Alt banner image

Coast to the capital

Coast to the capital

Travelling between Canberra and Sydney, you can take the coastal or country route. Neither disappoints.

Most of the activity in the nation’s capital is concentrated around Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin, with Mount Ainslie as the backdrop. But Canberra isn’t just about politics. The city itself is one of the greenest in the country, surrounded by national parks that you can hike, bike or drive through. There are mountains, knolls and lookouts flanking the city on every side, but Mount Ainslie is likely the best vista over Walter Burley Griffin’s famed urban design, and the greens of Parliament House. It’s a rugged but worthwhile trek up the mountain (you can drive it if you prefer), and takes about an hour up and back.

Kambah Pool, south of the city, is another great spot for a bushwalk, a waterside picnic or a cold-water plunge. Keep an eye out for the world’s fastest animal, the peregrine falcon, zooming overhead. The Indigenous Ngambri people’s word ‘Kambah’ translates roughly to ‘cleavage’, describing the convening of Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie. Fittingly, there’s a signposted nude bathing spot away from the main pool, where ‘naturists’ (that’s the PC term) can bathe free of the constraints of togs or the law – the Nudity Act 1976 provides protection from arrest for those appearing naked in designated public places.

The best way to get from the mountains of Canberra out to the South Coast is south-east via Braidwood. A major hub during the 19th-century gold rush, Braidwood has a number of well-preserved buildings. So notable is the local architecture, that in 2007 it became the first town listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register. It has lately become a bit of a culinary outpost, known for its organic produce and locally foraged truffles.

As you continue south-east, you’ll cross the Clyde River twice before spilling out onto the coast at Batemans Bay. Straddling the river’s mouth, Batemans Bay is the largest town on the Eurobodalla Coast. Eurobodalla translates to ‘land of many waters’, which is certainly apt. A complex system of rivers and creeks snake through the area, and there’s the bay itself, as well as lakes, dams, and ocean beaches a few clicks out of town. In this neck of the woods, you’re never far from a boat ramp, wharf or jetty. It’s a great place to throw in a fishing line, venture out into open waters on a fishing charter, or go kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or sailing. Alternatively, just laze around on a beach with a book. The area is also part of the state’s ‘oyster coast’ – a plateful with a frosty beer or glass of bubbles is not a horrible way to get an evening started.

This is a sneak peek! To read the rest of the article, check out the Spring 2022 issue of Caravanning Australia.

Image: North Durras, Murramarang National Park (C) Josh Burkinshaw.

Join our mailing list