What’s the Budawangs Circuit we hear you ask? It’s the loop connecting Nowra, Batemans Bay and Braidwood in NSW, taking in the Princess and Kings Highways and all the great unsealed tracks that dissect them.
This is a unique part of south-east NSW that’s remarkably easy to get to and that offers the sort of diversity that most of us look for in a getaway. From the Circuit, you can easily dip into the southern half of Morton National Park or the northern half of Deua National Park. The Budawangs themselves are a mountain range next to the coast, a dedicated wilderness area with extraordinary topography and biodiversity.
THINGS TO DO
There are plenty of places to stop off at along the circuit, and many towns to visit. Braidwood is a bustling, heritage-listed town. There are plenty of cafes, local shops and a small farmers market on the first Saturday of the month. Braidwood’s DOJO Bread has developed quite a following for its traditional sourdough.
From Braidwood, head along the Kings Highway towards Batemans Bay. Just 10km east of Braidwood you’ll come to the Spit Shack. This roadside stop has fantastic lamb and pork rolls, sourced from the produce of local farmers and small businesses.
Just south of the Spit Shack is a fantastic sightseeing point at Penance Grove. Here you’ll find a 600m, wheelchair-accessible walking track that’s easy to get to. It includes a boardwalk (always popular with kids) and offers the opportunity to see some fantastic rainforest and Gondwana plant species. Nearby is Mongarlowe River picnic area where you might be lucky enough to spot a platypus.
Batemans Bay is a popular seaside escape for Canberrans and during the summer holidays, the little town bulges with visitors. Located on the banks of the Clyde River, the Oyster Shed is a “farm gate” for oysters, selling them unopened (so you can take them to your campsite) or shucked for eating on the spot. The Oyster Shed is positioned right on the river, so just unroll a picnic blanket and indulge.
North of Batemans Bay is the Jervis Bay National Park, which is a real oasis for nature-loving travellers. The Guinness Book of Records reckons the sand at Jervis Bay is the whitest in the world! If you’re looking for spectacularly clear water and a sheltered beach for swimming, you really can’t fault Honeymoon Bay.
THE BUDAWANGS REGION
Within the Budawangs region, there are numerous sealed and unsealed roads that lead to some great sites, such as Belmore Falls, Tianjara Falls, Beehive Point and Danjera Dam.
A picturesque alternative route from Braidwood to the coast is through the Araluen Valley. Teeming with gold prospectors in the mid-1800s, the area is now known for its orchards. Options for getting to Araluen are either via the sealed road or the narrow unsealed Majors Creek Road, which drops into the valley with spectacular views. From there, it’s an unsealed scenic road to Moruya, which is just south of Batemans Bay.
There are in excess of 26 dedicated national parks campgrounds spread throughout the region, most of which are riverside.
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Check out the full feature in issue #84 January 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.