Summer in Australia means spending time on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Most travellers will instantly think of Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach or St Kilda Beach in Melbourne or the magnificent stretches of  coastline around Byron Bay, Noosa Heads and  far north Queensland. However a little known gem known as Narooma, lies just five hour south of Sydney. In Narooma you will find not only pristine waterways and national parks to explore, but an abundance of natural wildlife to experience up close. This unspoilt paradise is also far less crowded than the more famous tourist destinations.

crystal blue sea with black rocks along the coastline of Narooma
White sandy beaches with crystal clear waters in Narooma

Narooma is a former fishing town and now a popular seaside resort in the Eurobodalla region of New South Wales. “Narooma”, means “clear blue water” in the indigenous Yuin dialect. It is certainly the only word to describe the sweeping views which greet you as you approach the coastal resort town.

The crystal clear waters of Wagonga inlet are impossibly blue, with  rock walls snaking around the waters  leading recreational fishing craft safely out to sea. In the background lies Mt Gulaga, watching over the sweeping Pacific Ocean coastline and endless stretches of white sandy beaches. Out to sea, the famous Montague Island, with its historic lighthouse and abundant wildlife stand sentinel.

Unlike the more well-known beach resorts of Australia, Narooma and the surrounding townships of Bermagui and Dalmeny are considerably less crowded. Thinking of what to do in Narooma while you’re there? With its broad range of sights and activities, holiday makers can enjoy watersports, fishing, hiking in the national parks, cycling, and enjoying the local seafood and wines. From Narooma, you can also experience a number of wildlife both on shore and from the waters around Montague Island.



Bar Beach Narooma white sand with calm blue waters
Calm waters around Bar Beach that’s safe for swimming
Stunning rock formations on the shore of Dal Beach Narooma
Surf at Dal Beach in Narooma

If it’s your first time to Narooma, start it right by exploring the pristine beaches around. With so many beaches to choose from, you can either catch a wave at one of the many surf beaches in Narooma, or find a secluded sandy cove to relax and work on your tan under the sun. At both Narooma Bar and Dalmeny Beaches, you will discover endless stretches of white sandy surf beach, adjacent to a safe swimming lagoon ideal for children to play in.


colourful timber boat sheds lined up along Forsters Bay Narooma Australia
Colourful timber boat sheds at Wagonga Inlet
boat shed along wagonga inlet
Cruise along Wagonga Inlet from Forsters Bay

Narooma is renowned as a fisherman’s paradise. Dangle a line from the town wharf or the boardwalk along the clear waters of Mill Bay. Try your luck fishing for whiting on the sand flats around Forsters Bay, where you will find rows of charming historic wooden boatsheds lined along Wagonga Inlet. Here, you can also hire a small boat and spend the day floating around calm inlet waters, cruising past the oyster leases, catching flathead and enjoying the surrounding bushland. You can also enjoy a morning’s guided cruise around the estuary.

More adventurous fisherman can take a fishing charter out to Montague Island for a spot of game fishing.


two chefs preparing gourmet dishes at the Narooma Oyster Festival
Chefs at work at the Narooma Oyster Festival –

Narooma is the centre of the Oyster Coast, so be sure to sample the local oysters and seafood while you are here. The boatsheds surrounding the inlet provide fresh local oysters and locally caught seafood that you can cook yourself, or relax by the water and  dine on local seafood at one of the many waterside restaurants and cafes. There’s also the annual Narooma Oyster Festival taking place every May featuring award-winning chefs and fun activities for food lovers.

The surrounding villages of Bodalla and Tilba once supported a thriving dairy and cheese industry. Today you can still wander around the heritage towns and sample locally produced cheeses.

Join the ultimate Food & Wine Tour with a visit to a local winery, cheese factory and the Bermagui Fishermans Wharf for a complete gourmet experience while in Narooma.


panaromic view of montague island with mount gulaga in the background
Montague Island and Mount Gulaga

No visit to Narooma is complete without making the 11 kilometre trip out to Montague Island. Learn the history of the former lighthouse, which is now a nature reserve, home to a large seal colony and around 90 species of birdlife, including one of Australia’s largest colonies of little penguins.

Colony of seals swimming around Montague Island
Seals swimming around Montague Island

Montague Island is protected by the National Parks and Wildlife, so only licensed charter operators can land on the island.  During a tour of the island you not only have the opportunity to learn the history of the lighthouse and the local cultural significance of the island. You can also  snorkel with the seals, or at dusk you can watch the penguins waddling back to their burrows from a day’s fishing.

From July to November you are likely to see a number of humpback and southern right whales putting  on a spectacular display during their annual migration. Narooma is known as one of the best places to enjoy a memorable whale watching experience.


Narooma is home to an abundance of native wildlife, but you don’t need to leave the shore for a unique wildlife experience. Flocks of pelicans and seabirds can be seen at any of the boat ramps, jostling for a free feed from the “catch of the day”.

Fur Seal sitting on a rock in Narooma
Get up close and personal with Fur Seals in Narooma

Take a walk along the southern break-wall at Australia Rock, where you will find a small colony of Australian Fur seals who have taken up home there. You can literally stand within meters of the seals sunning themselves on the rocks, and putting on a display as they frolic in the waters.

From the Mill Bay boardwalk or from one of the many beaches, you are sure to catch seals or dolphins at play, stingrays or pelicans jostling for a feed and even the odd emu and kangaroo.

A 21 kilometer cycle-way runs around the coastal headlands between Narooma and the nearby town of Dalmeny. Several viewing platforms give you the opportunity to enjoy a spot of whale watching while you take in the spectacular coastal views.

We recommend renting an E-bike or joining a full day E-bike private tour to experience all of the above in a fun way that’s suitable for all fitness levels.


Narooma offers a wide range of accommodation to cater to all holiday styles and budget. From basic campground, onsite cabins, self catering holiday accommodation to luxury serviced apartments, the choice is yours.

Click here to find your ideal place to stay with the best rates in Narooma


Narooma has one of the most temperate climates in Australia. Average daytime temperatures in winter are usually around 17°c (64F).  Summer in Narooma sees temperatures around 24°c (75F), with some days up to 30°c (86F). September to April are the most popular months to visit Narooma. If visiting during the cooler winter months, you can take advantage of cheaper off-season accommodation. 


Narooma is five hours drive from Sydney, or three hours drive from Canberra. While a hire car will certainly be the most convenient way to explore the Eurobodalla, buses run daily from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to the south coast.

Click here to compare the best car rental rates throughout Australia

It is also possible to catch a flight from Sydney of Melbourne to the nearby Moruya Airport and hire a car from there. It is only a very small regional airport, so pre-booking your car is an essential.


Now that you know what to do in Narooma, start planning your next summer holiday in this unspoilt paradise of Australia!


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 About our contributor:
Ian and Lesley Connor are two Australians living on the pristine south coast of NSW. They provide travel tips and stories to provide local knowledge to travellers planning a trip to Australia, as well as sharing their experiences travelling in Europe through their travel blog




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