Whether you’re escaping the grind on a Friday afternoon and or setting out on an epic journey, there are few things as fulfilling as hitting the open road with a car full of mates, camping gear in the boot and a quiver of boards strapped to the roof.
Often when one thinks of escape, it’s usually of palm littered beaches in a distant and faraway land, but how many of you have taken the time to explore your own backyards? Australia is brimming with easy and accessible adventures, many of which can be accomplished over a weekend! To celebrate the spirit of the Australian road trip and to encourage you to partake in your own summer adventures, we’ve teamed up with our friends at North Journal, Bear Rentals, Dead Kooks, and Poler to bring you eight epic Australian summer journeys – all easily obtainable! Each journey will provide inspiration and expert tips from locals within each area and the Corona creative community that’ll help make your next roadie a breeze.
Corona Journey No.43 – South to Shoalhaven by North Journal
The south coast of Sydney doesn’t get the credit it deserves. While it’s not untouched territory by any means, (particularly in the summer holidays), it’s definitely often forgotten about. A lot of people don’t consider the south, tending to head north in search of slightly warmer water, weather, and a few familiar spots that can get pretty slammed. For this journey, we wanted to pick a spot we could reach in a few hours for a quick, inexpensive adventure, and we wanted to head south. The beauty of the south coast can’t be faulted – calm inlets, long stretches of beach bordered by national parks, powerful reef breaks, lakes and acres of farmland. The actual journey to the south coast trumps heading up north every time. Once you hit that long, sloping hill down into Wollongong, you’ll be greeted with your first surf check, and from there the drive is a breeze.
Less ugly highway and more bushland will welcome you all the way down, as you drive through everyone’s favourite pit stop, Berry (if you don’t stop at Milkwood Bakery for a bacon and egg roll you’re mad), and then onwards to wherever you want to set up camp: Mollymook, Sussex Inlet, Bendalong, wherever. We decided to pull up stumps around Bawley Point, a sleepy little coastal town with a population of around 600 people. From there we could explore the area around Shoalhaven, visit a few favourite spots in and around Ulladulla, and discover some new spots. Thanks to North Journal and Bear Rentals we ended up having a damn good time as well, so we thought it was only fair to sprinkle the knowledge dust a little further.
Get Up Early & Camp Where You Shouldn’t
It’s your holiday, and you should be able to spend it however you damn well please. That’s usually synonymous with burrowing down inside your doona for a little more of a sleep-in, but if there’s anything capable of waking you up in the morning that isn’t an obnoxiously loud kookaburra, it’s the prospect of an incredible sunrise. If you can think of a time you’ve regretting seeing those first slinky rays of light shooting across the water, untouched waves and cool sand crunching between your toes, well, we might have to call you a liar. Sleeping in the (roof tent?) on top of our Bear Rentals gave us a million dollar view peeking through the door of our tent, and meant a surf check was only a lean away. While we didn’t exactly stay in a designated (legal) camping area, being a bit sneaky ever now and then definitely has its benefits.
Take Wrong Turns
Throw your reliance on the GPS out the window (the lack of reception in certain areas down south should help) and go blind. It might not lead you to anywhere mind-blowing, (or it may) but half the time the scenery is more than worth the journey. On one of our drives, we decided to check out Pebbly Beach as a potential spot for a few sunset beers and were given two routes: the quicker highway or, the slower dirt track. Feeling like our big rig Bear Rentals truck was embarrassingly clean at this point in our journey, we voted unanimously to take the dustier option. The road to Pebbly Beach snakes through Murramarang National Park, and the only other people we came across on the road was a few dirt caked bike riders braving the hills and dust. We took a wrong turn, but it didn’t matter, as the radio decided to gift us with the strangely appropriate “Teenage Dirtbag,” on our way back to the right route. If you’re driving in the dark, keep those high beams on and remember that at all times those kangaroo shaped objects that lurk in the bushes are ready to wreak havoc on your car and themselves.
Don’t Feed the Locals
The locals down south are great. This includes the entire squadron of kangaroos we came across around at the edge of Murramarang National Park. But some advice? Don’t feed the roos, stupid. Kangaroos and wallabies are used to eating native grasses and herbs, which doesn’t include your herbed sausage sandwich. Save your close up shot for the zoo if you must—we saw one of these muscly guys right hook his furry friend in the face. Don’t let it be you; your mates will never let you forget it.
Fire Makes a Dull Sunset Better
Because campfires and sunset beers go together like carrots and peas, we set up a warm fire with some ice cold Coronas on the sand at Pebbly Beach. Though we’d been together the entire trip, it was nice to sit around a warm fire right on the beach and debate what flavour pie was the tastiest at Hayden’s Pies in Ulladulla, who’d be game enough to hit notoriously teethy Guillotine’s in the morning with the building swell, and whose fire-stoking abilities were the most superior.
Take Yourself For a Walk
Down round near the south coast, there’s a surprisingly good selection of walks for anyone looking for an easy going bush bash. If there’s a Negative Nancy in your group, downplay both the distance and difficulty of the hike, it works a treat, and they’ll most likely thank you later. After a few long sessions in the surf over the weekend, we opted for a more chilled, flat walk that curves around the coast and headlands at Ulladulla (Warden Head Walk?). Don’t worry about finding the start of the path, just ask any local where Ulladulla Lighthouse is, and you’re on the money. The headland round here has insane panorama views, and at the right time of year is the perfect spot for whale watching. For the more energetic, there’s an incredible walk to Pigeon House Mountain with a view at the end that’s worth every metre.
Jump Off Something
Remember those summer holidays as a kid, when you’d just spend hours jumping off the same, inanimate object over and over again like Lemmings? We found the perfect spot, and it’s more than likely there won’t be too many people to share it with. The Gantry juts out onto Bawley Beach and is the perfect height to entertain both the brave and cowardly (we had a good mix of both). The water from above is insanely clear and should give you a good indication of how deep it is, and if you can dive without any worries. While we’re not ones for publicly advocating that you should have a go at the Gantry when there’s a bit of swell coming in, seeing a friend get washed up onto the rocks is highly entertaining with no real danger attached.
Don’t Land on the Stingray
A dark shadow moving in the water below isn’t the most comforting image on the Australian coast, but there’s a solid chance if you’re reasonably close to shore down south, it’s a stingray. In certain areas around Shoalhaven, the rays will regularly glide right up to shore to feed on scraps thrown into the water by the fisherman. Most are very decently-sized and are pretty easy to spot swimming past due to the clearer water. Don’t be worried but keep an eye out—we almost jumped off some rocks straight onto one.
Photos: Luke Mashman / IG: @mashiano
Want to win the ULTIMATE Corona Summer Journeys prize pack? Then share your Summer Journey with us!
There’s a hefty summer bounty up for grabs including:
To share your Summer Journey with Corona simply upload a photo from your adventure to Instagram, tag @coronaextra_au and three friends in the caption, along with the hashtag #CoronaJourneys. Easy!
For more entry details and T&C’s click HERE.