Mystery Road Trip – Canberra Day Long Weekend

After a week of temperatures in the mid 30’s and a hectic work schedule, it was great to load up the van and head for a long weekend at the coast. Mr P loaded his kayak and fishing gear, hopeful to provide at least a lunch or dinner.

Our destination was Mystery Bay  on the NSW Far South Coast. Fortunately the road workers along the King’s Highway decided to finish early and the stop and go men had packed up by the time we passed Braidwood. After a stop at the wonderful IGA in Moruya we made it to the campground by early afternoon, keen for that long awaited swim. What a shock, the sea temperature had dropped from 24 degrees on Tuesday to a shivering 18 degrees, very refreshing.

The cold ocean temperature and warm land temperature caused a thick sea fog to roll in and by Saturday midmorning it was a real pea souper. The fish weren’t biting as much due to the cold water as the fact that Corunna Lake has silted up again after being opened by National Parks in July. I walked the track around the lake near the highway to pick up a decent tally of birds.

Sunday morning and we decided to take a drive over to Bombala via Mt Darragh, stopping at Candelo village and Six Mile Creek on the way. We stayed the night at the lovely little caravan park on the banks of the Bombala River. It was a full house and we were lucky to snag a great unpowered site with a view the river reserve. The Canberra Caravan Club were in for the weekend pow wow. Vans with cutesey  owners’ name plaques (“Wes and Betty”) great fun for some I suppose, please shoot me if I ever think this is a good idea. Plenty of good birding spots with a highlight of a Collared Sparrow Hawke and Blue Billed Duck.

A quick stop on the way home at the little lake at Nimmitabel for a cuppa and wander around.

Just a little TLC needed
Just a little TLC needed
Six Mile Creek Campground
All in working order.
All in working order.
Candelo skyline


Gillards Beach, Mimosa Rock NP winter weekend escape

With the thermometer sitting on -1 most mornings last week, we decided to take a chance on the predicted 20 degree maximums forcast for the coast on Saturday and Sunday  being close to accurate to make mid winter dash for some warmer. A very large bag of firewood and the winter doona were thrown in also, just to be safe.

Clyde or Brown?


The trip to the coast via the Brown Mountain always seems so much more relaxing, no territorians, trying to break the land speed record by making it  Batemans Bay in under 2 hours. We were struck by the lush vegetation and green paddocks around Bega, no wonder they make such great cheese here. After several stops to buy food we arrived in Tathra around midday. Mimosa Rocks NP is a short drive north of Tathra, Gillards Beach is 5 klms off the main road. A dirt road, but it had been recently graded so the corregations, didn’t result in any breakages this time.

Site map – Gillards Beach


We had the choice of the 70 sites that run alond the back of the sand dunes,great views, plenty shade and best of all grass underfoot. Most popular camp sites are so loved that the grass doesn’t get a chance to recover. We chose a site with a fire pit and a great view.
One of the advantages of camping on the south coast in Winter is that is just about completely deserted. We had the pick of the sites and as the afternoon wore on the temperature did reach a balmy 18 degrees. Mr P opted for  shorts and decided to try his luck with his surf rod in the gutter just below the camp site.

The total catch for the afternoon were 6 salmon, but no elusive tailor, despite all the conditions being perfect. 5 salmon were returned to the ocean, I love fresh salmon for breakfast so we decided to keep one.

Pan fried salmon with goats cheese,lemon and black pepper on toast

Birds and walks

The trees around the camp site were full of wattle birds and New Holland Honeyeaters. I made the trek to Blithrey inlet via Middle Lagoon on both days, with a total of 28 species. The lagoon had opened to the sea last week so was now tidal, large flocks of Australian Coot were fossicking for meal along the shore. Best bird of the weekend was a Crested Shrite Tit a lifer for me.
Photo courtesy Geoff Park

How to find a good camp spot.

I use a list and lots of research to locate a good camp spot. My ideal spot will tick most of these boxes.

  • Camp fires allowed
  • Free or low cost camp site
  • Location, location – waterfrontage
  • Shade
  • Views
  • Toilets
  • Showers

5 ways to find a good  camp site
  1. National Parks Camp site list or post a question on Free Camping Australia’s Facebook page.
  2. Do a search on Flickr this will give you an idea of how the site looks.
  3. Word of mouth, chew the fat with other campers or ask a local at the Tourist Info Centre.
  4. Google Earth is great for finding that elusive spot.
  5. Follow other bloggers who are passionate about camping.

What do you think? What’s your experience. Do leave a comment.