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Just north of Narooma Surf Beach, tucked between two rocky arms, and accessible by a rock-clamber, is a tiny beach called Smugglers Cove. I suspect the story behind the name is a fantasy: I can’t imagine what would need to be smuggled into the past of what was then a tiny settlement somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne. However, in my reference bible for the project of the beaches, there is a very tentative suggestion that it could have had something to do with the nineteenth century gold-mining history of the area. (Beaches of Batemans Bay and the Eurobodalla Coast by Peter and Manuela Henry)

The patterns on the rock offered two very different palettes: pocked brownish colours – honey, amber almond, bronze; and greys – charcoal, slate, ash grey, and strong hints of blue. I think I may also have spotted pillow lava promised in my other reference Ancient sites: a geological journey, a very satisfactory brochure produced by Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Smugglers Cove is a very peaceful beach, just the right size for the family with two tiny children frolicking on the sand. I felt as if I were one too many.

Pillow lava?