• Mystery Bay

Cheese, Wine, Rocks and a bit of Mystery – NSW South Coast

posted in: New South Wales, walks, wine | 2

Have you ever had one of those days where you know what your destination is but you have no plans for how you will spend your time getting there? This post is about one of those days. All I was sure about was that we had to be in Tathra by the afternoon, and that we were just going to take the day as it came. We say our farewells to our new kangaroo friends at Depot Beach and hit the road.

As we pass through the towns of Mogo and Moruya i decide its about time to do a detour, we see a sign for Tuross Head and turn off. As we drive along we see cows grazing on green rolling hills framed by large network of lakes. We find a place to park and get out to stretch our legs, taking in a short walk along the headland. Legs now gently stretched our stomachs let us know that its time to eat something. I have seen on the map the town of Bodalla is not far away and also happens to be the home of Bodalla Cheese so we make our way there.


Bodalla cheese
Bodalla Dairy Shed

“Wow. Look at all this cheese! Can we eat it?” Harry’s eyes just about pop out of his head as we walk inside the Bodalla Dairy Shed and I admit even I am impressed by the variety. There are too many cheeses for us try them all but we have a good crack at it. The food in the cafe looks just as tempting so we decide to turn morning tea into an early lunch and relax on the back deck overlooking the paddock. We have just missed the feeding of the poddy calves but there is plenty to keep Harry entertained while we wait for our food. The food arrives and is quickly demolished. We buy some cheeses and one of the most interesting yougurts I have ever had – Lemon Mrytle to keep us going over the next few days.

Bodalla Cheese
Harry is impressed – cheese and a cubby house at Bodalla Cheese
A very impressive looking old fireplace at Bodalla Cheese

Bodalla is a 150 year old town that still posesses all its yesteryear charm. We take a walk up the main street and admire the beautifully restored buildings and country views. The art gallery here is small but impressive. I am genuinely surprised to see such a great collection of works on display in such a small country town. Although I imagine the south coast landscape provides an artist with a healthy dose of inspiration. And then its back on the road again. Where will our next stop be? Its a mystery.

Mystery Bay

As we pull into the car park in front of the Mystery Bay campground we are greeted with a golden beach strewn with interesting rock formations. We have been drawn to this place not only by its name but because I have just read on the Narooma tourist site that “Mystery Bay has an embarrassment of spectacular beaches. It is heaven for anyone wanting to get back to nature.” Well from a write-up like that how could I resist? We take the short track down to the beach and begin exploring. The rocks pictured in these photos are the result of the sedimentary rocks chert, black mudstone and slate being compressed under great pressure in the kink zone of tectonic plates millions of  years ago.


Mystery Bay
The twisted and deformed sedimentary rocks at Mystery Bay

Mystery Bay NSW

Mystery Bay NSW


But what is the mystery of Mystery Bay I hear you wondering. In 1880 gold had been discovered in the region. The NSW Mines Department sent out one of their geologists, Lamont Young, to investigate and report on the find. Young along with his friend and botanist Louis Shneider, secured a boat with three crew to row them to the Montreal Goldfields. But somewhere along the way something happened and their boat was found washed up here on the beach with some belongings and rocks in it and the anchor missing. Their bodies have never been found. Many stories and theories abound but most believe the men were murdered. And hence this place became known as Mystery Bay due to the mystery of the fate of these men having never been solved.


Mystery Bay NSW

Mystery Bay NSW

Mystery Bay NSW

Central Tilba and Tilba Valley wines

Our next detour of the day is out to the historic town of Central Tilba. Set below the imposing Gulaga (Mount Dromedary), this heritage town is listed on the National Trust. Gulaga is said to symbolize the mother and is described by the local Yuin people as the place of their ancestry. Geologically Gulaga used to be a 3km high volcano 60 million years ago. It is now less than 1000m high and you can walk to the summit, but we don’t have time for it today. We take a quick walk up and down the main street and marvel at some of the creations in the woodworking shop before driving down the road to Tilba Valley Wines.

I will admit that I am not expecting much from a winery with this geographic location but I am pleasantly surprised. The winery itself is old and rustic and set into the rolling green foothills of Gulaga. The gentleman conducting the wine tasting is chatty and friendly. Some of the grapes are grown here on site but they also buy in grapes from other regions to make up the shortfall during a bad season. My favourites here are the 2014 sauvignon blanc made with grapes grown in Orange and the 2013 Shiraz Cabernet. They do meals and live music here and the place has a cosy and laid back vibe. I am glad we have stopped by.

Camel Rock and Bermagui

We are getting closer to our destination for today but there is another place I want to stop at before we arrive in Tathra. Yes it’s more rocks and more beaches. We walk down to the beach and see Camel Rock in the distance. Does it look like a camel? Well Bass and Flinders obviously thought so as they sighted and named it while mapping the NSW coastline. Whatever the rock looks like there is no arguing that this a beautiful spot. Big blue skies, wispy white clouds, golden sand and ancient rock formations make this a great place to spend part of our afternoon.

The deformed turbitite rock seen here at Camel Rock is made up of the same sedimentary rock we saw back at Mystery Bay. As these rocks have been moved around by the forces of the tectonic plates, they have essentially been baked, squeezed,melted, buried and eroded. The oceanic basalt seen in some of the photos below are around 500 million years old, making them the second oldest rocks in NSW  (Broken Hill has the oldest).


Camel Rock NSW

Camel Rock NSW

Camel Rock NSW

Camel Rock NSW

Camel Rock NSW

Camel Rock Panorama

Camel Rock NSW

Camel Rock NSW

Bermagui NSW
A quick stop at the seaside town of Bermagui



We take in a quick tour of Bermagui before finally arriving in Tathra to check in to our accommodation. We decide to make the most of the last of rays of sun and take the scenic route up to Fat Tony’s (our dinner destination tonight) by walking along the coastal track. For a day that began with no plan we have had a very interesting day. Tomorrow the wonders of Mimosa Rocks National Park await us.


Tathra Coastal Walk
enjoying the last of the sun along the coastal walking track at Tathra

Tathra 2

At a Glance

mapBodalla Dairy Shed
Princes Hwy Bodalla 15 mins from Narooma

mapMystery Bay
11km 12 mins south of Narooma NSW

mapCentral Tilba
15km south of Narooma on the old Highway

mapTilba Valley Wines
947 Old Highway Narooma NSW 12kms south of Narooma and 4kms north of Central Tilba.http://www.tilba.com.au/tilbavalleywines-wines.html

mapCamel Rock
Approx 10mins north of Bermagui off the Wallaga Lake Rd

424km south of Sydney (5hrs 45 mins)

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2 Responses

  1. Jane

    Hi Amanda,
    Once again another beautiful selection of photographs and a great read. I’m very interested in trying the lemon myrtle yoghurt! I’m assuming the cheeses could be kept out of the fridge for transport or if not, you were able to cool them somehow? Whenever I visit Vincenzo’s (The Big Apple) near Stanthorpe I always have to check out their cheese samples. Thanks again for showing us beautiful places to visit. 🙂

    • Amanda

      Hi Jane, we always travel with a cooler bag or esky as we buy a lot of our own food and prepare it on our trips (too expensive to eat out all the time! Thanks for the comments about the photographs, the weather was kind to us for most of the trip so we could get some nice shots. The NSW South Coast has so many lovely beaches and towns, we are so lucky to live in Australia 🙂

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