Where two worlds collide
A trip to Myrtle Beach is an opportunity to see two worlds collide. At Myrtle Beach the breathtaking sandstone cliffs of the Sydney Basin come to an end and rise up to meet the much older Wagonga Ordovician rocks of the Lachlan Fold Belt, which continue south. The point where two major geological units meet is called an unconformity and this unconformity is clearly and strikingly revealed in the cliff face at the northern to middle section of the beach.
The sedimentary rock that forms the massive Sydney Basin, which extends from Newcastle to these beaches just south of Durras and inland to take in the Blue Mountains, was laid down during the Permian and Triassic periods, that is between 300 and 230million years ago, while the older Wagonga Ordovician beds were created 500 to 450 million years ago. At Myrtle Beach look at the cliffs on the northern end of the beach – these are the sandstone cliffs that are the southern most exposed edge of the Sydney Basin, while the cliffs you see at the southern end of the beach are from the Ordovician period.
How to get there: Myrtle Beach is about 9km from the Princes Highway. Take the South Durras turn-off just 9.6km north of Batemans Bay and follow it until you reach the Murramarang Resort. Keep on the road and it will take you through the Murramarang Resort car parking area, keep travelling south along the Old South Coast Road for just over 1km until you get to the Dark Beach/Myrtle Beach turn off where you turn left, then drive along this road for 450 metres to the main car park to access both these beaches.
The walk from the car park to Myrtle Beach is approximately 400 metres. The start of the track is facing you as you enter the car park. This track heads part of the way east and is signposted - walk for 200 metres, take the first turn right – which is not signposted – walk a further 200 metres, descend the last part via the staircase. The closest public toilet is near Cookies Beach, next to the Murramarang Resort.
What to do: Walking, picnicking, swimming, photography. This is one of the best spots in Murramarang National Park; the walk to the beach takes you through what the locals call the 'enchanted forest', which is an incredible display of stunted spotted gum forests.
Below: The "enchanted forest " of Myrtle Beach features unusual stunted spotted gums