Three coastal escapes for autumn (and yes, you can still swim) | HerCanberra

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Three coastal escapes for autumn (and yes, you can still swim)

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Before you ask—yes, it is still warm enough to swim.

After all, this is your last chance before winter to dip those toes into rockpools, wade out into the waves and relax in the sun on the sand before winter hits.

Will a quick trip to the beach made you feel a thousand times more relaxed? Yes.

Do you have to travel far? No.

Have we got some great recommendations for a quick and breezy autumn escape? You bet.



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A post shared by VISIT BERMAGUI (@beautifulbermagui)

How far: 3.5 hours from Canberra, via Batemans Bay

Why we love it: It’s that little bit further from Canberra, meaning it’s a town filled with residents, not tourists.

The vibe: Elevated coastal chic with exceptional beaches and a famous ocean pool.

Where to eat  

Bermagui is spoiled for choice when it comes to food.

In the morning, head to Honorbread for exceptional sourdough, croissants or Swedish cinnamon or cardamom buns. Be warned—they sell out fast!

Boneless on Bermagui’s main street serves up innovative and delicious brunch and lunch that will have you rethinking the concept of vegetarian food while Bermi’s Beachside Cafe offers stacks of pancakes with lashings of bacon and maple syrup.

For dinner, head to the Bermagui Beach Hotel, where chic renovations have made way for a relaxed restaurant that serves a mouth-watering mix of fresh seafood and elevated pub favourites or cross the river to dine at Octopii, whose Mediterranean flavours showcase Bermagui’s phenomenal seafood perfectly.

Of course, seafood is sometimes best served simply, so if it’s fish and chips you’re after, head to the Bermagui Fishermans Wharf to order some of the best on the coast from Blue Wave Seafood. Fancy a sweet treat? Pop two shopfronts along to the Bermagui Gelati Clinic (yes, that’s its name) for a cold scoop (or three!).

Where to drink 

The Bermagui Beach Hotel has billion-dollar views across Horseshoe Bay and up towards the stunning Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) and for coffee it has to be Mister Hope, which serves phenomenal coffee and loaded Foccacia baked in-house daily.

Where to stay 

Mimosa Wines, a family-owned vineyard, cellar door and restaurant in nearby Murrah, has two charming cottages across the vineyard from its restaurant; The Farmstead can sleep nine and The Vineyard Cottage sleeps four.

What to do

Beautiful beaches abound on the Sapphire Coast, but for a particularly memorable swimming or snorkelling experience, Bermagui’s Blue Pool is a natural rock pool that lies at the base of a dramatic rocky cliff face.

There’s also Horseshoe Bay (a wide, sandy beach), Bruce Steer Pool (a long and narrow netted beach that’s protected from the wind by cliffs and a seawall) and the gorgeous Bermagui River, perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking.

Bermagui’s main street holds plenty of shopping opportunities too, from the fabulously retro Strangers in Paradise, where you can browse vintage records and antique furniture, to Mermaids of Bermagui and Boho Republic.


How far: 3 hours from Canberra via Cooma

Why we love it: We think that Tathra’s laid back vibes stem from the town’s main street faces directly onto the beach. How can you not be instantly relaxed with a view like that?

The vibe: Family-friendly surfer with wide sandy beaches and sweet cafes.

Where to eat

We love the breakfasts, smoothies and coffee from uber-chic Wild Orchid and the sandwiches and baked goods at Blend Providore down the road.

Sapphire Coast oysters are prized—taste fresh award-winning Sydney rock oysters from family-owned Tathra Oysters’ Little Shop Behind The House in Tathra, or order a dozen how you like them at local restaurants such as Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill.

Want to get your hands dirty? Find out everything there is to know about oyster farming river and shuck your own with Captain Sponge’s Magical Oyster Tours on the Pambula River, just down the road.

Where to drink 

If craft beer is your thing, pull up a seat at the historic Tathra Hotel, which is home to the Humpback Brewery.

Where to stay 

For a holiday house with character, consider Clifftop at Tathra Beach. This two-bedroom, 1960s-era home set on the cliffs above Tathra Beach has a wonderfully retro beach house vibe.

What to do

The only remaining deep-water timber wharf on Australia’s east coast, Tathra Wharf, built in 1862, holds a significant place in maritime history. Once a docking station for steamships carrying cargo and passengers between the Bega Valley and Sydney, the wharf is now more popular for its café-gallery, The Wharf Local, and the fascinating Tathra Wharf Museum.

Tathra is also a great base for mountain biking, with the Bundadung Mountain Biking Network beginning just 800m from the hub of all things mountain biking, Tathra Beach and Bike.

Jervis Bay

How far: 3 hours

Why we love it: White sand beaches and lush forest make for a picture-perfect weekend away.

The vibe: Little towns with so much to be discovered—and that’s before you get to the beaches!

Where to eat

At Stonegrill steakhouse in the bustling coastal town of Huskisson, you cook meat or seafood on a heated volcanic stone yourself. Also in Huskisson, Five Little Pigs is a dream for brunch, while Pelican Rocks Café in nearby Greenwell Point has won a slew of Best Fish and Chips awards over the years.

For special occasions, The Gunyah Restaurant (part of the exceptional Paperbark Camp in Woollamia) is a great choice, while everyone will tell you that a breakfast, lunch of dinner at Pilgrims in Milton is never time wasted.

Where to drink

Explore the region’s increasingly sophisticated wine offerings at Two Figs Winery, or have lunch at Cupitt’s Estate, a destination in itself only minutes away from the towns of MiltonMollymook and Ulladulla.

Where to stay

Stay on the coast at Bangalay Luxury Villas, on the beach at Shoalhaven Heads, or book an escape for the whole family at The Shore at GerringongThe PauseThe Shed Gerroa or Beach House Gerroa, at the other end of Seven Mile Beach from Bangalay Luxury Villas. And Kangaroo Valley Getaways can match you with your ideal holiday home in the lush Shoalhaven hinterland.

What to do

There are many beaches to choose from – you can swim at the calm Callala Beach or Scottish Rocks, or camp at Green Patch.

Book a tour with Dolphin Watch Cruises, or a whale-watching cruise with Jervis Bay Wild for the ultimate Jervis Bay experience during whale migration season (May to November).

Feature image: Jervis Bay. Credit: Tim Bean Photography.

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