Top Ten Photographic Locations of the Sapphire Coast

Let me just start by saying that it is really hard to keep this list to just ten locations for landscape photography. The Sapphire Coast has to be one of the most stunningly photogenic locations of Australia (though I may be a bit biased). A lot of landscape photographers make the trip down here to photograph two of the entries on this list but I can’t help but feeling that it is a lot like going to one of the best restaurants in the world and only ordering an entrée. So let me introduce you to just ten of the best photographic locations of the Sapphire Coast.

10- Fishpen, Merimbula 

Fishpen is most famous for Mitchies Jetty. There are so many people with such happy memories of here that good spirits pretty much permeate the atmosphere permanently. There are lots of great photographic opportunities here- Mitchies Jetty, of course. This little private jetty. A nearby jetty and slipway combined. The pelican sculptures. And one of the best things about this location is that it is a short and easy stroll from any one of the many fantastic holiday places in Merimbula. I could go on about how many other places in Merimbula are fantastic photographic opportunities but it’s time to move on to the next location.

9- Pulpit Rock

It was a toss-up here between Pulpit Rock and nearby City Rock on Green Cape. Fisherman are of course very familiar with both spots, especially Pulpit Rocks land based game fishing. Green Cape Lighthouse is also pretty well known. I decided that Pulpit Rock was perfect for this list due to its sheer overwhelming hugeness. It is also perfect for dramatic Milky Way shots so long as you take LOTS of care as it is a dangerous location. Make sure you check all your weather and tide details and take all necessary precautions. The payoff is if you are here at the right time of year you may just get whales dancing in your shots. It is so deep here that the whales come so close to shore you can almost touch them.

8- Legges Beach, Eden

We only recently got the chance to shoot here. It’s been on our “to do” list for ages. There are such awesome rock formations at both ends of the beach but this lovely formation at Quondoa Point is just something special. It’s also something of the “holiday” choice as the best way to shoot here is to simply stay at the caravan park. Then it’s just a short stroll to one of the most awesome beaches in the Sapphire Coast.

7- Lions Rock, Pambula

Pambula Rivermouth has almost endless photographic opportunities- most famous of which is the Pambula Boat Sheds. Definitely a shot to have from any trip to the Far South Coast. Lions Rock is just so impressive and the the river mouth sand is constantly changing the surrounding rocks. Tides also play a huge part in choosing a composition at this location. However you choose to tackle this imposing rock, you are sure to end up with a pretty impressive image.

6- Saltwater Creek, Ben Boyd National Park

You could spend weeks at both Saltwater Creek and Bittangabee campgrounds and never have to shoot the same thing twice. Saltwater Creek gets the nod for this list because in all our years of shooting here, it has never been the same twice. I’m pretty sure the sand has swallowed up this rock pool almost in the shape of Australia again. But given the vagaries of sand and tide who knows when it will become visible again.

5- South East Forests

Now I wish I could tell you exactly where this shot was taken. Truth is I don’t exactly know. But if you are on the Sapphire Coast and you want to take photos but it’s wet overcast day, then you need to head to the mountains. Take one of the many road adventures winding through the very extensive South East Forests. For example take Mt Darragh Road to Cathcart, turn left and follow the Coolangoobra Forest Way (bonus points if you find the hidden waterfall). When you get to the end turn left again on Mt Imlay road. There are plenty of tempting little side adventures there so just see how you go for time. Mt Imlay Rd will get you back to the Princes Highway and if you turn left again you’ll be back on your way to Eden. There is something about South East Forests that just feels like stepping back in time- as if bushrangers are just around the corner.

4- Panboola Wetlands, Pambula

The Panboola Wetlands are a birdwatching, bike riding, and photographic gift from nature. I honestly think that the wetlands are worth the trip the Sapphire Coast all by themselves. It’s perfect for both sunrise and sunset landscape images; nature, wildlife and bird images; and divine for portrait photos. What’s not to love about this stunning location? Ok, the bugs but all you need is industrial quantities of bug spray and you’ll be fine.

3- Camel Rock, Bermagui

So no list of photographic locations of the Sapphire Coast is complete without this and the next entry on this list. Yes, they are both AMAZING. And yes, they should absolutely be on any landscape photographers bucket list, but you have to be prepared to share when you shoot here. It’s getting rarer and rarer to get the place to yourself. Having said that, this otherworldly rock formation will never get old.

2- Horsehead Rock, Bermagui

See above- all the points made about Camel Rock, also apply to Horsehead Rock with bonus difficulty for access and need to be cautious about tides.

1- Old Man Rock, Ben Boyd National Park

It has everything you love about Horsehead and Camel Rocks. It’s a super awesome rock formation that looks a little bit like the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter. It is easier to get to, though there is still a need for caution as it is something of a mad scramble down a very steep track that is almost impossible to see in the dark. We recommend a reconnaissance trip before you intend to shoot. And it amazing at either dawn or dusk. Dawn shots of Old Man Rock highlight the stunning white quartz shooting through him in crazy patterns. Sunset shots offer amazing skies and during winter the chance to capture the sun setting through one of the holes in the rock.

So there you have it, our list of our favourite landscape photo locations. Every year we find somewhere we didn’t already know about and we’ve been exploring this area now for many years. So let us know if you know somewhere that should have been on this list.

-Dee

3 Things That Improved Our Photography

Before & After 2It’s not hard to find lots of good information on the internet about how to improve your photography, and many of us take different journeys to get where we are going. We could write an exhaustive list of all the things you should do and know but it really boiled down to three main things that took us from there, the image on the left taken in October 2013 to here, on the right taken March 2015.  Continue reading

Thurra Dunes

WM Thurra 8Our recent trip to Croajingolong National Park in Victoria was a double barrelled mission. Other than the lighthouse we really wanted to find out more about the Thurra Dunes. I couldn’t find out much about how or why the dunes exist, so if you know please tell us! You’d think for such huge sand dunes they would dominate the landscape, but they are actually really well hidden. There are a few tantalising glimpses of them on the drive in but it’s not until you make the 2 kilometre trek to the top and see them laid out before you that you really get a sense of just how huge they are. Continue reading

Bittangabee Bay

Morning Twist

Less popular than nearby Saltwater Creek, Bittangabee Bay is one of the prettiest places to camp on the Far South Coast. With more than twice the amount of campsites, it’s hard to feel crowded at Bittangabee. The downside is that it is a little bit more of a walk down from the headland to the bay for a swim or fish. Though having said that, it is the perfect place to swim in the protected bay on a lazy afternoon. Continue reading

Bombala

 

 

WM Platypus Country

 

WM Bombala TreePicturesque Bombala, on the banks of the Bombala River is as historical a town as they come. It was proposed in 1903 as the possible location for our nation’s capital but passed over in favour of Canberra. Today, this small, tight knit community is very rightly proud of being home to the largest population of platypus in NSW.

If you are staying on the coast, Bombala is perfect for a day trip or even overnight. It is a beautiful scenic drive from the coast up Mt Darragh Rd. For the very adventurous, you can detour through Rocky Hall and wind your way up the Big Jack Mountain Rd before meeting up again with Mt Darragh Rd just before Cathcart.

WM Here Comes The Storm

Bombala lies on the Monaro Plain, falling in the rain shadow between the Eastern Escarpment and the Snowy Mountains. This natural plain is wonderful for a couple of photographers like us to try to capture some of the stunning uniqueness of Australia’s varied landscapes. From bitterly cold winters to hot dry summers, this particular landscape speaks of endurance, of longevity, of fast furious changes in the weather but lasting stability of the land.

WM Bombala

WM Little Lamb

The day we visited we watched storm clouds roll over in minutes then disappear just as quickly. The steely greys of the clouds echoed in the lines and shades of the trees that survive here in the harsh conditions. It is a demanding landscape. It asks us to be aware, to watch, to really think about it- to see things differently than we would on the coast. And we think we did. Bombala may not be famous for its gorgeous landscape, but we think it should be.

Yambulla State Forest

It was cold, very cold, and threatening rain any minute but we wanted to explore a hidden corner of the South East Forest National Park and Yambulla State Forest as we’d heard rumours of some stunning little gems from which to capture the beauty of the Australian bush.

Sunday FlowHaving passed the last town north of the border, Wonboyn, we turned off onto Imlay Road and kept our eyes peeled for Allan Brook Road. Following it to the end we found Newtons Crossing at the junction of Imlay Creek and Wallagaraugh River. We wandered around for a while in the cold misty rain noting exactly where we’ll be coming back to on a drier day. The rumours are true. Definitely stunning, just too wet for photography on this day.Yambulla State Forest

Yambulla

So we hopped back into the car and just explored the roads that weave in and out of state forest and national park. Winding lonely roads, passing over creeks, through forests that change from one moment to the next. Tall rocky outcrops just around the corner from deep still waterholes.

Creek in YambullaWhenever the rain eased up we took what we could of the places we were passing feeling something like bushrangers as we imagined which places we’d hide in and how hard it would be for anyone to find us.

Reflection

This really is the edge of civilisation. We followed the Waalimma Road and found ourselves at the camp and picnic ground there. No vehicles past this point. From here you go on foot into the Genoa Wilderness and only if you know what you are doing and you have the right gear. But that will have to wait for another day.