Surf, Sand and Sleeping Bags | Long Weekends in NSW

Easter’s long weekend crept up again this year and, as with last year, a friend and I decided to rent a car last minute and head down the coast with just a tent, boards and hot-cross-buns.

Whereas last year saw us head up to Byron Bay from Sydney, we kept it more local this time round and made for the south, ending up an hour or so past the tourist hot-spot that is Jervis Bay. Driving down from Sydney on the Thursday took us just shy of 3 1/2 hours and we rocked up to a (seemingly quiet) free camp spot just north of Bawley Point just a shade after midnight.

Meroo Campground and Beach

Despite being 3km down a dusty track in the middle of nowhere, Meroo Campground was heaving, seemingly we were late to the party! I’d assume it’s generally pretty quiet, but Easter Weekend is always likely to be a different story. A bit of luck saw us squeeze into a legal pitch for the night and we were up for sunrise just before 6am.

The campground is basic, but what more do you need than a space to pitch the tent and the sound of the sea!? Meroo Campground is situated right on the beach and although the sunrise was a non-event, the empty stretch of beach and clear green waters were an instant escape from city life.

Bawley Point & Surfing Pretty Beach

Just a 20 minute drive from the campsite, Bawley Point is a tiny town surrounded by a golden coastline – this was our destination post sunrise. After a spot of brunch in the town, we carried on to Pretty Beach (which is backed by a campsite itself) for a day of surfing and beaching. The sheltered beach directly in front of the campsite was moderately popular with families, making it too busy for the likes of us!

We walked around another 5 minutes to the rocky headland, which opens out to a bigger beach. This section of Pretty Beach was completely deserted and plays host to a fun swell for beginners like us to enjoy. If you make it down to the beach, take the time to soak in the stunning backdrop & waters, but be sure to explore the rock-pools of the headland (O’Hara Island) – we came across a friendly little octopus!

Friendly Kangaroos at Pebbly Beach

As the clouds closed in on us, we packed up and jumped back in the car, looking (without much direction) for another beach treasure. About 10 minutes down the road, we came to a very dusty track, which we meandered down for about 30 minutes more, before coming to the car park at Pebbly Beach.

A little more popular than the previous stop, we trundled on down to the beach and were met by a squad of kangaroos, just kicking it up from the shore line. The roos were super friendly and keen to come and say hello, they’re worth popping in for if your in the neck of the woods alone, but the scenery surrounding the beach is also beautiful. A walk around the rocky headland introduced us to some more locals, this time in the shape of a pod of dolphins!

As the gloom started to set in for the night, we left our new mates and headed back to Meroo Campground for the night, via Ulladulla for some grub – pleased to find that there is a much more accessible road to and from Pebbly Beach!

Beach Life

Being busy in the campsite, we’d decided to risk it on the beach this time around and were pleased to see a couple of others doing the same as we pitched the tent. Nothing beats the sound of the sea when you’re snoozing and we got a solid 7 hours before getting up for a slightly more exciting sunrise and a swim early doors.

We packed up the tents and shuffled up the beach with our boards for a morning surfing the Meroo Campground swell, which we found to be pretty fun too! The sun came out and we spent the morning in the water before saying our farewells to Meroo and making a bee-line for the gem of the coast, Jervis Bay!

Hyams Fly By

It would be criminal to visit the south coast of NSW without stopping in on the unrivalled (with the exception of Whitehaven!) white sands of Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay. Heading for Sydney, we managed to grab a few hours swimming in the crystal clear waters and lounging on the whitest sand in the world. The drone was able to do the beach some form of justice as the last light of the day set off the lucid colours of the coast. If you are headed to Hyams, be prepared to fight for parking and beach space – a beach like this comes with it’s drawbacks, unfortunately, but just LOOK AT IT!

We carried on up to Sydney and enjoyed the local beaches for the rest of the weekend, but what a perfect start to the long weekend!

If you’re headed south with a tent, you can’t really go wrong – the coastline is nothing but pristine beaches and the water incredible. Enjoy and be sure to comment with your recommendations.

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