Looking for a weekend getaway from Sydney? Mystery Bay near Narooma and Tilba Tilba on the South Coast, makes a beautiful place to slow down and feel like you’re a million miles away.
Located nearly a 5 hour drive away from Sydney, Mystery Bay is one of the best places to visit on the South Coast NSW. Complete with gorgeous beaches, a basic campground and a tranquility, which makes it a well needed break from the city life.
Our new expat writer, Pete Mercer from the hilarious One Arm Bandito blog (check out his brilliant thoughts on Christmas in Sydney), is sharing one of his favourite finds he stumbled across whilst looking for places to visit near Sydney. He moved to Australia back in 2009 from Hull, and has made the brilliant Sydney suburb of Newtown his home. Make sure you follow his blog and his Instagram here.
Looking for a dog friendly place, he literally stuck a pin on a map and decided to visit Mystery Bay with partner Nando and dog Bruno, not knowing much about it previously. What was waiting for him was so unexpected.
Think of beautiful beaches surrounded by green rolling hills with plenty of things to do nearby. He hit the jackpot and is sharing it all with you.
Here’s his guide to Mystery Bay.
Table of Contents
Where Is Mystery Bay?
Mystery Bay is located in between the popular holiday destinations of Narooma and Bermagui. With Tilba Tilba nearby, local Australians flock here during school holidays. Whilst the area might be busy, Mystery Bay feels like it’s almost off the beaten track, perfect for those who are looking forward to unwinding and enjoying the quiet life.
It takes nearly 5 hours to drive to Mystery Bay from Sydney. If you’re coming from Melbourne, it takes nearly 8 hours to drive there.
Need To Hire A Car?
Don’t Miss Out On This Hidden Gem!
If you don’t have a car, don’t worry you can still visit this hidden gem! Check our go to car hire company in Australia to be able to discover this place.
You’ve got two options for the drive to Mystery Bay from Sydney; you can take the inland route or the coastal route option. Both will take around 5 hours by car, but I recommend taking the coastal route as there’s so many places to visit along the way.
On the coastal route we stopped to see the breath-taking views from Sublime Point Lookout at Bulli Tops (it’s on the M1 motorway so you don’t even need to take a detour). You can also stop off to look at the second most popular bridge in NSW at Sea Cliff Bridge to break up the drive.
If you’re looking for a good stop over for lunch, I recommend going into Jervis Bay. Head over to Hyams Beach Store & Cafe and enjoy the views over looking the famous Hyams Beach, the world’s whitest sand beach! You can find loads of things to do in Jervis Bay here if you’re thinking of staying overnight.
If you take the inland route I strongly recommend you stop at beautiful Kangaroo Valley. Head into the main town of Bowral and enjoy the beautiful shops and cafes. If you have time, you can’t go past Berry without going to The Famous Berry Donut Van! Opt for the cinnamon donuts, they are amazing!
See Wallabies In Eurobodalla National Park
If you’re a nature lover like me you must take a stroll through the Eurobodalla National Park. You can’t come to Mystery Bay without exploring it! Feel like you’re being watched? You probably are! We saw countless curious Wallabies watching us from a safe distance which made the walk extra special. The indigenous animals must feel pretty safe here. We saw an echidna taking a morning stroll, crossing the road near to our accommodation.
Explore The Many Things To Do In Tilba Tilba
Explore the green rolling hills around Mystery Bay and you’ll discover the remarkable village of Tilba Tilba. This perfectly preserved village has National Heritage listing protection. It’s incredibly picturesque so get your Instagram on and you’ll be able to capture the true beauty of it. Plus you’ll find loads of things to do in Tilba Tilba if you’re itching to explore.
If you arrive early and you’re feeling peckish, enjoy a delicious breakfast Ellen’s Pantry and Fine Foods. And yes Sydneysiders, the coffee is good too. We ate at a table on the deck at the back of the cafe, enjoying the winter sunshine. If you’re in the area early April, be sure to visit the Tilba Tilba festival. We missed it but it’s on our To Do List for sure.
We didn’t have time unfortunately but I’d have liked to have a beer at the Dromedary Hotel, the only pub in Tilba Tilba, and taken my place in Bullshit Corner, a legit seating area in the pub!
You can sample the wine at Tilba Valley Winery & Ale House which is a small vineyard. To be honest, the main attraction is the bar and spectacular setting. Come at sunset for live music and sweeping views of the valley.
You can’t come to Tilba Tilba and not visit the ABC Cheese Factory in Tilba! Check timings and you can witness cheese being made from local ingredients, then buy some of their produce from the store. We picked a few different cheeses… they were all dangerously good!
Things To Do In Narooma
If you arrive before sunset in Narooma, we recommend taking a look at the remarkable Australia Rock. It is a very convincing looking natural rock formation in the shape of the Australia and worth a visit!
For dinner, take the 20 minute drive to the small town of Narooma. There are a few restaurants to try here such as The Whale Restaurant and Sorriso Italian Restaurant. If you prefer to cook yourself, pick up supplies from the huge Woolworths in the centre of town. You can’t miss it!
On the main road through Narooma you’ll see a gorgeous old Heritage listed cinema called Narooma Kinema. They’ve been showing movies here since 1928 which is amazing!
Things To Do In Bermagui
If you head down to Bermigui which is just a 25 minute drive from Mystery Bay, you’ll find a few hidden gems to explore. Firstly, make a beeline over to the Horses Head, which again is another incredible rock formation in the shape of, you guessed it… a horses head. Come here at sunrise and you’ll be able to take some amazing photos.
Bring your swimmers with you and swim in paradise at The Blue Pool, one of the best things to do on the Sapphire Coast. Get here early though to avoid the crowds.
And lastly, a trip isn’t complete without a stop off at the Bermagui Gelati Clinic! Locally sourced ingredients like Mulberries and Lemon Myrtle Leaves are used here to create an eclectic array of Gelato flavours. They even have dairy-free flavours if you’re dodging-the-dairy.
When you’ve finished, take a stroll around Bermagui harbour to work off some calories.
Finally… Why Is It Called Mystery Bay?
I’m sure you’re wondering why is it called Mystery Bay like we were too? How did Mystery Bay acquire its intriguing name? Well, let me solve that little mystery for you. This plaque close to the beach reveals the story picture below.
Where To Stay In Mystery Bay
Mystery Bay is small so chances are your accommodation will be close to the beach. We stayed in this dog friendly Airbnb on Lamont Young Drive where the beach is at the end of the street! It’s dog friendly too (during permitted hours) which was perfect for us.
Mystery Bay Guide
SAVE FOR LATER AND PIN BELOW
Thank you to Pete for sharing his Mystery Bay guide. We hope this inspires you to get out and explore more of NSW! If you would like to share your stories on Londoner In Sydney like Pete did here, simply fill out our Write For Us form below!