Dog days of summer
Peter Harrison kicks back in a cosy beach cottage that welcomes canines.
After a few hours on the road and a big bottle of water in the car, the first thing I want to experience at our beachside hideaway is the bathroom. Unfortunately, I am not alone.
I realise the large bathroom window has no curtains and I am looking out directly into the eyes of a startled council worker standing not four metres away in a small playground next to the cottage. With the tide coming in, as it were, I have no choice but to stand my ground, give him a wry nod and accept the intimacies of small-town living.
A lot of Seafarers Cottage 1, one of three adjoining properties just metres from the beach in Currarong, is about intimacy. A one-bedroom fibro cottage restored with pastel paint and modern appliances, it offers just enough space for two people (and the dog) to hide away from the tourism bluster that spoils other coastal towns.
Inside, there is surprising modernity and proof that "affordable" does not have to mean "spartan". A small but functional kitchen has all the necessities, and the bedroom is cosy.
The bathroom lacks a bath, but compensates with a large double-headed shower over a funky floor of white pebbles set into concrete. A bit lumpy a first, it soon becomes a favourite feature, providing a subtle massage for the feet after long walks with Jack, our blue heeler.
Outside, a small tidal creek separates the cottage from the main beach. Crossing the creek requires planning around tidal movements, or wandering a few extra blocks to obtain access via another beach entry at high tide.
With Jack leading the way (dogs are welcomed before 8am and after 4pm), we savour mornings and evenings wandering along the waterline. At other times, with the sea spray freshening our sense of adventure, we turn in the opposite direction, past the rock pool and on to Abrahams Bosom Reserve on Beecroft Headland. This extensive nature area is a wonderland of beaches, bushwalks, clifftop lookouts and a shipwreck, accessible to people of all ages, dog owners and bicycle riders. We explore it day after day.
The small general store and cafe are across the road from the cottage and serve plenty of loyal regulars during peak periods, but visiting outside school holidays we find their facilities often closed and dining options limited. Instead we head 28 kilometres over to Greenwell Point, where DJ's Fish 'N' Chips whips up fresh fillets and yummy seasoned hot chips. The business is for sale as we visit, prompting a long discussion about whether a sea(food) change is in our future.
On the way back we swing through Culburra Beach and Callala Bay, each about 20 minutes' drive from Currarong, where supermarkets have ample supplies for lazy but satisfying home-cooked meals. Those less inclined to cook can walk 10 minutes to the Chinese restaurant at the Currarong Bowling and Recreation Club.
Seafarers Cottage is serene, encouraging morning swims and afternoon snoozes, daydreaming, and cuddling together under a blanket on the verandah. (And dogs love the fully fenced yard.)
Currarong is on the northern headland of Jervis Bay, which offers ocean swimming away from the surf, and whale-watching cruises. A short drive to the north of Currarong is the town of Berry, with excellent knick-knack shopping and quality cafes and restaurants. Slightly further afield is Kangaroo Valley, with spectacular scenery, more shopping and an excellent golf course. Dog owners can find maps of leash-free areas at shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au (click on the My Property tab, then Off Leash Areas).
Seafarers Cottage 1
Address Piscator Avenue, Currarong.
The verdict Simple but stylish cottage for couples (and the dog) who need an old-fashioned beach holiday.
Price From $275 a night. Some minimum bookings apply at peak times.
Bookings Phone 0412 292 917, see southcoastescapes.com.au.
Getting there Currarong is about 200 kilometres south of the Sydney city centre, about 2½ hours by car going through Wollongong.
Perfect for Getting to know one another again, with swimming, boating and bushwalks all almost literally at your doorstep.
Wheelchair access No.
While you're there Go fishing at the many bountiful spots around the headland. Soak and sun yourself in the crisp waters of the well-protected rock pool just near the main beach. Laze on the front verandah watching sunsets.