By exploring beaches randomly as the spirit and my other movements up and down the coast dictate, I'm challenging my anal desire to visit Eurobodalla beaches in geographical order, north and south from Potato Point, in sequence. Therefore I leap over ten beaches and land at Narooma Surf Beach, 25 kilometres from home as the highway winds.

The beach curves around from headland to headland. It's backed by a caravan park, a golf course, a cemetery, Little Lake which runs out onto the beach, and a small township of two and a half thousand. Just off shore, Glasshouse Rocks peak, and Montague Island lies low on the horizon, home to seals, penguins and a decommissioned lighthouse. It's late afternoon and the beach is busy, for a south coast beach – a photographer with a tripod, a fisherman, a serious walker, me and my shadow and the perpetual waves. Light-ripples reflect under the sand ridge where the lake meets the sea. When I reach the southern end of the beach I head up an almost invisible track between dune wattles and twisted casuarinas to the headland cemetery. I peer over the edge at every opportunity, down towards the rocky platform leading to Glasshouse Rocks. When I want to return to the beach I can't find the track again, so I walk across the long shadows of the golf course. A kookaburra laughs. A blue wren hovers in the undergrowth. I sit on a chair carved from a tree stump and contemplate the lake outlet and the island in afternoon tranquillity.

I return to the beach a few days later in the middle of the day, when the light is very different, and walk to the northern end, where I am promised, but do not manage to identify, pillow lava. I need a geologist guide who has a gift for turning geology into story so that I can understand the vastness of ancient processes and recognise the results.