With my kid brother (11) and Zen’s nephews (11 & 9) in tow, Zen and I decided to kick off 2014 with an adventure down the NSW South Coast! We’ve babysat plenty of times and there are many sleepover parties at our place, but this was our first holiday together with ‘the kids’. I’d like to say that we chose Batemans Bay as a destination because of it’s gorgeous string of beaches but in actual fact, we were rather limited with accommodation choices given the last minute nature of planning this trip!
Batemans Bay is an easy drive from Sydney and took approximately 4 hours (280km). With beautiful mountain scapes and amazing coastal views along the way, Mother Nature kept us entertained.
We broke up the stretch with several pit stops including visits (we went twice, on the way there and once again on the return leg) to the donut van in Berry! More details on that below.
Another notable stopover would be Ulladulla, a fishing village where fresh local seafood is aplenty.
And of course, it’s not a road trip til you buy fresh fruit on the highway roadside!
The Famous Berry Donut Van
Worthy of a road trip alone just for these donuts, they’re freshly made to order and simply dusted with cinnamon and sugar.
It’s a well organised affair; you place an order at the van, get a number, take a seat then pick up your piping hot donuts when the order is ready. From my experience, the wait can vary from 2 to 15 minutes.
We shared the pack of 12 doughnuts ($14), two milkshakes, banana and caramel ($5 each), sausage rolls ($3.80 each) and I had a bottle of Mac’s sparkling sour apple juice ($4.20).
Fresh donuts really do make all the difference.
The outside of these donuts are fried to a crusty golden hue and the inside is ever so moist and fluffy. Eat them while they’re hot. I managed to finish off 3 and probably would’ve eaten more if I didn’t have to share!
Araluen Motor Lodge
Our home away from home was at Araluen Motor Lodge. Although the address stated Batehaven, it’s actually just a few minutes drive from the heart of Batemans Bay and is right across the road from Corrigans Beach.
At an affordable $220/night, our family suite contained a queen bed and 3 single beds and was basic and comfortable. Beneath the 80’s style bed fittings were mostly new furnishings, some things, straight from the shelves of Kmart. There was a BBQ area which we didn’t end up using; the outdoor pool and aircon was all we needed. Such is life, when you travel with 3 kids.
Araluen Motor Lodge
226 Beach Rd, Batehaven NSW
Phone (02) 4472 6266
By dinnertime, we drove into town for fish & chips. The Innes family have been running Innes Boatshed for three-generations and offers at least three types of fish each day. Fried to order, there was a choice of grenadier ($8), marlin ($9) or flake ($9).
The eat-in special seemed to be the most popular choice. For $14, it was a fillet of battered grenadier with chips, salad and tea or instant coffee. We also had some calamari rings ($1 each), Crystal Bay prawns ($34/kg) and a dozen of local Clyde River oysters ($15/dozen).
The indoor seating area had a nice family vibe with framed portraits of the Innes family’s history in fishing, but the outdoor deck overlooked the river and was the place to be.
The queue stretched out the door. However, service was efficient – fillets of fish were picked right from the display and put in queue at the fryer upon ordering.
The batter was exceptionally light and crispy and the calamari rings were highly prized among the kids. The chips were mediocre, the highlight was definitely the crunch of the batter and the freshness of the fish.
Expecting a plain and simple garden salad, I was delighted it was a gourmet mix of lettuce, Spanish onion, carrot, cabbage, tomato, cucumber and orange. We happily tucked into fresh prawns and juicy oysters too.
Batemans Bay Night Markets
Coincidentally, Batemans Bay was also running it’s first foreshore evening market in Clyde Street, just outside Innes Boatshed.
I loved the community vibe – it felt like the entire town and their pets were out, enjoying this balmy summery night and the live jazz music.
Stallholders included pastries, sweets, and even oysters!
I stocked up at the local nut roasters stall, The Batemans Bay Nut Roasting Company, who have been cooking and selling nuts up and down the South Coast and in Canberra for the past 16 years. They were cooking caramel macadamias on the spot and were simply irresistible.
Fridays On The Foreshore
Batemans Bay Foreshore, Clyde Street, Batemans Bay, NSW
The markets will run every Friday, 5 – 9pm until the first Friday in February
Bell’s Carnival at Batehaven
On the drive home, we were startled that the carnival across the road from our hotel had come to life! Glowing from afar, we approached it like a moth to a flame.
Bell’s Carnival was massive, comparable to the amusement extravaganza put on at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. It didn’t feel like we were in regional NSW tonight!
My favourite part of any fair is always the food – fairy floss, dagwood dogs, popcorn and snow cones. Meanwhile the kids were addicted to a rifle shooting game… Alas, we left with no winning prizes!
Bell’s Super Family Carnival
Corrigans Beach, Batehaven, NSW
Open daily, 7 – 10pm from 21 December 2013 until 26 January 2014
North St Cafe & Bar
In search of decent coffee, North St Cafe & Bar caught my eye with their Toby’s Estate sign.
Zen’s flat white looked good and my soy cappuccino was velvety goodness that really hit the spot.
On the menu, I was surprised to find healthy food options. Batemans Bay was much larger than I had imagined, but I certainly didn’t expect the quinoa craze to have hit rural NSW!
All the boys had the North St double egg & bacon Turkish roll ($10) but I stuck to my new years resolution where ‘my body is my temple‘ and got the vegetarian breakfast ($16). It consisted of housemade baked beans, poached eggs, grilled haloumi and a quinoa slice. One of the eggs was overcooked but all was forgiven as the baked beans were divine.
Clyde River Berry Farm
In the months of December and January, Clyde River Berry Farm opens up their ‘Pick Your Own’ operation where blueberries are bountiful! Be warned though, a significant portion of the drive from Batemans Bay is off-road and your car may end up looking like mine:
An elderly man greeted us at the entry and instructed us to always carry the basket beneath each clump when picking. All of the ripe blueberries will fall off together.
“Only pick the blue ones”, he said. “The young ones won’t ripen further once picked”.
The front blueberry bushes are mainly for families with young kids. He advised that there were more berries at the back of the farm, but we’re to be watchful of wasps.
With a 5kg target in mind, we strolled to the back and were astonished that such a small tree could produce so many blueberries!
The farm also has raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, plums and pears, but it’s mostly blueberries that you’d come here for.
I’ve eaten my fair share of blueberries, but never before, have I seen them so large! Some must’ve been just under the size of a 10 cent coin!
This was our delicious berry picking haul:
We couldn’t leave the novelty of berry picking without doing a Hadouken at the farm:
We also treated ourselves to berry ice-cream ($5 each) which were made in front of us with real berries.
I’ve since been incorporated blueberries in everything – my breakfast smoothies with banana, chia seeds, spinach and soy milk; pancakes; and more. Hopefully this experience also inspired the boys to learn more about where their food comes from.
I should also mention that there are no entry fees, you just pay for what you pick. It was so much fun!
Clyde River Berry Farm
Lot 22 River Road, Mogood, NSW
Phone: (02) 4478 1057
Call ahead to check what’s in season for picking
The Oyster Shed
The Batemans Bay area is also known for the coveted Sydney Rock Oyster. The pristine Clyde River is scattered with oyster leases, many of which end up at top end restaurants around the country.
The Oyster Shed is an open to the public ‘farm gate’.
Situated on the riverside, it’s a simple family run operation. They sell oysters both opened and unopened. Plate grade oysters are $8/dozen unopened or $12/dozen opened. You can also buy them in a bag of 40 unopened for just $24! Bistro grade oysters are even cheaper at just $15 for a bag of 40.
We declare we wanted three dozen and as we peeped into the kitchen to watch fresh oysters being shucked, a table was being set outside, with tablecloth, camping chairs, Tabasco, toothpicks and all.
The oysters are plump, sweet and creamy. A squeeze of lemon and a drop of Tabasco was all it needed to lift the flavours. We alternated each slurp with deep breaths of the crisp fresh air. There was total silence as we devoured all three dozen oysters.
The Oyster Shed
The last shed on Wray Street
Phone: (02) 4472 6771
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.00am to 4.00pm
Best spots for snorkelling in the NSW South Coast
Naturally being at the South Coast, life was all about the sea. If we weren’t eating from it, we were swimming in it.
The above photo was taken on the last day at Hyams Beach where the sand is fine, soft and brilliantly white!
We didn’t get a chance to visit each of these snorkelling hotspots, but based on our research, they’re worth putting on your to-do list:
- Batemans Bay
Maloneys Beach, Sunshine Cove Beach, Long Beach
- Durras North
Calm Corner, Depot Beach
Bar Beach South, Montague Island
- Jervis Bay
Hyams Beach, Plantation Point, Green Patch, Murrays Beach
Bass Point Reserve
Berny’s Fish And Chips
On the last night, we still hadn’t gotten our fish & chips cravings out of our system yet, so dinner was at the local Batehaven fish shop. This was in walking distance from the hotel – we couldn’t not try it!
What a gem it turned out to be! We’d definitely found the cheapest oysters in the area, at just $8/dozen! It was $12 for the slightly larger size.
Most oyster connoisseurs buy the oysters whole to shuck at home as the ultimate experience is to have them fresh, in its own natural juices. However, for those on the go like us, the shucked oysters at just $8 per dozen were satisfyingly good.
Fishes on offer at Berny’s included grenadier, flake and perch.
Their housemade chips (available in small $4, medium $6 or large $12) and potato scallops ($1 each) were serious business here. All night, customers walked out with baby-sized bundles of these old-style, crisp-skinned, moreish potato chips.
Our family feast ($40) consisted of 5 pieces of fish, medium chips, 5 potato scallops and 5 calamari rings.
Unfortunately, the fish fillets are sliced lengthwise, so one piece was actually half a fillet.
However, the chips, oh the chips, we fought over them like seagulls! The boys were slurping down oysters like pro’s and the prawns ($25/kg) were even juicier and sweeter than the previous day’s.
It was all washed down with a battered pineapple fritter. So much deep-fried pleasure.
Berny’s Fish And Chips
246 Beach Road, Batehaven, NSW
Phone: (02) 4472 4947
Batemans Bay Mini Golf
Mini golf at Ermington followed by froyo at YoghurBerry Strathfield. It’s ‘our thing’ with the kids. When the boys saw that there was mini golf at Batemans Bay, they tried to add it to the itinerary every spare minute we had.
“How about mini golf next?”
“Let’s go swimming, then mini golf?”
“We should go mini golf now in case it rains later”
Mini golf was definitely on the agenda, it was just a matter of when!
As you can see, the course was very well designed and a great challenge for both the small kids and big kids.
For the record, I came second, but they all jumped on the podium anyway 😉
Batemans Bay Mini Golf
1 Princes Highway, Batemans Bay, NSW
Phone: 0477 228 769
Opens 9am – 10pm daily
Bay Wharf Cafe & Grill
We returned to the main street again, before departure. Breakfast for all but one, was this gourmet brekkie roll ($12) which was egg, bacon, cheese, hash brown, caramelised onions and Worcestershire sauce sandwiched between slices of Turkish bread.
It was a glorious sight. The experience of eating this burger was intense, it was almost impossible to bite into it properly! I would’ve liked something tangy or fresh on the side to break it up, but we all completed the burger conquest and didn’t need lunch that day.
Bay Wharf Cafe & Grill
11 Clyde Street, Batemans Bay, NSW
Phone: (02) 4472 5622
Open 7 days from 8am
We no doubt take fast internet for granted in our everyday lives. Nothing makes me more anxious than traveling without internet. Not that I’m constantly plugged in while on holidays, but it’s peace of mind knowing that I can access my emails or work if something arises.
We pretty much enjoyed full Telstra 4G coverage the entire trip, with the exception of when we were at the tip of Clyde River Berry Farm which was fairly whoop-whoop (but a highlight of this trip!).
While my phone reception disappeared, it was a relief to have the Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G hotspot for researching on my laptop the best places to visit, for checking Google Maps on my iPhone against some of the crazy routes my TomTom was taking us on, for keeping the kids amused in the back seat with a YouTube marathon on their iPad, and for keeping this city girl sane and connected.
Travelling with mobile broadband made everything so easy, even with 3 loud boys.
Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G
This post is sponsored by Telstra 4G; as always, opinions are our own.