Fancy your very own beach hideaway surrounded by pristine national park and just 15 minutes' drive from Batemans Bay? It even comes complete with boat ramp, a beach and an exclusive sea pool.
Sound far-fetched? Well OK, there are some caveats. While you may have to share the beach with the odd adventurous kayaker, it is as close to a private stretch of sand that you'll find on the South Coast, and sure, much of the historic sea pool has succumbed to relentless tides, but you can still splash in its shallows.
Now, while you (unfortunately) can't slap a deposit on this secluded seaside sanctuary, you can rent it for a unique coastal escape. I did earlier this year and I can't keep away from place. For months I've been torn between selfishly keeping it a secret, or sharing with you its delights. Often, the best way to preserve places like this for future generations is to ensure they are loved by many, so after much procrastination I've settled on the latter.
Yellow Rock Beach House is tucked away in the northern extremity of Murramarang National Park near North Head, and although Batemans Bay is a just short drive away (or five-kilometre paddle if you're up for it), make sure you take all your supplies with you, for once you prise open the creaking old-school fly screen door of this cosy cottage, you won't want to leave.
Sure it's no modern beach house filled with everything that opens and shuts like those proliferating behind sand dunes up and down the east coast; it's a simple 1950s weatherboard cottage. And that's its appeal. The kitchen is basic but does the job, the shower is a barely more than a dribble, but it's hot, the décor is a hotchpotch of coastal knick-knacks, but hey, it's attractive enough. There is a television but usually we forget it's there, preferring instead to rummage our way through the stash of board games or plan the next day's adventures.
And they really are adventures. Spot pods of dolphins frolicking in the bay, uncover whale bones washed up on the rocks or hold shells up to your ear and listen to that roar of the sea. This is the way a seaside holiday used to be, before the video arcades, before the water parks and before the trendy cafes.
If you are looking to relax, join the kookaburras for a late breakfast on your sun-drenched deck then wander down to the beach, and to the gentle sound of waves lapping the sand, read that book you've been meaning to for months, or even better indulge in that afternoon snooze.
If you are feeling energetic, drag a kayak into the water or take a hike down one of the many walking tracks. One leads to a secret cove of colourful pebbles, perfectly spherical from a millennia of being tumbled about in the waves, while another leads to a hidden palm jungle and yet another deep into a forest of Black Sheoaks, a haven for glossy black cockatoos.
By evening amble back up to your deck for a sundowner, it's the perfect spot to rest and recuperate after a day exploring this 70-hectare coastal estate. Listen to chattering birds squabble over their night-time roosts and watch the salt-laced gum leaves rustle in the evening breeze. Just be sure to light the knock-out outdoor fire pit before the sun sets for when it gets dark here, it gets very dark.
After a barbecue feast (or famine depending on how many fish dad didn't catch – sorry girls), toast marshmallows under the Southern Cross or be dazzled by the pin pricks of lights on the far side of the bay. No, they aren't fire flies, rather the lights of Batehaven and Denhams Beach where fellow Y-platers are throwing beachside parties. Don't worry, it's much quieter here, the only night life being the hooting owl kind (oh, and that possum on the roof).
Sure, this beach house isn't for everyone, but if you don't mind forgoing luxury for an unbeatable location and a bit of laidback 1950s charm, then consider this unpretentious seaside gem. I wouldn't change it, not one bit.
Oh, just don't tell too many others as I still want to be able to book in.
Yellow Rock Beach House: Basic beach-side cottage, surrounded by Murramarang National Park, about15 minutes' drive from Batemans Bay. Two bedrooms, maximum six guests. BYO bed linen and towels. Price from $1250 per week. Bookings via NSW National Parks. Ph: (02) 4478 6582.
Did You Know? The cottage was built by Claude Kellion (a successful businessman and keen game fisherman). The NSW government recently acquired the property and after some renovations have flung its doors open to nature lovers seeking a coastal escape in a national park environment.
Map Mystery: You won't find "Yellow Rock" on any maps as it is the name locals have bestowed to Three Islet Point, the rocky headland which protrudes into the bay, just to the south of the cottage. Check it out at sunset and you'll understand the reasons for this nick-name.
Don't miss: If it gets chilly, light the open fire in the lounge room, which with its nifty wood box accessed from both outside and inside the cottage, is a godsend during wet weather.
Tim's Tip: With so many native animals, including kangaroos which graze on the grass around the cottage (and snooze under your deck on hot days), this beach house is an ideal place to take your international (or city-dwelling) guests to show off the how Australia's east coast used to be before the developers moved in.
Cryptic clue: J. High in the inner south
Degree of difficulty: Medium
Congratulations to Rob Parnell of Narrabundah who was first to correctly identify last week's photo snapped by Chris Blunt, as a sculpture of a kangaroo at The Sanctuary, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Parnell, a keen observer of life around the ACT, is one of this quiz's stalwarts, regularly submitting entries for over seven years. As for the metallic roo, it was created by talented ACT Parks worker Barry Armstead in his spare time.
How to enter: Email your guess along with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first email sent after 10am, Saturday September 30 will be the winner.
Contact Tim: Email email@example.com or Twitter: @TimYowie or write c/- The Canberra Times, 9 Pirie St, Fyshwick. You can see a selection of past columns online
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