Paradise; a place that is extremely beautiful and that seems perfect, a perfect place for a particular activity or kind of person, a state of perfect happiness and also a place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be. It’s a big call but Tomakin, on the south coast of NSW, is all this and more.
Located just four hours south of Sydney, Tomakin is midway along the stunning Eurobodalla coastline which runs from Batemans Bay south to Narooma. It’s reached by taking Eurobodalla’s tourist drive number 7, and while most people tend to skip the detour and drive straight past, I can assure you it’s well worth the stop.
The Aboriginal definition for Eurobodalla is “small haven for boats” or “land between waters” which perfectly sums up the whole coastline. Tomakin itself has had several names over the years that go back to when Thomas Florence explored the coast that Cook missed when he sailed north. Today it’s a quiet place home to about 1000 people, where the sound of the ocean overrides the chatter of birds and local traffic.
There’s a lot of interesting history here, not mention stunning unspoilt beaches and beautiful coves. The best place to get an overall snapshot of the area is from Melville Point where you’ll have views all up and down the coast, out towards rocky island outcrops, the inlet of the Tomaga River and the stunning Tomakin Cove. Various historical locations around the area are highlighted from the viewing point as well.
Barlings Island, for example, is an Indigenous sacred site. The open land beside the coast was an Indigenous battleground and meeting place before being later used as a secret WW2 airstrip. To the south the jagged rocky outcrops have claimed many ships, and to the north there are many Indigenous midden sites (places where shells, ash and bone have been found in large amounts), along with a monument for the early settlers who died in the area, plus old ship yards and timber mills that used to line the river bank.
Tomakin Cove is regarded as one of the best spots on the coast for beginners to snorkel, explore on a kayak or a SUP, as the waters are calm and crystal clear. If by some chance the cove isn’t calm when you visit (as was my experience), the Tomakin River is a magical waterway where I was lucky to see fish swarming around the sea grass, massive eagle rays scouring the bottom for a feed and plenty of birdlife on top of the water.
If you haven’t got a kayak you can hire one just near the boat ramp either for a guided tour or you can go off on your own. A unique feature here is that there’s only a 10 metre buffer between the river and ocean.
The town is surrounded by natural bushland and if you’re keen for a hike, head up to Burrewarra Point for an amazing walk through a forest of old banksia trees. It’s a 90 minute walk that leads you to the very end of the point, with absolutely stunning views for miles up and down the Eurobodalla Coast.
If you visit in spring you’ll have the perfect place to spot whales and their calves heading south. Keep an eye out for the WW2 bunker and out towards the end you can walk around the Burrewarra lighthouse.
Guerrilla Bay at the base of Burrewarra Point is another stunning example of the Eurobodalla coastline. There’s plenty of rock pools to explore, snorkel or swim in and if the wind is from the south these two bays are just perfect on a warm sunny day. The two long beaches are popular with divers who like to explore several deep channels between the rock bars, aptly named “The Pot”.
Another significant feature along this epic coastline are the rock formations that started to form some 510 million years ago. From different points (if you know how to read rocks) you can identify different time periods illustrated in this ancient coastline.
There are tiny fossils embedded in different rock clusters, sedimentary sandstone that, amazingly, was once connected to the Blue Mountains, honeycomb patterns, petrified magma, but the most visible feature of all are the sharp tectonic plates that rise out of everywhere along the coastline.
One day is just not enough time to explore. My choice of stay was Barlings Beach Holiday Park located smack in the middle of these stunning locations. Situated right on Barlings Beach and covering a massive 22 acres, this park is only two minutes from town and has everything that you could ask for.
It’s a pleasant affair from check in to check out, whatever holiday option you choose. They have an array of different cabins, powered and unpowered sites for even the biggest vans, and grassy tent sites… all a short walk from beach along a private walkway.
Kids are spoiled with a fantastic play area and one of the best pool areas on the coast plus huge games and media rooms. To stretch your legs it’s an easy 10 minute stroll up the beach to explore Tomakin or if you head north there are plenty of rock pools and rocky outcrops to explore.
If all of this has made you a little hungry or you need a pick me up, Barlings has its very own coffee shop and cafe where even the locals come to eat. Around the park there’s plenty of shade from huge coastal banksias, peppercorn trees, palms and pines all with a natural bush setting.