In the Bay
Batemans Bay is a great spot to enjoy a beach holiday with some friends from interstate.
Batemans Bay, on the NSW south coast, used to be a sleepy fishing village, until it's close proximity to Canberra (150km), Sydney (290km) and Melbourne (790km) prompted its development into a prosperous resort town. It now offers a wide variety of attractions, not the least of which is the centrally located Pleasurelea Tourist Resort and Caravan Park.
Located just south of Batemans Bay and across the road from the secluded Sunshine Bay, Pleasurelea is handily situated for kayaking, snorkelling and fishing. It is also just down the road from Denham Beach and a number of other sandy hideaways to the south.
There are a number of good day trips from the park, including Murramarang National Park to the north where you can mix with the local wildlife, enjoy yourself in the surf, or go for a bushwalk along one of the many well marked trails.
Inland is the huge Deua National Park, which has a number of 4WD tracks and picnic areas - not to mention the fact that the trout and Australian bass in season.
Just 12km south of Batemans Bay is Mogo, which has a very entertaining zoo. And if you're driving south you could make a day of it by travelling to Moruya where you can check out the magnificent factory and showroom facilities at the famed Ultimate camper trailer headquarters, just outside the north side of the town.
Closer to home, the Clyde River empties into the bay, and is great for boating. You could even decide to have a break on one of the many houseboats available for hire.
Of course there's plenty of fishing through the whole area, but if you don't get lucky the local supply of fresh fish, or the famed Clyde River oysters, will provide you with a good feed on any day.
If your fishing taste extends to the pleasures of offshore angling, you might also want to jump on a charter boat. Batemans Bay is a hub for this growing activity, and in fact, the Pleasurelea Resort operates its own offshore fishing boat - the MV Jean Marie, a 10m Cougar Cat vessel - that can take you to the fishing grounds or out for a pleasant afternoon on the water looking for the humpbacks that migrate along the coast. At just $55 per head (or $190 for a family of two adults and two children) the cost is very reasonable, and so bookings are essential.
For those keen on golf there's a challenging 27 hole course along the riverside and for the rest of the family there are all the conveniences of any reasonable sized town.
The Pleasurelea Tourist Resort has been operated since 1984 by Mary and John Chalmers, converting what had been a pretty basic site into a quality park. In 1994 they opened an excellent licensed restaurant - Scrumptious - one of the first caravan parks in NSW to do so. Over the years the park has also taken guests on 4WD tours into the hinterland, where there are old gold mining centres, steep gorges and many rivers and creeks.
The park sits on eight acres and offers 40 powered sites, nine with ensuites, and this number is being expanded. In addition to the restaurant, facilities include a swimming pool, children's playground and tennis court.
"My childhood was spent growing up in caravan parks" said park manager Louise Chalmers, "Every school holiday we would be off and Mum and Dad, who own the park, still love it. They are off in their caravan every chance they get, picking up ideas to improve things here. We live the experience of our guests."
Batemans Bay is 150km west of Canberra and 290km south of Sydney.
Pleasurelea Tourist Resort and Caravan Park, www.pleasurelea.com.au, (02) 4472 4258.
Clyde River Houseboats, www.clyderiverhouseboats.com.au, (02) 4774 6369.
Mogo Zoo, www.mogozoo.com.au, (02) 4474 4930.