Local's guide: South Durras

Seal South Durras my nrma local guides
Seal South Durras my nrma local guides

Less than 350 people live in the tiny village of South Durras, but this little slice of paradise is the perfect base to discover the magic of the South Coast.

  • Tilba Growers Market
  • Montague Island
  • The Humpback Highway

South Durras is the northern gateway to Eurobodalla, about four hours’ drive south of Sydney. The region is home to family holiday favourites like Batemans Bay and Narooma as well as lush farmland, historic villages and rugged national park. The whole area is surrounded by water, with more than 80 beaches, 16 lakes and numerous rivers winding their way into the surrounding countryside. Eat fresh oysters, snorkel with fur seals or just cruise along the coast on two wheels.

Where to eat

Opened in mid 2017, Coyote is a slick restaurant and bar bringing Mexican cuisine (and excellent margaritas) to the Bateman’s Bay waterfront. There’s a buzzy atmosphere and you’ll find it packed most nights, so it pays to book ahead.

The Mossy Café in the small town of Mossy Point, just south of Bateman’s Bay, has been a local favourite for years and has just undergone a major refresh. As well as breakfast and lunch, they now serve tapas style dinners on Friday and Saturday using local produce like Moonlight Flat oysters and grass fed lamb from Moruya.

Set in a restored turn of the century cheese factory in the tiny village of Woodstock, Milk Haus is a wholefoods, farm to table cafe that’s something of a local legend. The menu changes seasonally, but always features vibrant salads, local fish, creamy curries and sticky puddings. It’s open Thursday to Monday for breakfast and lunch, and most of the fresh produce is grown in the garden out the front.

Grab a seat under the tree or on the huge grassed area (rugs provided) at the Ralston Brothers’ Farm Gate on the Bateman’s Bay marina. They serve up oysters fresh from their nearby farm as well as coffee, pastries and roast meat rolls Tuesday to Sunday. It’s a top pick for families, with toys and games provided and plenty of space for kids to run around.

Where to play

One of the best ways to get around Eurobodalla is on two wheels, with more than 400km of cycle trails along the coast. The Eurobodalla Bicycle User Group organises free escorted group rides at 9am every Monday and Wednesday morning. The rides are about 30km to 40km, although easier options are available. Check the calendar of rides here. Bring your own bicycle or hire one in Batemans Bay.

Montague Island is just 9km off the coast of Narooma and home to the largest colony of Australian fur seals in the state. Depending on the season, you can find up to 1000 of them lolling about on the rocks and diving into the water. Don a wetsuit and snorkel and swim with them yourself. The seals are friendly and inquisitive, and many will swim right up to you in the crystal clear waters. Montague Island is a nature reserve, so you’ll need to take a guided tour like those offered by Island Charters Narooma.

The historic town of Tilba was made famous by the series River Cottage Australia and the town is a must for foodies. Head to the Tilba Growers Market, held in the Big Hall every Saturday from 8am and stock up on all kinds of local produce.

For those seeking a little more adrenaline, take the leap of faith on Australia's highest skydive, above Batemans Bay NRMA Blue Members can take advantage of the $58 saving on this experience of a lifetime.

Where to splurge

This part of the South Coast is known as the “Humpback Highway”. There are many great lookouts along the coast to watch whales, but why not take things up a notch? South Coast Seaplanes offers scenic whale watching flights where you can cruise right above the migrating creatures, watching their every move. The season runs from September to November and whales are frequently seen close to the coast and Montague Island, often with young calves in tow. Your pilot will plan a flight that gives you the best chance of seeing the whales and the planes generally fly no higher than 300m, making for spectacular views.

Where to stay

Sitting on the waterfront at South Durras surrounded by national park, the NRMA Murramarang Beachfront Nature Resort looks out over the sparkling waters of Beagle Bay. Accommodation ranges from powered and unpowered camp sites, caravan sites with a freestanding ensuite bathroom, stylish villas (some with luxurious spa baths), even a spacious beach house. Grab a snack at Skippy’s Takeaway or dinner at the Beach Bistro, have a drink in the Wasphead Pool Bar, swim in the pool, splash around in the water park or hire one of the bicycles and explore the surrounding area.

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