Sapphire Coast Road Trip

~ Sydney to Melbourne

The stretch of New South Wales coastline down to the Victoria border is known as the Sapphire Coast. Now I know why…

HYAM'S BEACH, NSW
HYAM’S BEACH, NSW

Driving through little coastal towns with names like Bulli, Wollongong, Koonawarra, and the views are spectacular. Each turn in the road reveals more endless sapphire seas and incredible rock formations. What a place, what a country! I think we’re going to enjoy Australia! 

This is the route we took driving from Sydney to Melbourne:

Sapphire Coast map

We stopped to see the blowhole at Kiama, and enjoyed parrots flocking to roost in Nowra.

KIAMA Blowhole
KIAMA Blowhole

Hyam’s Beach in Jervis Bay is known as the beach with the whitest sand in the world! It most certainly is gorgeous sparkling white (although I have seen beaches in the Caribbean that might choose to challenge this claim!) We rescued a large mollusk that had been thrown up onto the beach by the waves, and put it back in a tidepool. We watched shrimps that were practically see-through, tiny fish and limpets of all kinds.

HYAM'S BEACH, NSW
HYAM’S BEACH, NSW
HYAM'S BEACH, NSW
HYAM’S BEACH, NSW
HYAM'S BEACH, NSW
HYAM’S BEACH, NSW
HYAM'S BEACH, NSW
HYAM’S BEACH, NSW

Boat Harbour beach at Bendalong is known for the bat rays and Southern rays that come right up into the shallows. Stand still with your feet in the water, and they’ll come and nibble your toes!

BOAT HARBOUR BEACH, BENDALONG BAY, NSW
BOAT HARBOUR BEACH, BENDALONG BAY, NSW

This coast could easily be called the Emerald Coast. We marveled at how lush and green it was. Rolling hills, forests of eucalyptus. The scent of Australia is definitely eucalyptus!

We stopped at Ulladulla to walk the One Track for All path. Indigenous carvings and artwork, showing the history of the local people.

ONE TRACK FOR ALL - ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL – ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL - ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL – ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL - ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL – ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL - ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL – ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL - ULLADULLA
ONE TRACK FOR ALL – ULLADULLA

We explored Pebbly Beach, and although it was a little early for the kangaroos (they typically go into the shady woods during the day, and come onto the beach before sunset), we did see a few. They were remarkably unbothered by us, and allowed some close photos.

PEBBLY BEACH NSW
PEBBLY BEACH NSW
PEBBLY BEACH NSW
PEBBLY BEACH NSW
PEBBLY BEACH NSW
PEBBLY BEACH NSW

In Bateman’s Bay that evening we marveled at the bats flying over at dusk.

En route from Bateman’s Bay to Eden, we spotted a sign for the Poteroo Palace, a small animal rescue place. We decided to stop, and were so glad we did! There are animals that live here, that have been injured in some way, and can’t be rehabilitated into the wild, and they appear to have good conditions and care to live out their lives. I had never heard of a Poteroo before! It’s a roughly rabbit-sized marsupial. We saw blue-tongued lizards, and snakes of all types. There’s a free-ranging mob of kangaroos who love having their bellies stroked! There are many parrots, and we were thrilled to see a pair of Tawny Frog Mouth birds. I wasn’t able to catch one yawning, but when they do, you can see why they’re called Frog Mouth! Echidnas and a Quoll, which enjoys biting off unsuspecting visitors’ fingers! (there’s a big warning sign!)

POTEROO PALACE ANIMALS
POTEROO PALACE

POTEROO PALACE ANIMALS

POTEROO PALACE ANIMALS

POTEROO PALACE ANIMALS
POTEROO PALACE ALBINO ECHNIDA
POTEROO PALACE - BLUE TONGUED LIZARD (with his mouth shut!)
POTEROO PALACE – BLUE TONGUED LIZARD (with his mouth shut!)
POTEROO PALACE KANGAROOS
POTEROO PALACE KANGAROOS
POTEROO PALACE TAWNY FROGMOUTH
POTEROO PALACE TAWNY FROGMOUTH
POTEROO PALACE QUOLL
POTEROO PALACE QUOLL

Oh and emus grunt! I didn’t know that 🙂

SUNSET ON THE EDEN WHARF
SUNSET ON THE EDEN WHARF

Moving on from Eden, we decided to stop at the small coastal town of Mallacoota and rent a motor boat and go out on the huge lake which is really an ocean inlet. This is part of the Croajingolong National Park. There’s a headland in the lake called Cape Horn, so yes, we rounded Cape Horn!

GIPSY HEAD
GIPSY HEAD
MALLACOOTA INLET
MALLACOOTA INLET
MAP OF MALLACOOTA INLET
MAP OF MALLACOOTA INLET

P2090047 (1280x853)

We stopped and moored up at Goana Bay for our lunch, and joined up with a small group of locals, who come here regularly. They pointed out the 5 foot long goanas on the beach!

GOANA
GOANA

In Bairnsdale that evening we enjoyed watching more parrots, magpies and bats at dusk. What an amazing sight it is to see thousands of bats streaming across the sky!

Trying to find our way back to our B&B through the footpaths next to the river, we inadvertently walked through back gardens, and brushed through spiders’ webs, forgetting this is Australia, the land where everything is out to get you! Sure enough, a few minutes later, Chris felt a tickle by his ear, threw down his hat, to discover a fairly large spider was hitching a ride!

But we enjoyed listening to the kookaburras by the side of the road 🙂

When we left Bairnsdale, we were recommended to drive down and take the chain ferry to Raymond Island. We did, and we didn’t regret it – this was our first sighting of koalas! We walked all around the trail, which leads around the houses on the island, and throughout there were koalas hanging out in the eucalyptus trees! Just hanging out, not bothering anyone 🙂   So delightful, and such a success story on Raymond Island, that they need to be controlled with birth control.

RAYMOND ISLAND KOALA
RAYMOND ISLAND KOALA
RAYMOND ISLAND KOALA
RAYMOND ISLAND KOALA

We arrived on Phillip Island for 3 days much-needed down time after 5 days of long driving. If you haven’t seen penguins, Phillip Island is a well-known place to do so. However, the hundreds of tourists around make it a very busy place, and we’ve seen penguins in lots of other places before.

PHILLIP ISLAND
PHILLIP ISLAND
PHILLIP ISLAND
PHILLIP ISLAND

We stopped off at the Koala Conservation Centre. They have a couple of raised boardwalks which give you the opportunity to see koalas in the eucalyptus trees a bit closer up. It was delightful to wander around with the scent of eucalyptus wafting through the air, and enjoy watching the koalas snooze!

DOUBLE THUMBS FOR CLIMBING
DOUBLE THUMBS FOR CLIMBING
KOALAS ON PHILLIP ISLAND
KOALAS ON PHILLIP ISLAND
KOALAS ON PHILLIP ISLAND
KOALAS ON PHILLIP ISLAND

Phillip Island is a good place to relax, enjoy the beaches, and prepare yourself for Melbourne!

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