, the police station, and admired the architecture of the old buildings that were converted into hotels. 

From there, we continued with a scenic drive that took us along mountain passes, misty mountains and miles and miles of road lined with eucalyptus trees.  TO BE CONTINUED


Ulladula Harbour

Mystery Beach

The Blue Pool (Southern Shore)

The Blue Pool

Tuross Head 

To Horse Head Rock/ Past the Camel Head Surf Beach

Tilba Village

1. All pictures taken by the author
2. Not using my travel companions' real names in this article for the protection of their privacy.
3. I have no material connections to the products, brand names, tourist sites mentioned in this article.


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