9 incredible things To do in Narooma – An Australian gem

Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday or a unique Australian adventure, Narooma on the NSW’s South Coast is an ideal destination. 

There is no shortage of fantastic things to do in Narooma, Australia!

Located on the Eurobodalla Coast (in East Australia), Narooma, NSW may be an idyllic seaside destination; it is also the perfect place to combine relaxation with a little adventure.  Though it’s not as well known as the Blue Mountains or the Great Ocean Road, Narooma is every bit as stunning!

Narooma’s pristine waterways reflect every shade of blue on the colour spectrum, providing one of the most spectacularly beautiful views on the south coast. Aptly, in the local Yuin language, Narooma translates to “clear blue waters”.

With such an incredible backdrop, it’s barely surprising there are plenty of things to do in Narooma!

A father and son surfing at Narooma.

Not only is Narooma a popular tourist destination for fishermen, swimmers and those who simply want to relax by the sea for a few days. A holiday in Narooma also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the ultimate wildlife adventure at Montague Island, experience the local heritage, sample the local produce and explore the national parks.

We recommend more than a couple of days to discover all of the amazing things there are to do in Narooma.  A visit to this little town really is a fantastic top-secret addition to the best things to do in Australia.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get your bags packed, dig into our guide to the best things to do in Narooma, research key travel tips for Australia and book an adventure!

A seal swimming off the coast of Narooma, Australia.

Getting to Narooma

Just 4.5 hours from Sydney and less than 3 hours from Canberra (by car), Narooma is accessible and makes for a fantastic getaway from the city!

Narooma is a great place to take the whānau after you’ve had family fun in Sydney or Canberra.  It’s also perfect for couples – really anyone that wants to get our of the city to enjoy nature.

Travelling further south whilst on holiday? If so, you might be interested in a 3-day Adelaide itinerary – it’ll make planning an amazing South Australia road trip easy.

Getting from Sydney to Narooma

Should you have your own transport, it is fastest to travel along the coastal Princes Highway/A1.  At 350km (4.5 hours), it’s a manageable journey through a beautiful part of the country.

If you’d prefer to fly, you are able to do so.  Landing in Moruya, you’ll need to pre-arrange a private car rental for the short journey south to Narooma.

Taking just shy of 7 hours, a bus operated by Premier Motor Service is also available to transport travellers from Sydney to Narooma.

Getting from Canberra to Narooma

An easy drive, there’s really no excuse for those living in Canberra not to visit Narooma.

If you drive yourself, you’ll be looking at a 3 hour journey (220km), along the Kings Highway/B52 and Princes Highway/A1.

A Murrays bus is also available, taking 4.5 hours to drop visitors at Narooma.

Whales in the water, swimming at Narooma.

Where to Stay in Narooma

  • Budget: Coastal Comfort Motel.  Well-located, clean, tidy and well equipped with a kitchenette, this is a great option for those looking to save money, both on your room and on eating out.
  • Budget: Narooma Palms Holiday Apartments.  Another great budget option, these apartments have a pool, perfect for cooling off in that hot Australian weather.
  • True B’n’B Charm: Anchors Aweigh.  With standout hosts and old-school charm, this is the kind of b’n’b that you’ll go away remembering.
  • Everyday Luxe: Horizon Apartments. With plenty of space, a functional swimming pool and faultless service, these apartments are a super comfortable home away from home.
The beautiful Narooma coast line.

Our Favourite Things to Do in Narooma

1. Visit Montague Island for a Narooma wildlife adventure

No visit to Narooma is complete without visiting Montague Island. Taking one of the many tours out to Montague Island is a true wildlife adventure.

From July to November you are bound to come across Southern Right and Humpback whales on their annual migration. Montague Island is also home to a large colony of Australian and New Zealand fur seals, Australia’s largest colonies of little penguins and over 90 species of birdlife.

The island is under the control of National Parks and Wildlife, so you will need to take a licensed tour to visit the island.

Once a lonely lighthouse post, Montague Island is now a nature reserve and an area of both cultural and ecological significance.

Your licensed charter operator will bring you from the town wharf, where you can explore the historic lighthouse buildings and experience local wildlife up close. Enjoy a morning whale watching, visit the seals and dolphins who make their home around the Island, or simply enjoy a day’s charter fishing. For the ultimate wildlife experience, you can even snorkel with the seals.

Both the historic lighthouse keeper’s cottages have been restored as boutique accommodation. Stay overnight and watch the sunset over the ocean. To top off an amazing day, walk down to the viewing platform at dusk to watch the colony of little penguins waddling home to their burrows after a day’s fishing.

2. Spend a day on the beach

From Dalmeny village in the north to Handkerchief Bay in the south, you will find no shortage of secluded and unspoilt beaches, backed by the still waters of the Wagonga Inlet. Swim or surf at one of the patrolled beaches, or explore the vast expanses of white sandy beaches along the coastline.

Because, let’s be honest, if you’re in a lazy mood, this is one of the best things to do in Narooma!

Looking to be a little more active?

On the northern break wall, you will find Narooma Bar Beach. This is a popular spot for holidaying families and locals alike. A netted beach to the south of the break wall provides a safe, calm swimming space which is popular for young children, as well as swimmers and snorkellers.

You can also walk out on the break wall, watch the boats navigating “the bar” and see the resident seal colony on the southern break wall.

Both Dalmeny beach and Narooma Surf Beach (which is considered one of the best beaches on the NSW South Coast) provide a safe patrolled surf beach, with surfing lessons available during the summer months as well as a calm lagoon suitable for smaller children.

3. Walk or cycle along the Narooma coastline

Take a scenic walk or cycle along the coastal pathway from Narooma to Dalmeny. The 21 kilometre shared pathway starts from Mummaga Lake in Dalmeny, passing the beaches, rock formations and wetlands along the way.

Stop at one of the many viewing platforms, where you can watch the whales during the annual migration from July to November.

4. Enjoy the Mill Bay boardwalk

Nestled along the edge of the inlet from Bar beach, a stroll along Mill Bay boardwalk is a great way to meet some of the local wildlife. The waters of the Wagonga Inlet are teeming with sealife. Pelicans and manta rays, schools of fish and octopus can be seen as you make your way along the pristine blue waters of the inlet. This is also a popular spot for fishermen to ‘dangle a line’.

At the boat ramp, you can watch the seals, pelicans and manta rays jostling for a free feed of fish from the local fishermen as they return with their day’s catch.

5. Visit the Narooma Town Wharf

The main town wharf on the other side of the inlet is home to most of the local commercial fishing charters and is also a popular fishing spot.

During the incoming tide, snorkellers jump in from the wharf to snorkel around to the bridge and explore the abundant sea life. The strength of the tide lets you just relax and float with the tide downstream. Not a good idea on the outgoing tide, however as you may well find yourself snorkelling out to sea!

Two people fishing at the end of the Narooma jetty.

6. Check Out the seals at Australia Rock – A real highlight in Narooma

From the town wharf you can drive or walk up to Australia Rock lookout and get up close to some of the local wildlife. Enjoy the panoramic views across the estuary and coastline. The whale watching platform provides an ideal vantage point for the annual whale migration between July and November.

No visit to Narooma is complete without a selfie at our iconic “Australia Rock.” At the height of the town’s shipping industry early last century, ships would tie up to the rocks below. This, combined with natural erosion formed a hole in the rock resembling a map of Australia.

On the southern breakwall you can watch the antics of the resident colony of Australian fur seals It’s an incredible experience to watch them swimming, fishing and basking on the rocks in their natural habitat. Just be sure to take note of the warning signs and don’t be tempted to get too close. They can and have attacked if they feel they are being threatened.

Australia Rock, by the ocean, at sunrise.

7. Sample the seafood at Forsters Bay

Narooma is the centre of the Oyster Coast, so make sure you sample the local produce. Forsters Bay is the place to pick up great local seafood, including locally grown oysters.

Among the cluster of colourful historic boatsheds, you will find seafood outlets and oyster growers.

From the marina, you can hire a boat or take a guided tour around the estuary and the oyster leases, or simply enjoy a day’s fishing.

Boats at Forsters Bay on a still morning.

8. Explore local history and culture

A short drive south of Narooma brings you to the historic villages of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba. Wandering the streets you can still see the relics of the villages gold mining and cheesemaking past. Quaint heritage listed weatherboard workers cottages line the street, many of which are now arts and crafts outlets. The old cheese making factory at the end of the street is back in production, giving you the opportunity to sample some of the local produce.

From the smaller village of Tilba Tilba nearby, you can take a guided hike to the summit of Mt Gulaga. During the five hour, 11 kilometre hike you can learn the history and cultural significance of this local landmark. You are bound to see some local wildlife during the hike through cool rainforests past old mine workings to the panoramic views across the region from the summit of Mt Gulaga.

9. Visit the Glasshouse Rocks

The Glasshouse Rocks are another highlight amongst all of the things to do in Narooma.  There you’ll find all sorts of interesting rock formations with intriguing natural patterns etched into them.

It’s  a simple spot to visit but a place of great natural interest.

Be sure to head out to visit the Glasshouse Rocks at low tide so the entire formation is visible.

10. Visit a neighbouring town

With a number of gorgeous towns nearby, a quick day trip from Narooma is a worthwhile thing to do.

We suggest you check out the other towns in Eurobodalla and venture out to Bermagui – each of these spots offers outstanding beauty and may just springboard you into your next vacation.

A wharf with a boat docked, sticking out into the ocean.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing seaside holiday, or an active wildlife adventure, you will book in plenty of time to experience Narooma.

Though this seaside town may be small, it packs a mighty punch!

It’s an absolute favourite of ours and we’re sure it will impress you too.

Guest post by Lesley of Empty Nesters Travel Insights.  Ian and Lesley are two Australian empty nesters, sharing their local knowledge, both from Australia and abroad. Their blog shares stories and travel tips to inspire fellow empty nesters (and travellers in general) to book their next adventure.

Photo credit: Destination NSW, Eurobodalla and Empty Nesters Travel Insights.

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