Where do we even begin?
Out 18 day camping trip was truly EPIC.
If we do say so ourselves.
The first leg of our trip was from Sydney to Meroo. 3 hours and 44 minute drive along the New South Wales, south coast.
To break up the drive we stopped off at the ideal little town of Huskisson.
Huskisson is a city located in the Shoalhaven area, just on the outskirts of Jervis Bay.
This town with a population of 1600 has pioneering roots in ship building. Pay a visit to Jervis Bay Maritime Museum (formerly known as the Lady Denman Heritage complex) to find out more about this ideallic town.
Just outside of Jervis Bay is Booderee national park. An entrance fee is required. Note : If you have a NSW national parks pass it is not valid here. Strangely enough this national park is technically part of the ACT not NSW! Booderee in Koori Dhuraga language means Bay of Plenty or Plenty of Fish. It is an important place for aboriginal people and is owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community. With over 100 aboriginal sites recorded, some dating back to 6,000 years ago. Great walks and beautiful beaches perfect for snorkelling.
Whitings beach and snorkling.
Whitings Beach is a hidden gem. It is reached by a short bushwalk from steamers beach carpark which takes about 1.5 hrs each way and we would rate the walk a medium in hardness. Once you reach the beach, you will likely have the place to yourself. On a calm day it is possible to snorkel from here to Blacks Harbour and even Kittys Beach. The potential area you can snorkel is HUGE!
We saw massive schools of fish including a group of roughly 100 BIG Kingfish! This school then formed a huge bait ball which made us a bit nervous as this meant that there was something big in the area that saw these 20+KG fish as lunch.
Just as we were starting to feel apprehensive, the school of Kingies instantly scattered and vanished into the distance making a sound like an underwater explosion! My heat skipped a beat. I looked behind me fearing the worst but instead saw a Dolphin in hot persuit of the kingfish! He came directly towards us at full speed and then dived underneath our feet missing us by only about 3 feet, flashing past at a speed that would get you booked in a school zone! All whilst making clicking and whisling noises. Such an awesome experience and really made us feel like the weak, pathetic land based mammals we are!
On the road again.
After lunch and a dip, head a bit further along to find the suburb of Milton. If you did not stop in Huskission for a bite to eat then there is a great pie shop (Milton Ulladulla Bakery) in the quaint little town. Or you can head to Ulladulla. Ulladulla is a great coastal town with picturesque beaches.
As you can see there is a plethora of options when travelling down the south coast and it is hard to pick what to do.
Onto our destination Meroo Campground.
This is a free bush campground with no running water and only a hybrid pit toilet. It is definitely best to arrive mid week and in the off camping seasons. We went in November. It did get busy and fill up come the weekend with the locals and some tourists heading there to party.
In our experience there are two types of campers:
1. Campers that like the isolation and silence.
2. Campers that like the social party aspect.
We fall into the 1st category. You also find that you tend to see and experience more wildlife encounters when the places is silent.
One night we were visted by an echidna. Echidnas are rather shy normally and it is rare you see them.
If you go for a short walk at night you will also encounter a number of small frogs that inhabit the area.
Word of warning though DO NOT FEED THE POSSUMS. They will keep coming back and try and break into your tent and containers. Also DO NOT LEAVE FOOD SCRAPS or GARBAGE within reach of wildlife. We kept our rubbish in our en suite tent.
Because we only had a small car this meant we had no real way of keeping food cold, which can be a bit of a pain if you like food as much as we do. So we had to drive out of camp and get food from Batemans Bay daily.
Some staples however helped make this easier. We were hesitant to try powdered milk, but it was actually not too bad. Instant coffee, or Vietnamese ice coffee satchels were the most important staples for us though as we love our coffee.
Some food ideas for the best camping trip;
1. Pancake mix – versatile and does not require milk or refrigeration. Only remember to bring a spatula.
We used a machete in absence of said spatula and it worked a treat.
2. Eggs, do not need to be refrigerated.
4. Tins of Chilli or Soup
5. Instant satchels of couscous
6. Instant noodles
7. Carrots, capsicum, Onions and hardier vegetables last a few days.
11. Rice/ pasta
12. Tins of tuna
13. Pasta Sauce
For a treat:
1. Get yourselves some ribs. Ribs cooked on an open fire are AMAZING. We got ours charred on the outside before wrapping them in foil and cooking them through.
But expect this one to bring out the possums and Goannas. They will smell this cooking from miles away.
2. You cannot go on a camping trip without a packet of marshmallows. Find yourself a suitable stick and roast these babies over the campfire.
Overall this was the perfect start to our camping trip.
Stay tuned for part 2.