Batemans Bay, located around 1 and half hours from Canberra, is perfect for a lazy weekend getaway any time of the year but especially in the summertime. Batemans Bay is a medium-sized coastal village city surrounded by a selection of unspoiled and uncrowded beaches in a natural environment. The town center comprises a good-sized town center with a good mix of pubs, cafes’, retail stores and lots of accommodation options to suit all budgets. If you bought nothing else but yourself, you’d find everything you need for your Batemans Bays lazy weekend. There are lots to see and do at Batemans Bay, so it’s best to save it for an extra-long weekend. Unlike the overcrowded beaches in Sydney, you will not have trouble parking next to a beach and have lots of space when catching your next wave.
If you live in Canberra, Batemans Bay is an easy day trip option where you can hit your favorite beach and comfortably drive back up on the same day. One of my favorite things to do to get some lazy chill time is getting in my Jeep, take the top down, put the music up, and cruise down to Broulee beach for a day trip. It’s important to get into a chill zone and enjoy the drive down, so a notable stopover I’ve found is the Albion cafe in Braidwood, which serves great coffee and pies. A trip to Batemans Bay doesn’t feel right without a quick stopover at historic Braidwood.
I time most of my trips to Batemans Bay during late February or early March when it’s generally less crowded, and the water temp is relatively warm (compared to the rest of the year where it’s freezing). The only downside to Batemans Bay is how you get there via the Kings highway, where the road gets a bit turbulent and winding once you pass Braidwood. It’s also one lane for most of the way; winding around Clyde Mountain is slow, and there is a fair bit of traffic during peak summer times.
For Sydney siders, Batemans Bay is an easy 4-hour drive with amazing coastal and mountain views along the way. I recommend stopping over at Ulladulla to grab some lunch or play a round of golf at the Mollymook Golf Club before driving further south to Batemans Bay. I recommend you put aside at least 3 to 4 days to make the most of it.
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Expert tips for Batemans Bay
Being a frequent visitor to Batemans Bay over the last 25 years, here are are my expert tips for Batemans Bay.
1. Book accommodation early for summer time
Batemans Bay offers many accommodation options to suit your group size and budget. I recommend you book early (especially for the summer months) to secure the best deal.
Families with young kids – If you are looking for decent all-inclusive accommodation with facilities for kids, you cannot go past Murramarang Beachfront Holiday Resort located in South Durras just 15 minutes northeast of Batemans Bay. This family-friendly resort features outdoor cabins in a natural environment, a resort pool, a kids splash pool, Pedal go-karts, bike hire, a children’s playground, a modern bistro, and a bar.
Camping, caravan, and cabins – If you like being close to nature, there are many options to be by the lakes or the seas located close to Batemans Bay. To keep things easy, check out BIG4 Holiday Parks, which offers family-friendly cabin accommodation, caravan sites, and camping options. Click here to browse more options.
Couples – Couples looking for a romantic ocean getaway can find hidden gems scattered along the coast, like The Bower at Broulee, which is a luxurious self-contained cabin with a spa. There are so many luxury options depending on your budget – check out Google and Airbnb for deals.
Big group – There are so many houses and beach cabins available for hire via Airbnb, but if you’re looking for something different I’d recommend hiring a Houseboat at Clyde river for a lazy long weekend. Imagine living in a constantly moving house surrounded by water, fishing literally from your doorstep anytime, and relaxing with your family or friends.
2. Beach surf beaches
If surfing is your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice for beaches surrounding Batemans Bay, so I recommend you take a few weeks off to chill out and explore. In my opinion, the best surf patrolled beaches with facilities (i.e., car parks, public toilets, easy access to cafes) are Moloney’s beach, Cookie’s beach at South Durras. Broulee, Surf beach, Malua Bay, Moruya Beach and Tuross Beach. If you feel more adventurous and don’t care about facilities, I recommend you check out Pebbly beach, Pink Rocks beach (north of Broulee island), and Denham’s beach. If you want to learn how to surf, I would recommend Broulee Surf School, which boasts itself as the best surf school on the NSW south coast. I’m not surfing, but I love to set loose on my boogie board at Broulee surf beach, which is consistent with quality waves and a great vibe. Check our review of Broulee beach here.
3. Best family friendly beaches
If you are going down with the family and after less turbulent waters, Batemans Bay offers up so many options, but Broulee is far and away the best, in my opinion. There is a surf club with lunch options, toilet and shower facilities, lifeguards, rock pools to keep the kids entertained, and shallow calm waters ideal for snorkeling. Please don’t all go there at once after reading this article though; the serenity needs to be kept intact. Narooma Bar Beach South is also a great place for kids to learn how to swim or snorkel.
4. Best secluded beaches
If you’re after total seclusion, I recommend you check out this Tripadvisor guide to secluded beaches at Batemans Bay. Many secluded beaches are scattered around Batemans Bay, but you need to be a bit adventurous and do some pre-planning to get to these. I would steer away from swimming on these beaches as they are not patrolled.
5. Best fishing spot
If you love fishing, Batemans Bay is your place! My good mate Damian, a fishing enthusiast, is a big fan of fishing around the Tomakin area, especially from the beach and shallow lagoon. Subscribe to his Youtube channel here for expert fishing tips and tricks in the Batemans Bay area.
6. Fish and chips at Innes’ Boatshed
I’ve tried many good fish and chips places at Batemans Bay, but the best, in my opinion, is Innes’ Boatshed. I keep coming back to this place every time, and it never disappoints. They do a generous serving, the batter is done to perfection, and calamari rings are also out of this world. I recommend dining in during high tide to check out stingrays from the deck. This is also a great way to keep the kids entertained while you enjoy your meal.
7. Batemans Bay ice creamery
After your fish and chips, walk up the street to the famous Batemans Bay Ice Creamy for desert. This place is legendary for freshly made waffle cones (which you can smell from outside the shop) and a wide selection of delicious ice cream or gelato options. There are so many flavors to choose from; you’ll be in there for a while!
8. Drive down to Tuross
Tuross deserves a special mention as it’s a stunningly beautiful place to visit during the summer months or a quiet coastal escape in the winter. Tuross, an easy 40-minute drive down south from Batemans Bay, is the best-kept secret on the south coast. It is a geographic wonder with enormous rocky shores and white sand interlaced with golden surf beaches.
9. Visit Mogo
You haven’t done a lazy weekend to Batemans Bay without checking out Mogo, which is a breezy 10 minutes down the Princess highway. This historic town has a unique array of shops comprising exotic and unusual artifacts, jewelry, home décor, ceramics, collectibles, antiques, cafes, and an old-school lolly shop that’ll make you feel like a kid again. Don’t forget to visit Mogo Zoo, which is home to over 200 animals, including tigers, lions, apes, reptiles, and many other endangered exotic animals from places far and near.
10. Book a whale watching cruise
The waters around Batemans Bay are a migratory passage for the magnificent Southern Right and Humpback whales, which can be seen between June and July and in the peak season from September to November. The best way to spot whales is to do it the easy way and book a whale-watching cruise. All you’ll have to do is turn up, and everything else will be taken off, including refreshments on board.
11. Take half day sea kayak tour
The half sea kayak tour is perfect is a great way to comfortably and safely check out the stunning inaccessible coastline. You may see dolphins, stingrays, whales (seasonal), and seals along the way and be taken to a secluded beach for a picnic and snorkeling. Do I need to promote this any further? Book it in here.
12. Dive with grey nurse sharks
If you’re into diving, I recommend you book a diving tour with Batemans Bay Dive Adventures to check out the grey nurse sharks. Although these sharks look menacing, they are docile in nature and considered non-threatening to humans.
How to get to Batemans Bay
Take the Princess highway all the way south past Jervis Bay, Ulladulla, and you will reach Batemans Bay. The road does get crowded during the peak summer months, so it’s important to time your trip and be patient.
It’s a cruisy 1 and half hour drive from Canberra, which will take you through Braidwood and right on the Princess highway round-about to Batemans Bay.