Liz Hemmings Photography

The Sapphire Coast – Merimbula

Wildlife encounters

With no sunrise to chase before we left Batemans Bay we had a more relaxed start to the day with breakfast in our room before packing the car to head further south.

Heading along the coast south we took our time exploring some of the sites. We took the more scenic roads which popped out to the ocean gving us glimpses of the super clear blue water. Knowing we were coming back to Bermagui we did a bit of reconnaissance around Camel Rock and sussed out possible access to Horse Head Rock.

As we headed towards Tathra from Bermagui winding through the forest we had to come to a sudden stop to allow a huge lace monitor to lazily wander across the road. We were so surprised by his appearance that despite having 5 cameras in the car neither of us took a photo of him. Instead we ensured he was safely off the road before heading along on our way.

Later that afternoon as we drove around to check out some kite surfers in Pambula we came across an eastern grey kangaroo hopping along the side of the road. Having missed a second photo opportunity we then decided as the passenger I must keep a camera handy for future unexpected wildlife encounters.

Merimbula

The drive to Meribula from Batemans Bay was a scenic route following along the shoreline providing glimpses of the Pacific Ocean and white sandy beaches. One of the most stunning was Cuttagee Beach and Lagoon. As we crossed one of the old wooden one lane bridges we were amazed by how clear the water was and struck by the stunning the colour. Clear blue aqua water covered pristine pale yellow sand. It appeared to be a very popular spot especially for families with young children.

Before settling into our accomodation to unpack we had a drive around the area to look for potential sunrise and sunset spots to photograph. The day was quite grey and windy and didn’t offer much inspiration for photography. Instead we made some plans for the next day’s adventures.

Merimbula it self is a pretty town set on an inlet. Our accomodation was a short walk to the Harbour where there were cafes and shops to enjoy. Instead of heading to where the people were we took our cameras and went exploring.

As we drove between Merimbula and Pambula along the golf course we saw signs for Wheelers Oysters and decided that looked like the spot to get our dinner later. Luckily for us we got back there after our reconnaissance just in time to order our yummy seafood treat before they closed for the evening. Unfortunately rain and cloud ensured no sunset on our first night in Merimbula so we made plans for sunrise the next day.

Sunrise

Sky candy made no promises about the quality of sunrise this morning and it was right. We drove to a park where we thought we might get a good view over the entrance but realised the foreground was pretty uninspiring. Instead we headed back to the harbour so at least we had some boats in the foreground.

With a fair covering of cloud on the horizon first light gave us almost no colour. There were some pretty misty clouds over the mountains in the distance so I quickly set up my tripod for some longer exposure shots. I don’t use my tripod often so I am not that quick to get it all level and at the right height. This means I don’t use it as often as I should. Today with little prospect of a decent hand held shot I thought what have I got to lose? I was fairly happy with one photo of the mountains in the distance and the boats in the foreground. The longer exposure made the scene creamy with soft pastel colours.

Ben Boyd National Park

After a disappointing sunrise we headed back to our motel room which was clean and comfortable to make breakfast. After getting organsied we then headed out to Ben Boyd National Park to exlore the coastline and remote beaches. We went with the intention of checking out the Pinnacles which we had seen on a blog. The Pinnacles were nice but what we found by accident as well was Quondolo Beach which was stunning.

The beach was stunning with gorgeous red and yellow smooth rocks and pristine yellow sand complemented by blue and aqua water. As well as the picturesque vista it was also almost deserted. We marked the spot for a hopeful sunrise spot but made the most of the daytime view with a few photos in full sun and some fun with the lens ball.

As we headed back along the dirt roads to explore further in the national park we came across another lace monitor, this time a baby one crossing the road. Again the camera was in the back but we did snap a couple of phone shots just for proof.

Lace Monitor basking in the sun – Ben Boyd National Park

We had a good look around at a few more spots including Long Beach but no where else was quite as stunning as Quondola Beach. We left the park hopeful of returning for sunrise the next day.

Afternoon stoll along the boardwalk

After our morning adventures we had a lovely lunch at Wheelers Oysters along the road between Pambula and Marimbula. Our take away dinner from there the night before was so nice we decided to eat there again. Feeling quite relaxed after lunch we spent the afternoon resting before heading out to the boardwalk along Meribula Lake.

Along the town side of the lake there has been a timber boardwalk built which made for a lovely early evening stroll. There were a few people in the shallow water looking for crabs and others with the same idea as us having a leisurely stroll.

The weather was quite grey and with no hope of sunset we took a few shots of the lake and some local wildlife before heading back to our room for an easy dinner of cheese and crackers and a glass or two of bubbles.

We set the alarm for 4:30am to head back to Quondolo Beach for sunrise but when we woke up the weather was not promising enough to make the trip at that hour. We decided on a bit more sleep and an early get away to Bermagui.

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