TURN LEFT FOR PARADISE
A detour off the Princes Highway reveals a hidden gem in southern New South Wales
along the Princes Highway south of Batemans Bay it’s easy to miss the turn-off for Tuross Head. Of course, for those in the know, that may be a good thing. This sleepy little town gets a fraction of the crowds of better-known, highway-side destinations.
But if you’re looking for a getaway with a relaxing ambiance and a superb setting, then slow down and turn left. Tuross Head shouldn’t be missed.
The town sits on a headland wedged between the Pacific Ocean and two magnificent lakes. It’s also ringed by fine beaches and shaded by impressively large Norfolk pines.
By lunchtime, you could be settled in at the Tuross Boatshed and enjoying fish, chips and salad on the waterside deck.
It’s a beaut spot not just for a lazy lunch but for an afternoon’s paddle, too. Rent a kayak and set off across the lagoon, where you might see seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Even more remarkably, in winter you might spot snow on the distant peaks, even while you’re soaking up the sun and water sparkles off your paddle.
Fishing is another popular activity hereabouts. Tuross Lake, which hasn’t been commercially fished in years,
has abundant bream, flathead, garfish, flounder, mullet, trevally, whiting, snapper, crabs and a whole lot more. There are photos tacked up in the boatshed of happy fishermen who’ve caught big fish, including a grinning boy called Hugh O’brien with a mulloway almost as big as he is. The boatshed sells fishing bait, tackle, fishing rods and gear, and you can rent tinnies too if you want to try your luck from mid-water.
For surfers, One Tree Point is the place to be. For golfers, the local Tuross Head Country Club has lovely views of Coila Lake and a friendly clubhouse.
Tuross Head also offers several scenic walks, one of which is a cycleway as well, and follows the dreaming track of the local Brinja-yuin people along the coast. Headlands provide terrific views over nearly deserted beaches and, during the season, whales are often spotted in the ocean beyond.
When it comes to views, even accommodation hereabouts has scenery attached. Tuross Lakeside Village has onsite vans right on the Tuross Lake waterfront, as well as tent and caravan sites. Many of its permanent caravans are owned by fishing enthusiasts. Paved ramps and a gently sloping beach allow you to run your boat up, or moor right in front of your cabin. You can rent 12-foot tinnies with outboards, kayaks and canoes and take a sunset paddle onto the lake, where the evening light is stunning. Or you can just sit on the veranda of your cabin and watch the pelicans do the paddling against a backdrop of impossibly blue water ringed by blue hills.
It’s hard to beat your own barbecue dinner in this setting, though Tuross Head also has plenty of seafood eateries.
You could do worse than head to Red Box Pizza, which has a huge range of wood-fire pizzas, from traditional favourites such as Hawaiian and Mexicana to gourmet varieties such as roasted zucchini with mozzarella, fresh tomato slices, herbs, mushrooms and cracked pepper.
For desert, try pear pizza topped with caramel sauce and a scoop of caramelised fig gelato. It’s about as decadent as the view across the darkening water, and certainly worth a detour from the Pacific Highway.
Rowboats on Lake Tuross.
Dining at the Boatshed. The view from One Tree Point, and, below, the Lakeside Tourist Park.