Narooma is four and a half hours from Sydney on the New South Wales south coast. It is a beautiful spot with lovely beaches and spectacular coastline. A feature of the town is the Wagonga Inlet; a large crystal clear body of water that changes personality with ebb and flow of the tide.
The inlet is a haven for fishing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding. There are Cafes, oyster sheds and the wharf is a hub for tour boats leaving for nearby Montague Island. It is a beautiful and ever changing place. One of the best places to take it all in is the Mill Bay Boardwalk.
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Mill Bay Boardwalk
Built in 2001, the 350 metre long wood boardwalk is on the north side of Wagonga Inlet. One end is near the Narooma Bridge, from there it curves its way along the water’s edge to Apex Park following Centenary Drive. You might find yourself asking how interesting can A 350 metre long walk be?
This is a fantastic walk for all sorts of reasons. First it is accessible. The flat boardwalk is suitable for everything from bikes to prams and wheelchairs. There is seating along the way so if you want to stop there are opportunities to take in the views – and the views are fantastic!
From the boardwalk you look back to the centre of town towards the wharf. The water can be turquoise blue and the tides and currents mean the landscape across the inlet is always changing. Low tide exposes sand banks that are a favourite spot for pelicans and other birds.
The marine life was the highlight for us. Large schools of fish swim around the pylons but expect to see much bigger creatures. Short tail or smooth rays swim under the boardwalk – you can’t miss them as they can be a couple of metres wide. Seals also cruise between the boat ramps at either end Mill Bay Boardwalk.
Read More : The Magic of Kayaking on Jervis Bay
How to enjoy the Mill Bay Boardwalk
We loved Narooma and the Mill Bay Boardwalk sums up all things that made the town so appealing. While why didn’t get the chance to kayak along it, we did walk, ride and snorkel its length. Each adventure was a great experience as it gave us a chance to explore different aspects of the town.
Walking the Mill Bay Boardwalk
Walking is the perfect way to take in those great views of the town. From the Narooma Bridge end, you can meander along the path watching seals cruise up and down the inlet and chat to people fishing. If you are around at the right end of the day, the sunrises and sunsets across the inlet are beautiful.
The highlight of the walk is the Apex Park end. We stopped in here several times and there was always something going on from seals looking for food to stingrays cruising past. This is also the access point to Bar Beach South which is protected by the breakwater.
You can walk out along the breakwater. It is a fun place when there are big seas, the waves come crashing in and spray high into the air. The breakwater is also a favourite spot for the resident seals to hang out. On the other side of the breakwater, you’ll find Australia Rock and the Bar Rock Lookout.
For a longer walk, you can go across the Narooma bridge, go past the mangroves and along the foreshore towards the wharf. Or, in the other direction, there is a shared use path that takes you to Kianga Point at the far end of Bar Beach North.
WE STAYED AT PACIFIC PINES IN NAROOMA
The Pacific Pines apartments look directly out over Wagonga Inlet. Sitting on the balcony on our first evening we watched a shadow in the water. We quickly realised we could see the stingrays & seals in the bay while eating our cheese and biscuits. Top spot!
Hire an E-bike
For ages, friends have been telling us to try an electric bike (or E-bike). For some, riding an E-bike might feel like cheating. For many others, an E-bike is the answer to their misery of struggling to peddle up hills. We had one member of the Curious Campers team in each camp, so where better to try an E-bike than along and beyond the boardwalk.
We visited the team at South Bound Escapes E-bike hire. In a few minutes they had us kitted up and ready to go. We hired the bikes for 2 hours, plenty of time to ride along the boardwalk and continue to Dalmeny north of Narooma. You ride on a bike path pretty much the whole way, it was a hoot!
NAROOMA - 2 HOUR E-BIKE RENTAL
This is the tour we booked, and absolutely loved! Ride along the 21km Narooma to Dalmeny cycle track. The route hugs the stunning coastline from Narooma Wharf. Spot giant sting rays, pelicans, fish and seals. Enjoy panoramic views across the Wagonga Inlet over to Gulaga Mountain.
Mill Bay to Dalmeny
It is a short ride from the bike shop to the Narooma Bridge and onto the boardwalk. While the ride along the boardwalk is fast, being over the water and the sound of the tyres on the wood makes it good fun. There is plenty of room to pull over if something catches your eye.
From the boardwalk, we passed wetlands where black swans were nesting. We continued on past Mill Bay, Kianga Beach, Duesbury Beach and Duesbury Lookout and Yabbara Point. You see pretty Josh’s Beach as you ride into Dalmeny.
The coastal views on the ride are fantastic, there are several lookouts along the way where you can take in the coastline. In winter they would be great whale watching spots. There are some small hills along the way, but the E-bike made light work of them.
The verdict on the E-bikes – great fun! If you are on a sightseeing ride, they are a great way to get around. They are easy to use, we didn’t come close to running out of battery and the E-assistance makes for a very relaxing ride. We’d definitely use them again. For one half the Curious Campers team, I don’t think they will now ride anything but an E-bike.
Mill Bay Boardwalk Snorkel
If you want to see what goes on in the water below the boardwalk, slip on a face mask and fins. We love snorkelling so we couldn’t wait to get into the water. There can be strong currents in the inlet, so you need to plan your snorkel to go with the tide. We decided to drift with the outgoing tide from the Mill Bay boat ramp near the bridge towards the breakwater.
We parked at Apex Park and walked the length of the boardwalk to the boat ramp near Narooma Bridge. A seal playing with some fish scraps greeted us as we got in. We gave it plenty of room, but that didn’t stop it coming over to see what we were up to.
The current took us effortlessly along the boardwalk where we saw all kinds of fish; big, small and colourful. We were on the lookout for seahorses that live near the pylons, but we didn’t see any. What we did see were stingrays. Out of nowhere a 2 metre wide smooth ray glided underneath us in less than a couple of metres of water.
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Mill Bay Stingrays
We knew there were stingrays Wagonga Inlet. We had seen them at the wharf and spotted them cruising over the sand near Batemans Marine Park. The last thing we expected was a close encounter with them. It glided under me and hovered for long enough for me to fumble with my camera and get a terrible picture. It then swam over to Nat and proceeded to follow her around.
It is impossible to see a large stingray and not think of the damage their long barbed tail can do. It was little wonder that the close attention the ray gave Nat made her a little anxious. The problem was, the more she kicked to get away from it, the more it seemed to want to follow her. The splashing seemed to attract it.
We could hear walkers on the boardwalk gasping as the stingray followed her around. After 10 or 15 seconds of this she lay still, and the ray moved on. We let our heartrates drop a bit and drifted on. Stingray excitement aside, the fish life was fantastic. Unfortunately, the current started to sweep us along so quickly it was hard to stop and see it.
When we made it to the Apex Park boat ramp there were more seals and stingrays. There were people there splashing the surface of the water to attract the stingrays over to take food. It might explain Nat’s close encounter!
Read More : Exploring Jervis Bay
A great way to explore Narooma
Don’t let the rays put you off. They are a great sight and generally not dangerous and the marine life along the boardwalk is wonderful. For something a bit different, take a good torch out at night and shine it into the water as you walk along, there are fish everywhere!
The Mill Bay Boardwalk is the perfect way to take in the natural beauty of Narooma. The scenery and wildlife is great and the boardwalk is a gateway to wonderful beaches and nearby towns. There is a lot more to Narooma than a 350 metre walk, but the Mill Bay boardwalk is a great place to start exploring the town.
Read More : The Ultimate Guide to Narooma Attractions
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