15 things to do in Batemans Bay (Australia)

In Batemans Bay on NSW’s south coast, the sparkling waters of the River Clyde flow into the Pacific Ocean.

If seafood is your thing, the estuary is one of Australia’s best sources of shellfish and you can try super fresh oysters fresh from the water.

Batemans Bay is also an eco-tourism haven, where you can hike through mangroves and coastal forests, kayak and explore the continent’s oldest rock formations with migrating whales, rays and dolphins.

Or, you can enjoy the simple pleasure of a perfect sandy beach, sheltering from the waves at this cozy coastal retreat.

1. Oyster tasting

Oyster Tasting

For those who love oysters, Batemans Bay is the way to go.

The mouth of the River Clyde has several hectares of breeding beds producing world-class Angasi and Sydney Rock oyster varieties.

There are several farm gates – Pearly Oyster Bar and Farm and Wray Street Oyster Shed – where you can go straight to the source.

At both companies, you can head to the bar for freshly shucked oysters, or pick up unopened oysters to take with you.

For something completely out of the ordinary, you can also paddle to the oyster beds in the River Clyde National Park for an oyster tasting tour by kayak.

This experience is available through the travel website GetYourGuide.com.

2. Eurobodalla Regional Botanical Gardens

Eurobodalla Regional Botanical Garden

This much-loved spot showcases the botanical splendor of Europe’s Bodara region, which was hit by bushfires in early 2020, but as of this writing in August 2020, the recovery is remarkable.

The garden’s newest buildings, such as the Herbarium, Visitor Centre and Cafe, are built to the highest fire safety standards and remain intact.

Covering 42 hectares, some 2,000 species of plants, trees and shrubs are planted and can be viewed in the display gardens and the botanical gardens along the walking paths.

The garden is also home to a number of animals including kangaroos, bandicoots, wallabies, snakes, echidnas and a wide variety of birds.

There is a great play area for kids, a plant sales area and a café, and it’s worth a visit.

3. Corrigans Beach

Aerial view of Corrigans Beach

The first beach after the jetty is a delightful arc of soft sand with plenty to do.

The views of the bay are quite unique, with small snapper islands hundreds of meters from the shore and the mass of square hyde across the bay to the north.

You can watch the scene from the lookout at Observation Point, which marks the southern boundary of the beach.

If you’re visiting with the little ones, Corrigans Beach Reserve is probably the best playground in the city, plus BBQ and picnic shelters.

There is a bike trail that starts from the beach and wraps around the waterfront for most of the bay, while the popular Birdland Animal Park is on the beach edge at the northern end.

4. Batemans Bay Heritage Museum

Batemans Bay Heritage Museum

If you want to learn about the city and its past, there is a great volunteer-run museum on the fringes of the CBD.

This is a great location in the former courthouse (1905) in Batemans Bay, with attached police station and residence.

The permanent exhibit reviews the local timber industry, which dates back more than 200 years, and explores the fascinating geology of the South Coast, home to some extremely ancient rock formations.

You can also learn about the Gulf’s extensive Aboriginal heritage and gain insight into topics such as family life, education, crime and punishment, medicine, entertainment and military history.

There is a fun dressing up area, as well as a children’s space and reading room.

5. Mogo Safari Park

Mogo Safari Park

The zoo, home to Australia’s largest collection of exotic animals, is less than 10 minutes from the Princes Highway.

Like much of the region, Mogo Wildlife Park has been affected by the bushfires and the 2020 pandemic, but has reopened twice to showcase its extraordinary collections to the public.

The zoo is praised for its high standard of enclosures, which appear to blend in with the surrounding jungle.

More than 250 animals on display include giraffes, meerkats, rhinos, zebras, Sumatran tigers, snow leopards, gorillas and silver gibbons.

For an extra fee, you can book a special animal encounter, from hand-feeding a tamarin or squirrel monkey to getting close to a lion or tiger a few centimeters.

6. Batemans Bay Snorkeling Trail

Malonis Beach

The waters off the NSW south coast are known for their abundance of marine life, making Batemans Bay the perfect place to pack a snorkel and some fins and see what you can find.

At the Batemans Bay Visitor Information Centre, you can learn more about the local snorkeling trail, which has three main stops, from Malonis Beach in the north to the ancient rocks of Guerrilla Bay in the south.

Beneath the waves between the reefs and seaweed beds, you’ll encounter lobsters, groupers and endemic fish such as luderick, red morwong and snapper.

7. Clyde River National Park

clyde river national park

The tidal Clyde River meanders towards Batemans Bay, where a national park protects some 9 kilometres of beautiful river.

The park is great for exploring, especially on the water, where you can paddle along the river, or the myriad of small waterways that branch from it, by boat, canoe or kayak.

The Red River Gum on the banks of the river is home to an astonishing number of birds, and one important inhabitant is the critically endangered Swift.

For thousands of years, the land has been key to the Walbunja Aboriginal people, leaving behind the water hills of shells stacked over generations.

8. Sherlock Holmes Lookout

Sherlock Holmes Lookout

Clyde River National Park’s most popular destination is this sublime vantage point that has drawn tourists for thousands of years.

The people of Walbunja use what is now Holmes Lookout as a meeting and networking point, and thanks to its stunning views from the ridgeline, the place is even part of a local dream story.

From Batemans Bay, you can get here in minutes to hear the sounds of kookaburras and parrots, and watch the River Clyde meander into the Pacific Ocean, which opens to the southeast.

Turn your gaze to the northwest and you’ll see the outlines of the majestic Budawang Mountains, and if you’re late, you’ll be treated to a fantastic sunset.

9. Surf Beach

surf beach

Located in the suburb of the same name 10 minutes south of the CBD, is a stunning sandy beach nestled between two headlands and rocky at the northern end.

The tidal range is high, and the surf beach is wide and shallow, gently curving into the Pacific Ocean.

The beach is patrolled throughout high season and there is plenty of knee-deep water for the little ones to enjoy.

There is also a small playground nearby, and the kids will love playing around the tide pools in search of small sea creatures.

10. Birdland Zoo

Birdland Zoo

The perennial tourist favourite has also been hit by bushfires but remains open.

Nestled in coastal bushland and gardens, Birdland Animal Park is home to over 100 native birds and Australian marsupials such as kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.

You’ll pass birdhouses and enclosures on winding trails, where there’s a miniature train and a spacious picnic and family play area.

Twice a day, at 11:30 and 14:30, you’ll be able to handle the park’s harmless snakes and put a docile wombat on your lap.

11. Batemans Bay Bike Path

Batemans Bay Bike Path

There are a few places in town (Batemans Bay Cycles, Zone X) where you can rent a bike for an easy ride around the bay.

The bay is located on the south side of the estuary and is edged by a continuous paved bike path that separates from Beach Road.

The terrain is flat and suitable for cyclists of all ages, and the views of the yachts within the marina and the hills across the bay are breathtaking.

You’ll find no shortage of places along Beach Road to stop for a cup of tea or fish and chips.

12. Coolendula Creek Nature Reserve

Coolendura Creek Nature Reserve

On the River Clyde Bridge, there is a beautiful nature reserve east of Surf Beach.

The reserve covers a series of rare dune formations called cheniers, which are long, low ridges, no more than 6 meters in height, that run along the coastline.

There are two main walking routes through the reserve.

The beach walk takes you to a beautiful stretch of sand in Batemans Bay, perfect for swimming, or if you want to kayak or canoe paddle on the creek.

For a more in-depth look at these dune formations, the mangrove walk is partially located on an elevated boardwalk, and is sprinkled with information about this delicate ecosystem.

When you go, you may see Australian White Ibis pecking on the shore.

13. Brawley Beach

Brawley Beach

Head south from Batemans Bay and there is another delightful beach about 15 minutes away.

Broulee Beach is a long crescent of sand with Broulee Island to the south and Mossy Point to the north.

The sand is spotless and the foreshore hasn’t undergone extensive development, so you’ll feel like you’re in the bush even with shops, surf schools and houses hidden behind the tree line.

The waves at Broulee Beach are gentle and because of its gentle slope, there are plenty of shallow areas for the kids to play in.

The island at the southern end is connected to the mainland by a sandbar, accessible on foot, and provides habitat for birds such as white-bellied sea eagles and the extraordinary fairy wren.

14. Zone X

Zone X

Find out more about local company Region X, which organises a wealth of half-day, single-day and multi-day nature experiences around the unspoiled South Coast.

Many of these activities take place on water kayaking, with activities such as glass-bottom kayak tours, oyster tastings, whale watching (May-November), and wildlife encounters with dolphins and seabirds.

You can also head to the national park for guided hikes and bike rides, and mix paddle and hike on an epic three-to-five-day adventure, most of which leaves and returns to Batemans Bay.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Batemans Bay, Australia
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