Mystery Bay's name arises because of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a government geologist, Lamont Young, and his assistant and three other men in 1880, whose mission was to inspect new goldfields. The bay and its dramatic rocks that arise from the sea and along the shoreline, with Montague Island the brooding backdrop have also caused locals and tourists to ponder on the mysterious nature of the place itself.
These rocks which are such a dominant feature are chert, black mudstone and slate and date back nearly 500 million years to the Ordovician period. The outcrops lie in what is called in geological terms a kink zone, which means they've been subjected to great pressure during the moving of tectonic plates. A feature called foliation, which has formed during movement at high pressure and which has enabled further deformation, is apparent in the kinks and breaks in the angular brittle rocks, which makes these rocks look as if they could have been pieced together one by one. Kinks zones are widely developed, but are particularly well shown in this area of Eurobodalla's coastline.
How to get there: Mystery Bay is 15km south of Narooma, and 70km south of Batemans Bay. It is a short 2km from the Princes Highway. From the highway turn left on to Mystery Bay Road. Follow Mystery Bay Road into Mystery Bay. There is car parking at both the northern and southern end of the beach. The car park opposite Lamont Young Drive as you come into Mystery Bay (where you will find a memorial plaque to the lost geologist and his party) is a good place to access the display of kink zone rocks that lie at the northern end of the beach. There are toilets at the primitive camping ground site on the left as you come into Mystery Bay.
What to do: Camp, swim, surf, fish, walk around the village and along the beach, explore the rockpools, bushwalk in Eurobodalla National Park, dive and snorkel.
Below: Black slate and chert at Mystery Bay