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Whale Watching on the South Coast of NSW

Whales are very humanly passionate. They flirt with each other through graceful and intimate ‘dances’, they compose songs to communicate across vast distances, and the bond between mother and calf is so strong that they stay eyeball-to-eyeball or within fin distance of each other for more than a year.

And the sex life of a humpback could make it onto the pages of a Barbara Cartland novel, with all its fervent chasing, slapping, lunging, breaching and belly-to-belly fin clasping.

These human-like attributes may go some way to explaining why perfectly rational people are inspired to don a cagoule and sit for hours on the open sea squinting for the merest glimpse of a dorsal fin.

There is something about these creatures that makes any kind of encounter with them exhilarating.

Mark Westwood is a National Parks and Wildlife Service guide based in Narooma on the NSW Eurobodalla Coast, where humpbacks feeding and playing on the edge of the continental shelf come exceptionally close to shore in June and again from September through to November.

He thinks people love whales for a strange mix of reasons.

“It’s the size of them,” he says, “and the romance that was built up through the whaling industry. It’s the sounds they make, the interaction they have with people, a feeling of respect – it’s all of those things combined.

“And the return of their numbers is tangible – people can see we’ve protected these creatures and they are returning in bigger numbers every year.

“Quite often the whales interact with people on the charter boats – we have to stay a distance away from them but they choose to come closer. I’ve had experiences where whales have played right next to and under the boat.”

Every year, many thousands of humpbacks undertake a herculean 10,000k migration from Antarctica to Queensland and back again to mate and give birth.

In an evacuation of military precision, the females attempting to wean their reluctant young leave first, followed about 12 days later by the immature whales and another ten or so days later by the males and resting females.

Last of all come the heavily pregnant females who stay for as long as possible in the nutrient-rich Antarctic waters fattening up for their arduous journey.

The whales converge at Cape Byron and speed on to Hervey Bay where some mate in their uniquely energetic way.

After 11 months’ gestation, the pregnant females give birth to 4-metre long calves in the warm northern waters, gently raising them to the surface so the air can stimulate their blowholes to open and fill their lungs to keep them afloat.

The newborns feed almost immediately and drink around 3 gallons of milk at each of their 40 feeds in every 24 hours, which means that while they quickly grow fat and strong, their mothers and the rest of the community are in increasingly poor shape after eating little or nothing since leaving Antarctica.

The newly-pregnant females, now ravenous and eating for two, lead the journey back down south with the resting females, followed by the immature group, the males and lastly the mothers and calves.

It is on this return journey that the whales are prevalent all along the Eurobodalla Coast and particularly around Narooma. The edge of the continental shelf runs unusually close to shore providing nutrition-rich krill and warm currents which, Mark Westwood says, they “hitch a ride on.”

And it’s not just hump backs – Southern Right Whales, Fin Whales, Brydes Whales, Sei Whales, Blue Whales and Orcas have all been seen off Narooma in recent years and there has even been a sighting of a rare albino hump back off Montague Island.

As a NPWS veteran of nine years, Mark has watched numbers increase significantly year on year.

“There are certainly more whales around each year – they’re recovering from their hunting days,” he says.

“There was one day we call the ‘day of 100 whales’ when we went out to Montague Island and they were all around us for as far as you could see – there were two blue whales right next to us about a metre away. That was quite a day.”

The tragedy is that these gorgeous creatures playing, feeding and nursing their cherished young in record numbers off our coast can again be targeted by hunters as they make their way back.

You’ll find a wealth of heritage attractions at Jervis Bay South Coast NSW

The Jervis Bay, the ever-changing coastal landscape is a tapestry bathed in shimmering light, rich in natural beauty and truly alive with people of inspiration and character.

Jervis Bay is infamous for both whale and dolphin cruises in the marine park, along with having the white sand beaches in Australia, one of these, Hyams Beach.

Here the holiday maker, seeking to recharge the batteries can choose almost any holiday style from relaxation to adventure unlimited.

The township’s name of Huskisson comes from William Huskisson, who was Colonial Secretary between 1827 and 1829. Because of its location, Huskisson’s past and present revolves around the sea, shipping and tourism. From the 1860s, Huskisson was a favoured place for shipping, and the shipbuilding industry started to flourish, using local spotted gum for sailing vessels and pine for steamers.

Enjoy a bistro lunch at the historic Husky Pub in the centre of Huskisson. And yes Huskisson became Australia’s first mainland coastal plastic bag free town in 2003.

The Jervis Bay Marine Park aims to conserve marine biological diversity and marine habitats, while catering for a broad range of recreational and commercial activities. The Marine park and Booderee National Park attract visitors from all over the world year round.

Lady Denman Heritage Complex Huskisson
Maritime Museum with other cultural content. Local History, Aboriginal culture, a very fine Surveyor’s Gallery with instruments dating from the 15th century. Along with the Jervis Bay Museum of Science and the Sea.
Open daily at Huskisson from 10am – 4pm. Woollamia Rd Huskisson Ph: (02) 4441 5675 – emailWebsite

Eden … a natural paradise

Welcome to Eden, a very special seaside holiday township set on the shores of magnificent Twofold Bay, surrounded by Ben Boyd National Park and beautiful, unspoilt beaches.

Eden enjoys a temperate climate perfect for that restful, nature made, year-round holiday. Forest drives and bushwalking are always a favourite, and fishing conditions are ideal.

The region’s history is steeped in the tradition of the sea, and whale watching in October and November is the chance of a lifetime to experience these gentle giants up close and personal.

Eden is renowned for its fantastic fishing with deep water inlets and bays, crystal clear rivers, golden stretches of shoreline, strategic rock locations and reef and off-shore fishing fields.

Visitors to Eden invariably find themselves drawn to Snug Cove where three wharves unite as a working port with trawlers regularly on the move bringing home the day’s catch for relay to the markets.

Watch out for pelicans, dolphins and seals. Enjoy a Twofold Bay Discovery Cruise or a fishing charter, bring the camera for some great snaps, enjoy a feast of fish and chips or just a friendly chat with the local fishermen. Several hundred metres past the wharf is the Rotary Lookout and the Seamen’s Memorial Wall. While the lookout affords panoramic views over Twofold Bay (and is also a great whale watching location), the Memorial Wall captures the true essence of the township.

A visit to the Eden Killer Whale Museum and the Davidson Whaling Station site also provide an insight into the rich history of the area.

Flanking Eden both to the North and South, Ben Boyd national Park contains 10,790 hectares of coastal land offering striking coastal scenery from sandy surf beaches, rocky bays and ocean platforms, to quiet campgrounds, sheltered inlets and historic lighthouses.

Named after Benjamin Boyd, a 19th Century entrepreneur who played an important part in the development of the area, the park provides a wealth of things to see and do. Swim, barbeque or picnic along the water’s edge at a variety of locations. Watch out for Eastern Grey Kangaroos, White-bellied Sea Eagles or colourful forest birds. Visit historic Boyd’s Tower on the southern headland of Twofold Bay, or Bittangabee Ruins in picturesque Bittangabee Bay.

The Pinnacles is another favourite location in north Ben Boyd National Park. The Pinnacles is a formation which dates back some 65 million years when the soft white sand and its cap of red clay laid the foundations for the subsequent feature which now exists.

Viewers can appreciate the beauty of the formation from the opposing cliff. Other popular sites with the Northern section of the National Park include Severs Beach which houses aboriginal middens dating back at least 4,000 years, and Haycock Point with large rock formations.

Upon arrival to Eden, make your first stop the Eden Visitor Information Centre, where you will find plenty of information, plus lots of great souvenirs and local produce. To book tours, phone us on 02 6496 1953 or email. We look forward to welcoming you!

Tathra Maritime Museum
Old Cargo Shed Wharf Road Tathra Open 7 days.
Phone/fax (02) 6494 4062.
Tathra’s wharf is the only remaining sea wharf on the East Coast of NSW and has been restored by the National Trust.

Eden Killer Whale Museum
Imlay St Eden (opp Police Station) Ph: (02) 6496 2094 Website
Open daily (except Xmas Day) 9am – 3.45pm.
Preserving Eden’s Whaling History with ‘Old Tom’ the killer whale skeleton on display.

Greenhills to Greenwell Point Heritage Drive

Visit the villages of yesteryear, which were once the life-blood of the local community.

These villages were located along the southern banks of the Shoalhaven River on the outskirts of Nowra, and residents used the river as their highway to the world in days gone by.

This heritage drive will introduce you to some of the historical sites in the area designed by historian Robyn Florance.

Taking you on a tour of the villages follows the old road system through the private estates of William Graham’s Greenhills, Prosper de Mestre’s Terrara, Alexander Berry’s Numbaa, Pyree, Greenwell Point and Worrigee and Alfred Elyard’s Brundee. The total distance travelled is approximately 50kms.

Each planned tour contains a map indicating the location and historical background information associated with the site.

You can customise each tour to suit your needs; choose to stop at one location of fit every location into a day trip. You begin your journey into history from the Visitors Information Centre, which is situated in Pleasant Way, Nowra. Order book online

Discover our National Treasure in beautiful Kangaroo Valley NSW

In 1975 The National Trust awarded Kangaroo Valley ‘Scenic Preserve’ status – because it simply is one of the most beautiful parts of NSW. “The natural scenic grandeur of the valley walls contrast with the peaceful rural landscape of the lush valley floor.

The visual impact of Kangaroo Valley is one of grandeur yet tranquility with vantage points give views of a lush green valley framed by austere sandstone cliffs bounding the plateau some 300 m above the valley floor describes the National Trust.

Certainly the combination of the green rainforest and rich hues of sandstone that frame the paddocks of grazing dairy herds, lazy mountain streams and skies filled with flocks of king parrots is very inspirational and relaxing. To have a view is one thing but to have nature’s beauty roll out in front of you is solus for the sole.

Kangaroo Valley has been awarded seven listings with the National Trust and one of the best ways to enjoy our jewels is to park your car opposite the Pioneer Museum Park and walk east. Dont forget at the post office you can add a historic post mark to your postcards and letters.

First you will see:
Hampden Bridge: opened in May 1898, is the oldest surviving suspension road bridge in NSW and offers lovely views of the river gorge.

Take the footpath and wander along the tree lined road passing The Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd Rectory which was built in 1876 by John Tanner.

Continue your stroll and you’ll pass The Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd: also built in 1876 by John Tanner it was his first work and bears all of the structural honesty for which Hunt was later to become famous. The Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd Graveyard is an important townscape feature.

You will now stroll through the village with its historic Catholic church, St Josephs , charming sandstone school, the wonderfully preserved wooden post office (where you can add a historic post mark to your postcards), the popular Friendly Inn and plenty of cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries.

Now you will reach The Courthouse. Still used today as the police station, this was designed by famous NSW Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon and is a particularly fine example of the series of rock faces stone courthouse designed for the cooler climate areas between 1895 and 1905.

Lastly when you have returned to your car, drive to The General Cemetery which has a wonderful selection of historic pioneer monuments.

From the Cemetery you can take a number of drives which allow you to marvel at the Kangaroo Valley Landscape Conservation Area: considered by the National Trust to be one of the principal scenic features of the Illawarra Shoalhaven.

Enjoy these wonderful views when you stay in the lovely accommodation. Spoil yourselves with private, romantic luxury. Spoil the children with fun packed country cottages. Relax with warm B&B hospitality. Book that big family break at the caravan parks or enjoy the magic of camping surrounded by nature. Most of this accommodation offer the visitor outstanding views of this beautiful landscape, bed and breakfast to holiday rural retreats.

The Pioneer Museum & Park is perhaps one of the most important surviving sites of historic homes, clothes and agricultural machinery so close to Sydney/Canberra.

A visit will reward you with the wonderful experience of walking through old pioneer dwellings filled with the original furniture, objects and clothes while you listen to taped descriptions of early life by some of our residents.

Carefully laid out to resemble a real rural settlement the Pioneer Museum & Park is a great way to stimulate children. It gives them a chance to see how families used to live. Show them the old school house and they might reconsider where they learn today! For adults the original clothes, jewellery and cottage interiors are a fascinating reminder of our heritage and preserving Kangaroo Valley history with buildings, machinery, memorabilia and photographic display

Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Museum: Open 7 days Ph: (02) 4465 1306

Montreal Goldfield

Site of a gold rush between 1880 and 1883. The first claim was registered on September 17, 1880 and by mid October Montreal was bigger than Bermagui.

The diggings extended from Camel Rock in the north to Keating Headland in the south and it was one of only two coastal goldfields in the Southern Hemisphere. Now all that is left are well-preserved mineshafts and the stories of frenzied digging and mysterious disappearances.

A guided tour is held everyday at 2.00 p.m. from the carpark (entry is by guided tour only). No need to book ahead except for groups of more than 15, when booking is essential. For more information, contact or visit the Bermagui Visitor Information Centre.

Montague Island

Conservation Volunteers Australia invites you to experience Montague Island, a stunning nature reserve located on New South Wales’ south coast, nine kilometres offshore from the small coastal township of Narooma. Montague Island has been protected as a wildlife sanctuary for over 50 years, and a visit to the island this spring will reveal why, as 30,000 seabirds return to nest for the annual breeding season.

Amongst the crested terns, shear waters and silver gulls, up to 8,000 pairs of little penguins come ashore, making it the largest colony found in New South Wales. Fur seal numbers peak in spring, with more than 1,000 seals found playing together on the northern edge of the island, and humpback whales grace the surrounding waters on their annual migration southward to Antarctica.

If environmentally responsible travel is for you, then a visit to Montague Island will showcase nature tourism at its best. Small group ecotours entice visitors back again and again to four-star heritage guesthouse accommodation, set in amongst the wild wonders.

Naturewise Conservation Holidays provide meaningful travel, connecting people with nature and the opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ in helping to protect and conserve the island.

The special quality of this ecotourism experience has been recognised in a plethora of awards and recognitions, most notably, a National Tourism Award for Australia’s best ecotourism experience. It is Advanced Eco Certified, meeting strict guidelines set by Australia’s peak ecotourism body, Ecotourism Australia.

Your nature holiday on Montague Island can be as active or passive as you choose. Guided by a local park ranger, explore the island by foot, discovering its vast ecological and historical significance, revealed in 125 years of lighthouse history and wildlife found around every corner. According to previous participants, there is nothing else quite like this experience:

“Breathtaking wild beauty, perfect weather, excellent company, delicious food and wine – Wow! Thanks for having us in this treasure of a place.” Sarah and Geoff Cains

Ecotours are operated by Conservation Volunteers Australia and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Free call (aus only) 1800 032 501.