Deserted white beaches, whale watching, coastal lakes, forests, cycling and trails in one place? Meet one of Australia’s newest national parks.
A better question would be to ask “why not”? If you love the outdoors, Meroo National Park is your playground. Pack your runners, surfboard, bike, paddleboard, tent, fishing gear, Frisbee, binoculars… and let the weather determine what you do first!
The best thing is very few people realise Meroo National Park exists, so pick your timing wisely and you might have it all to yourself!
GET YOUR BEARINGS
Meroo National Park is nestled on South Coast of NSW, just 5km south of Ulladulla and 34km north of Batemans Bay. Getting there is easy from either direction, just jump on Princes Highway and look for signs.
Once a state forest, Meroo National Park is a relative newbie on the state’s incredible array of national parks. The area suffered badly from bushfires in the 2000s, so the National Park Lands Authority created a national park to help regenerate the bushland. The playful blue wrens, friendly wallabies and naughty possums that visited us during our stay are proof that it’s working!
Camping at Meroo Head Campground is a must – it’s a spectacular, tranquil spot hidden in the forest between the beach, lake and trails. Turn off Princes Highway onto Meroo Point Road, about 20km south of Ulladulla and follow the unsealed road for 3km (suitable for 2WDs and Kombis).
Want to sleep in your vehicle? Head to Termeil Point Campground on Blackbutt Road, just 2km along to highway.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU GOT?
Start your day early with a short torch-lit wander to Meroo Head lookout, less than 1km from the carpark, to catch the sun’s first rays rise over the ocean. Look closely and you might spot dolphins playing in the surf below.
Back at camp, pack your bag with drinking water, fuel and sunscreen because you’re off to explore!
From the southeastern corner of the carpark, take the signposted track to Meroo Lake. For 600m, you’ll meander through bangalay-banksia forest to the water’s edge. Stop for a moment and you might spy blue wren, black swans, pelicans, cormorants and other waterbirds.
Continue along the trail until you hit the beach. Dance along the sand and surf until you get to the end, where another marked track leads you back into the forest. After a few hundred metres, you’ll see a sign for Nuggan Point and Willinga Lake.
This easy 2.5km trail makes for fun running or hiking through a coastal dune forest. You’ll run past Willinga Lake and through swamp forest to another beach.
Take the path at the far end of the beach up to Bawley Point, a small coastal village. Wander for long enough, like we did, and you’ll stumble across a café. The beaches here are also stunning (unsurprisingly), and we’re told they are popular with surfers.
Return the same way, but this time turn off to Meroo beach for a dip. Chances are you’ll be the only one on the beach, so bask in it for a while.
Be sure to collect some kindling on the way back to camp – you’ll want to sit by a crackling campfire tonight and watch the wallabies come out to play!
After a day filled with activity, you deserve to rest. So take a stroll around the local beaches. Don’t miss out on the awesomely named Sunburnt Beach! Along the way, search the rock pools for crabs, starfish and sea urchins.
Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon watching the birds soar around Termeil Lake. If you’re watching closely, you’ll spot cormorants, black swans, and even sea eagles and kites.
Fancy fish for dinner? Cast a line and hope for the best. If your fishing skills are rusty, head to the beach and watch the locals try their luck at spearfishing.
TIME TO REFUEL
Bawley Point has a lovely local café, (Bawley Beach Cafe), a bakery (Bawley Beach Bake) and a liquor store. The way we see it – coffee, bread and beer is really all you could need! But if you disagree, you can always grab some greens at the IGA supermarket.
Meroo Head campground is one of the best we’ve seen, and it’s free. There are generous tent sites each with a fire pit, and well-maintained toilets. Just remember to bring plenty of drinking water, load up on insect repellant and hide everything from the possums – they are incredibly brazen!
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