Continuing on the northern shore of The Bay, with a length of about 2km the eponymous Long Beach is (surprise) the longest beach in the Batemans Bay area. From Maloney's Beach, it is the next beach toward The Bay, just follow the road westward along the coast, turning left at the T junction after leaving Maloney's Beach: the road then winds down through the suburb to the water’s edge.
At the far eastern end there is a small car park and provision for launching small fishing boats. The beachfront here is shaded by mature Norfolk Island pines, giving a break from the nearby houses. The middle part of the beach is nature reserve, though there is a small grassed parking area and some picnic shelters and tables. Continuing westward there are no facilities and a wide nature reserve separates the beach from the houses. Finally the beach abuts Square Head, part of the Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve.
Beaches don’t come much more unspoiled than this, but this beach does not suffer from the restrictions of National Parks and is dog-friendly. Dogs are allowed, on or off lead, on the western part of the beach – albeit on a time share basis in the summer months. It’s just a relaxed uncrowded place, where you can do your own thing: go fishing, walk the beach, take the pan licker for a run, or scramble over the rocks. When the water temperature is right it’s good for swimming too, though smaller children may prefer the slightly more sheltered eastern end in some wave conditions.
Without doubt, the lift span bridge is the ‘instant recognition’ cue for anyone who has visited Batemans Bay. So here’s some background on it.
Coastal shipping services provided communication and transport on the New South Wales coast from the 1850s, but the roads were somewhat slower to develop. A vehicular punt operated across the Clyde River at Batemans Bay from 1891, carrying increasing traffic as motor vehicle numbers increased and eventually being replaced by a steam ferry. Some thought was given to replacing the ferry with a bridge, but WWII intervened and work was deferred until the late 1940s. The bridge also had to provide for coastal shipping entering the Clyde River, so a lift span design was chosen: in that regard, it is quite unique on the NSW coast. Post war shortages of materials did, however, delay completion.
Finally, it was opened in November 1956. In its last year of operation the ferry had carried over 230,000 vehicles, so the new bridge must have made quite a difference at the time. Now, of course, traffic volumes are far greater than could ever have been envisaged over 50 years ago and the bridge itself with its single traffic lane in each direction is becoming a bottleneck – not helped at all by the ongoing need to open the span periodically to allow boats to pass! At those times, traffic is stopped by lights. Those of you with an engineering interest might care to note the two large concrete counterweights for the lifting span on the two towers.
The unspoiled beaches of the Batemans Bay area are a major attraction to visitors, so I thought I would provide a series of “General” tips as an introduction to some of them. This category will include only beaches relatively near the township and with good road access: all being well, later I shall add some beaches in National Parks in “Off the Beaten Path”.
So to Maloney’s Beach. It is on the northern shore of The Bay and is adjacent to the most distant bayside suburb in that area. Take the road north over the bridge, continue on for several km, then turn right into Cullendulla Drive and later turn left into Northcove Beach Rd. Soon you will see the beach on your right. Follow it to the end of the road near the National Park, and you will find shelter sheds, toilets, and free electric barbecues. You also can expect to meet some of the quite tame resident kangaroos. This beach (particularly at the eastern end) is usually quite sheltered and good for children. Just a little beyond the facilities is the entry to the Murramarang National Park – the subject for some later tip I suspect.
At the diagonal corner of the suburb from the beach, there is a small convenience store. There you will be able to buy basic commodities such as milk, bread, drinks (including beer) and fish and chips.
The bridge you can see in the picture spans the mouth of the Clyde river, its possible to take a cruise up the river, several companies run them from the harbour, but what Batemans Bay seems really big on is fishing, there were lots and lots of fishing trips available, its also a great place for bird watching
Its an attractive area, we didnt get chance to explore as we were just passing through, but the beaches looked lovely