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Published May 9th 2016
Scenic bushwalk and the wreck of the SS Merimbula
Currarong is a quiet coastal village on the south coast of New South Wales. Surrounded by both Jervis Bay National Park and the Jervis Bay Marine Park, it is the perfect place to escape the city, relax and unwind. Here you can enjoy fishing, swimming, diving, bushwalking and, with a bit of luck, some dolphin spotting.
We recently did the Wreck Walk out to Whale Point to see the wreck of the S.S. Merimbula.
We started our walk from the boat ramp on Yalwal Street, Currarong. The Currarong Heritage Trail is signposted with yellow markers on trees along the way. The walk took us along the grassy foreshore reserve. At the eastern end of the reserve, you will discover some beautiful natural rock pools with water that is stunningly clear and inviting.
The natural pools have been created by a sandy channel running between two sets of rocks. The pool is around 20-30 metres long and 3-4 metres wide. There is plenty of room for a dip and a paddle. There are man-made steps and a hand rail to help you get in or out.
Continuing past the rock pools you need to walk over some rocks to get to Abrahams Bosom Beach. This strangely named beach and reserve uses an Old Testament reference to safety. Ships captains, sailing along the east coast, have historically used the term "Abrahams bosom" to refer to this area as it provided shelter to vessels in stormy weather.
At the eastern end of the beach you will find lovely rock ledges to explore and a creek running from the beach to Abrahams Bosom Reserve. At the reserve you will find picnic facilities, a toilet and car park.
Our walk took place on a warm and sunny day during May and we experienced both dappled sunlight as well as full sun along the track where the tree cover was not as thick.
On the Beecroft Headland there are a number of walking tracks to choose from with an information stand providing some information and guidelines. Alternatively you can download a list of the walks available by clicking here.
Before you reach Whale Point there is a stone monument with a plaque dedicated to the wreck of the S.S. Merimbula. Described as Currarong's most famous ship wreck, the history of the S.S. Merimbula is interesting to learn.
Built in 1909 in Scotland, the ship was used by the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company to carry passengers and cargo on a regular route from Sydney to Eden via the ports of Bermagui, Tathra and Merimbula.
On this ill-fated voyage the ship left Sydney on Monday 26th March 1928 but encountered heavy weather as it travelled down the coast carrying 14 passengers and 35 crew members.
Due to heavy rains and poor visibility it struck the reef on the Beecroft Peninsula on the evening of the 27th March 1928. The captain of the ship ordered passengers and crew in to life jackets and luckily no lives were lost. The passengers were eventually rowed across to the mouth of the Currarong Creek in lifeboats the next morning.
A passengers account of the ordeal can be read in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper here.
Sadly this was the last steam passenger service to operate on the NSW south coast. After the wreck the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company confined their activities to cargo services.