Swim at Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach is part of a place I spent my weekends growing up: Moruya Heads. When my family lived in Canberra, like many Canberrans, we had a sea change on the weekends to the South Coast of New South Wales. We drove there in past Braidwood with its wonderful bakery-they make the best vanilla slice-and over Clyde Mountain.

We always got excited when we passed Pooh’s Corner-a corner of the mountain which farmers had decorated to be a hideaway for iconic children’s book character Winnie the Pooh. We gasped as we spotted the ocean past the tree line of the mountain and had a competition of who spotted Cabbage Tree Creek first-a landmark that we were almost at our destination.

We drove past Nelligen and over the Bateman’s Bay bridge. From here we could spot little islands out at sea and sometimes pelicans dotted the light posts in the town. Finally the salty smell of the sea filled our nostrils and we drove alongside the lake at Moruya Heads knowing we were almost there. We passed the iconic brown brick corner store where we stopped for ice cream after walks to Pedro’s Point-a rock at the end of a long beach where a shipwreck still lies off the reef. Up the road we climbed and looked out across the headland-we were in the land of our holidays.

Recently my family made the long drive down from the Gold Coast in South East Queensland, stayed the night at the cool coastal town of Port Macquarie and spent Christmas and New Years with extended family down at Moruya Heads. We went to Shelly Beach together. This beach is often unpatrolled so you do need to be careful. It has rock pools, a pilot station house, a breakwall popular with the local fisher people, a giant rock pool and even a water cave. I spotted sooty oyster catcher birds on the rocks with their spoon shaped red bills looking out to sea. It was good to be back here again.

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