If you ask someone who lives in Canberra where their favourite place is for a weekend escape, Batemans Bay will be the most popular answer. It is the closest town on the South Coast of NSW, located just 2 hours from Canberra's city centre. If you continue driving 15 minutes north of Batemans Bay, however, you will find the turn-off to a small beachside area called South Durras, which has untouched beaches and the Murramarang National Park leading right down to the water's edge. On that same edge, just a few metres back from the shoreline, is the family-friendly and hugely popular Murramarang Beachside Resort, run by the NRMA.
This 4-star resort is particularly popular with families as once you arrive, you don't have to leave. Each cabin has a self-contained kitchen so you can bring supplies with you, or eat at the Beach Bistro or Skippy's Takeaway at the resort. As the name of the takeaway suggests, there are a number of kangaroos that also call Murramarang Beachfront Resort their home - which is one of the main reasons why this resort is popular - with all ages!
Before you book your accommodation, check out the range of options available, with cabins located in all areas of the resort. The cheapest cabins are the leafy Forest Cabins, which are located just down the road from the pool and restaurant area. Then there is the Garden Villas and the Beach Villas (and Beach Spa Villas), which are situated behind the beachfront. Lastly, the Ocean Villas (and Ocean Spa Villas) and the larger Beach House, can be found at the far end of the resort. If you would like to camp, there are large grassy areas for powered or non-powered sites - where you can wake up to a kangaroo or two munching the grass right next to your tent! See here for all the options and pricing.
On our holiday away, we booked a Beach Villa, which was clean and comfortable and had everything we needed. Our cabin didn't have a modern bathroom and kitchen like on the website, however the location was perfect - literally just steps from the beachfront.
When you arrive, it is time to slow down and simply enjoy the sound of the waves and the sand between your toes. Go for a walk and explore Mill Beach in front of the resort, as well as Beagle Bay, located around a rock platform to the left. The kids will enjoy looking in the pools on the rock platform and also seeing what has washed up with the tide. If you have a boat, there is a boat ramp next to the resort which takes you out into the Batemans Bay Marine Park. On our visit, fishermen were fishing directly off the beach, as the sun rose over the bay.
Walk a few steps from your cabin, down onto the beach...
Inside the resort there were trikes for the kids to hire per hour, however, many families took their own bikes which they used to explore the resort and the Murramarang National Park - which has an entrance right outside the front of the resort.
The main pool area has a large resort swimming pool and splash park, surrounded by tables with umbrellas so guests can relax and watch in the shade. Around the pool, there was a kids games room, Wasphead Pool Bar and at the side of the pool area was the Beach Bistro and Skippy's Takeaway. On our visit, we were happy to have dinner from Skippy's Takeaway - we can recommend the pizzas and burgers! See here for dining options and menus.
If you are looking for a long weekend on the coast, or perhaps you have overseas visitors coming to stay, then a long weekend away at Murramarang Beachfront Resort is an experience like no other. The kangaroos are a highlight - especially if you get up early in the morning and find them congregating around the cabins and beachfront.
On the way back to Canberra, ensure you stop off halfway at Braidwood, a historical town from the 1800's with one of the most popular bakeries in the region. Trappers Bakery can be found on the right-hand side as you drive into town - why not stop for delicious pie or sausage roll and pick up some fresh bread for when you get home. The kids are also sure to notice The Boiled Lolly shop across the road, which is another family favourite on the Canberra to Batemans Bay road trip.
It is the perfect pit-stop, on a family weekend escape to the coast...
Historic Braidwood, located halfway between Canberra and Batemans Bay