5 July 2021

Canberra Day Trips: Escape the rat race and connect with nature at Narrawallee

| Canberra Day Trips
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Narrawallee Beach. Photo: Supplied.

Narrawallee is a small area on the South Coast, tucked away near Milton and Mollymook. It has something for everyone, from bush to beach, surfing to cycling, and plenty in between. Surfers and body boarders can enjoy the waves, while the shallow, still waters of the nearby inlet are ideal for paddling and playing in.

The inlet fills and empties with the tide and is perfect for watching pelicans, fish, and soldier crabs, plus there are opportunities to get on a bike, explore the bush on foot, or throw a line into the water. The area is quiet and unspoiled, but there’s a lone café that serves up coffee and food right next to a big playground with shaded tables, and the delights of Mollymook are just around the corner. It’s a great way to spend a day!

Things to do

Explore the bushland reserve

The bushland reserve that stretches along the northern end of the beach with barbecue or picnic facilities, plenty of space for the kids to explore, and the beach close by.

Take a hike

One of the wonderful things about the area is the Narrwallee Inlet walking track. Walk or cycle through the coastal forest, where there are many birdwatching opportunities for a variety of waterbirds including the hooded plover, pied oystercatcher and little tern. And keep an eye out for the ancient Burrawang palms that hark back to the times of the dinosaurs.

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Enjoy the water

The inlet is a top spot for those who like their swimming experience to be in shallow, calm water and because there are minimal waves, it’s also great for kayaking, snorkelling or stand-up paddle boarding (hire one here). Head all the way down the creek to get a good look at the mangrove ecosystem that’s part of Narrawallee Creek Nature reserve.

There’s also a boat ramp in this area and the estuary is a delight for anyone who enjoys fishing. We’re told there are some fantastic fishing opportunities off the rocks.

Soldier crabs on the march at Narrawallee Inlet. Photo: Supplied.

Keep an eye out for armies of crabs around the inlet at low tide. We’ve often seen stingrays gliding past in the area too.

Get into the surf and enjoy some of the waves at the southern end of the beach. They are perfect for body surfers anyone who is learning to surf, and there are surf lessons available. There are also some excellent vantage points that look out over the ocean at this end of the beach. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales playing in the sparkling waters and as they make their journey migrating along the coast.

Entertain the kids

Playground near Narrawallee Inlet. Photo: Supplied.

Check out the well-equipped kids’ playground at the northern end of Matron Porter Drive.

The inlet end of Narrawallee is mostly flat, so it’s excellent for riding bikes.


Or if you’re just keen for an escape and want to spend some time chilling and escaping the world, bring a chair or picnic blanket, pack your favourite book and some snacks, and enjoy the serenity for a few hours.

Parts of Narrawallee are dog-friendly. Photo: Supplied.

Getting there

Take the Kings Highway from Canberra through Queanbeyan, Bungendore and Braidwood. When the Kings Highway meets the Princes Highway just outside Batemans Bay, follow it north. Once you’ve driven through Ulladulla, watch for a sign to Mollymook’s Golf Avenue.

From Mollymook, several roads will take you to Narrawallee but if you’re visiting for the first time, the route below is scenic and gives you a chance to take a look at a spectacular headland, that’s also home to the renowned Bannisters Mollymook

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Drive through Mollymook via Shepherd Street and Mitchell Parade until you get to Bannister Head Road. Follow this until its intersection with Matron Porter Drive – turn right and you’ll see the surf beach in no time. Follow the road a little further until it ends. You’ll see the inlet in front of you.

When to go

There’s something to enjoy in Narrawallee year-round, depending on what your interests are.

Summer is the perfect time for getting the most from the beach experience. Spring or autumn are better if you prefer your day trip destinations less crowded. If you’re keen to do some whale watching while you’re in the area, prime time is between May and November. The milder seasons are also best for exploring the scenic wetlands and doing some birdwatching.

With the foodie delights of Milton and Mollymook just a stone’s throw away, food lovers can find something to enjoy even when the weather is chilly.

Key details

  • Duration: Allow 2 ½ hours from Canberra.
  • Distance from Canberra: Around 200km each way.
  • More information: Narrawallee

What’s your favourite South Coast beach? Let us know why you love it.

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