Weekender's guide to Gerroa, NSW

June 4, 2019 / By Oceana Setaysha

On the New South Wales south coast, the seaside town of Gerroa flashes past many car windows as folks head down out of Sydney to the South Coast. Some miss it altogether by choosing the Princes Highway over the slower, twisting road that meanders along the coast. Nestled quite contently between Gerringong and Berry, some 130 kilometres south of Sydney, Gerroa makes for a perfect weekend getaway. Water sports are particularly popular in Gerroa, which is at the mouth of the Crooked River and the northern end of beautiful Seven Mile Beach.

Some say making the most of your stay in Gerroa means starting the day early. Of course, lots of us start late and slow on weekends . But for the true Gerroa experience, you rise even before the sun and make a beeline to the squeaky beach where they start the morning with the cool sand between their toes. A wander along ‘7 Mile’ is positively meditative at this time of day, with the gentle crashing of the water and the joy of watching your own footprints zigzag behind you. If you continue long enough along that coastline, you’ll often find you’re entirely alone with just the sea and the rising sun. The national park along that stretch of sand means there are no high rises or apartment blocks to interrupt your scenic views. Instead, it’s just the wild wonder of Australia’s natural beauty, and a stunning sunrise to boot.

Enjoying Gerroa mornings to their full potential also means stopping off on your way home at the Blue Swimmer on Seahaven. This kitschy café is a little slice of Sydney’s brunch scene with a view of Crooked River, minus the crowds. Friendly staff don’t distinguish between locals and visitors, and it’s the kind of place where you feel like a regular as soon as you step in the door. 

The scrambled eggs are consistently heavenly, the coffee is silky and satisfying, and the seasonal menu means even if you visit often there are new tastes to delight the senses.  Full of good food and great energy, you might choose to stroll back to your abode and enjoy a morning nap, or pick up your beach things and go straight back to the water for a day of splashing in the sun-kissed sea. 

Or, you could pick the adventurer’s route, put your rock-hopping shoes on and take a trip along the Gerroa coastline. At low tide the walk along the rocky shore is a true castaway’s paradise, starting at the stairs on the corner of Burke Parade. The unofficial hike gives intrepid visitors a stunning show of the azure ocean and fluffy whitecaps, all the way to the Gerroa Headland and Black Head Reserve. Rock fishermen dot themselves along the way, usually happy to share a peek at their hard-earned catch, and the Reserve is a lovely picnic spot with an uninterrupted panorama that even locals never grow tired of.

Unfortunately, no day lasts forever, and even though Gerroa feels like a step back in time, the sun slides its way across the sky eventually, heading for the horizon. The sweeping sands of 7 Mile Beach at sunset are best viewed from the Sir Charles Kingford Smith Memorial Lookout, at the peak of the village hill. Just make your way up Headland Drive or Crooked River Road and perch yourself on a bench to watch the show. 

A riotous festival of colour splashes itself across the sky as gracefully the sun sinks out of sight, and you’ll hardly believe so much beauty could even exist in one little spot. That’s the magic of this oft forgotten seaside town, and it's why Gerroa will never go out of style. 

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