This morning I wake early, make myself a cup of tea and take myself down to the beach. As I watch the sunrise over Jervis Bay I feel like I am now truly on holiday. It is day 4 of our South Coast trip and while I am sad to be leaving Jervis Bay I am excited to be heading to our next destination, Depot Beach at Murramarang National Park. I have had many recommendations from friends telling me to visit Murramarang, a small coastal national park north of Batemans Bay.
We are all in go slow mode this morning. Finally after breakfast, packing the car and a play in the playground we set out for the drive south. We are not in a hurry and I have seen on the map that there is a winery in a town which we will be passing through so we decide we will stop in and have a look.
As we walk into the winery I can see that a lot of effort has gone into this place. I approach a gentleman about doing a wine tasting and getting a cheese plate (yes the later is Harrys request). He leads us over to the bar area rather than the cellar door, as the cellar door is having some work done in it today. I poke my head in as we walk past and it looks very charming in there (aside from the electrician and ladders). I am not too disappointed to be doing our wine tasting by the bar as it leads onto a big deck and has sweeping views over the surrounding hills and farmland.The winery has recently undergone a bit of a makeover and expansion. The cellar door is located in the historic stone creamery dating back to 1851 and a new dining area and deck has been built. I can see why this place is a popular choice for weddings.
Not all of the wines are on tasting today but of the wines we do try there are two that stand out for me. The 2014 ‘Mia Bella’ Arneis is made from a northern Italian grape variety grown in the Yarra Valley. It is zesty and fresh with lovely apple and pear flavours, a perfect summer holiday wine. My other favourite wine here is also from the Yarra Valley, the 2014 Chardonnay is fresh with citrus and pear but nicely balanced out with a light creaminess on the palate owing to the partial oak fermentation. I take a bottle of both. This winery also produces wines from grapes grown here on the estate, those being Semillion, sauvignon and verdelho but the Yarra grown wines have won over my taste buds today.
We have ordered our cheese plate just before the lunch time patrons arrive. I order a glass of the chardonnay to accompany the cheese and Chris gets a local beer on tap. Harry chooses a table on the deck and the local winery dogs choose Harry as somebody to pat them. We chat, take in the views and play with the dogs while we wait for our cheese plate. Waiting. Waiting. Still waiting. We ordered over 20 minutes ago. When we enquire about how much longer the cheese will be the look on the wait staff persons face reveals all, yep they have forgotten we ordered. 10 minutes later a very small looking plate of 4 cheeses arrive at our table. The cheeses are nice, but even Harry who is the family cheese plate connoisseur states “Mum, this cheese is nice but there’s not very much is there”? We finish up and head into Ulladulla where we find a lovely little cafe for lunch and stock up on supplies for the next few days.
Pebbly Beach Murramarang National Park
“Ok we need to take the next road on our right” I say to Chris as I am looking at google maps. We are driving along Mt Agony Road looking for the turn to Depot Beach. I see the sign as we zoom past it. “That was the road we needed to take” I say. In my head that is how I said it. But to Chris it must have sounded like “You missed the turn! What are you doing? Cant you follow simple instructions?” because his reply is “Well it wasnt my fault. The road just came out of nowhere, I didn’t even see it until we drove past it”. Oh the joys of navigating and driving as a couple. No drama we will just turn around when we can and go back. The road narrows and we begin descending quickly. I don’t think there is anywhere to turn around. “Where does this road go?” Chris asks. “Pebbly Beach” I reply “I was going to come here tomorrow but seeing as we are already here we may as well check it out now”.
We pull up in a lovely forested car park and I get out and open Harrys door. “I don’t want to walk! I am not getting out!” Here we go again… After some coaxing Harry gets out and we head down to Pebbly Beach. This beach has a big sandy stretch that leads over to a rock platform and rocky pebbly beach to the right, hence the name. It is beautiful here and we spend well over an hour looking in the rock pools and building rock towers.
Now that we know where the turn off is we have no problem finding the cabins and campground at Depot Beach. As we drive up towards our cabin we are met by a mob of Eastern grey kangaroos. They look at us and continue eating. We pull up outside our cabin. Harry is torn. Walk back over to the kangaroos or check out the cabin? He does a quick inspection of the cabin, gives it his approval and asks to be accompanied back to the kangaroos. I finish unpacking our things from the car and then head on over to have a closer look at the kangaroos myself. They really are very relaxed and quite comfortable in the company of people.
After a while I manage to convince Harry we should all walk down to the beach and do the 1km walk out along the intertidal zone of the rock platform. As we approach the entrance to the beach I am stunned. Large spotted gum trees are growing right down to the sand dunes. I have never seen anything like it. I later read that it is very uncommon to find spotted gum trees and temperate rainforest growing so close to the ocean and that the spotted gum forest here is the biggest continuous stand preserved in NSW national parks. It is impressive and beautiful.
We walk along the sandy beach and onto the rock platform beneath the headland. The setting sun reflecting off the pools of water on the rocks is mesmerising. This place has a very calming energy to it yet it feels wild at the same time. There are very few people about, just how I like it. Harry is relaxed now too. He skips from rock to rock, pool to pool singing to himself as we make our way around the headland and towards the cliffs to the south. Occasionally we call out to each other to point out something we have found, but mostly we are silent, absorbing the beauty and tranquility of the place.
Rumbling bellies and the sun dropping lower in the sky lead us back to our cabin. We say goodnight to the kangaroos, heat up our curry, pour some wine and sit on the verandah to take in the last of the setting sun. Holidays I really do love you.
At a Glance
58 Washburton Road, Ulladulla
Murramarang National Park
Approx 20 minutes north of Batemans Bay
Depot Beach cabins/campground
Approx 20mins north of Batemans Bay
Depot Beach Rock Platform Walk
2 kms return from Depot beach access