Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Walking Mystery Bay to Narooma

One of the nicest short segments of coast to paddle south of Batemans Bay is from Narooma to Mystery Bay. There is only one section of long beach, the rest is rocky islets and coves, sea caves and tunnels, and tiny pocket beaches tucked between headlands. While I've paddled this stretch a few times, I've never walked it. Much of the coastline is in the Eurobodalla National Park, but some sections are private and some of the coast is inaccessible by foot even at low tide. I had found some information on-line that suggested that walking from Narooma Beach, just south of the golf course, to Mystery Bay was passable entirely along the coast. Turns out walking from Narooma Beach to Mystery Bay is not exactly that simple.

One of many sea caves near Mystery Bay

I dropped Doug at Narooma Beach and drove south to Mystery Bay. I had a large drybag to enable a wet crossing of the channel draining Corunna Lake and hoped to meet Doug half-way to pass off this necessary piece of gear. Starting from Mystery Bay, I wandered through the campground - much larger than it appears from a kayak. There is no single foot track through the campground, you have to walk along the various roads that give access to campsites. At a couple of places, side tracks lead out to the cliffs, the most prominent of these goes to "whale watchers point" where there is a life buoy and a grand view out to Montague Island as well as up and down the coast. If you walk north a short distance along rocks you can stand above the slot which cleaves off a tiny square island and look down into where we had paddled a few weeks before. 

 At high tide you can paddle right through this arch

At the north end of the campground, Eurobodalla National Park starts and a wide mowed track leads north to Corunna Point past another couple of lookouts. The channel from Corunna Lake was rapidly running in, but was only about hip deep so I did not need the dry bag to wade across. Between Loader and Fuller Beaches there is a small headland which is impassable at high tide. It was easy to bush-bash around through open forest and slither down a wombat track on the north side. 

Looking north from Bogota Head

I met up with Doug coming south of Bogota Head. His morning had been somewhat more convoluted than mine as he had been chased off the beach by aggressive dogs near Glasshouse Rocks and had been forced into a lengthy detour inland. The dogs came out of the "cottage" just above the beach which sold a year or two ago for almost $8 Million. Ideally council would negotiate some right of way here as this is the only section of coastline (once past the golf course) that is not publicly accessible. At low tide, you may be able to skirt around on the beach, but that also depends on whether or not the marauding dogs reappear and try to chew your leg off. 

Rocky cove at Barunga Point

After exchanging information with Doug, I continued north where there is public access on a rough track around Bogota Head as this sliver of coast is part of Eurobodalla N.P. I had lunch on a little beach tucked in between the rocks before continuing along the right of way to Barunga Point. The outflow from Nandudga Lake was dry when I passed (Doug had waded it a few hours before) and I strolled up Handkerchief Beach and then out to the highway to wait for Doug to pick me up.

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