Or is it Corunna Beach? It’s surprisingly difficult to obtain certainty about beach names. Even with Beaches of Batemans Bay, a cartoscopic map and a topo spread out on the inadequate table, and a forestry map on the wall, we can’t achieve absolute certainty. I’ll settle for Loaders and Fullers, with only a slight bump in the topo, invisible to anyone walking along the beach(es), to mark the point where one becomes the other. And it seems now I’m wrong!
We drive through the Mystery Bay camping area and stroll down the track to Billy’s Beach. We crunch up a dune of stones to a wide grassy track heading off through casuarinas and banksias and follow it, debating forks.
We come to a lookout offering a rockface that demands closer attention, a whale or two breaching and spouting (you can just see a splash between the two lots of rock in the second photo) and a long view of Corunna Beach? Loaders? Fullers? to a headland whose name causes infinite debate over two weekends. Lying along the horizon is Baranguba.
Nearby there’s a plaque marking the site of Corunna Point Recreation Ground, almost certainly on a clearing where Aboriginal people camped before they were dispossessed, the sea ahead of them and Corunna Lake behind low sandhills. Events held there by the white fellas between 1890 and 1920 included picnics, athletics and cycling competitions, and facilities included a maypole (a maypole?), swings, a velodrome ( there are still traces of a track with tilted sides), dressing sheds and toilets. Some of the events held here attracted thousands of visitors.
We walk down a track to the south end of the beach (Loaders? Corunna?) with a view over Corunna Lake to the sea.
J legs it north determined to meet the headland and I rejoice because two months ago he could barely walk. I take it far more sedately, pausing to scrutinise the south headland.
The sea doesn’t leave me much cliff to explore, so I’m soon trudging between the lake and the incoming tide, in the bright warm sun.
The beach is host to many shells, larger than the ones I see at Potato Point and to a sea urchin and a big-eyed crab, both beyond life.
After poking around the headland, and misinterpreting everything we see as we discover later, we sit on the sand and watch waves breaking on the offshore rocks in a great explosion of spray before we begin the walk back.
We make a few detours behind the low dunes and discover people camped between the sound of the sea and a ridge of spotted gums. There are a few groups on the beach, including three grown ups playing with three large dogs.
We take the grassy track closer to the cliffs this time, and diverge onto an overgrown path through tick laden grass and bushes for a splendid view along Billy’s Beach, and a face to face with a pillar of chert.
We’re hungry by now. At J’s we demolish a beer and bush bread: jalapeños, olives, capers and sun dried tomatoes in a matrix of dough.