Surf Beach Narooma
Glasshouse Rocks and pillow lava
Surf Beach, Narooma has two sites of geological significance and beauty at either end of the sandy beach, which is approximately 1km in length and looks out to Montague Island. At the southern end lie the imposing Glasshouse Rocks – which are possibly the most photographed rocks along the Eurobodalla coastline and have been recognised by the geological sites and monuments subcommittee of the Geological Society of Australia. The Glasshouse Rocks are Narooma Chert, which is a mix of sedimentary chert and shale, and are part of the Cambrian/Ordovician Wagonga Group, dating between 510-440 million years old.
It's easy to see the aesthetic chevron folds in a number of the rocks, where the sedimentary layers have been squeezed into zig zag patterns. Although interpretations of ancient tectonics are far from unanimous, many geologists consider that these rocks came together as part of a subduction zone, with an ancient Pacific plate thrust under the eastern edge of the Gondwana plate. At the northern end of Surf Beach there is a display of igneous pillow lava, which formed through the lava flow of a submarine volcano or hot spot also in the ancient Pacific Ocean, and made its way to the edge of the continent in the subduction process.
How to get there: The Glasshouse Rocks begin at the southern headland at the end of Surf Beach. This headland is also home to Narooma's cemetery. At low tide you can walk round the headland to Glasshouse Rocks North Beach and see more of the rocks, which are impressive in their stature. The pillow lava display is easily accessed along the beach approximately only 300 metres north of the Surf Beach car park and amenities. To get to Surf Beach turn off the Princes Highway, south Narooma, into Willcocks Avenue, follow this road down to Surf Beach. (Note Willcocks Avenue turns into Ballingalla Street.) Magnificent views of Glasshouse Rocks may be enjoyed from Narooma Golf Club and the rise above Surf Beach.
What to do: Have a coffee and something to eat; swim; surf; walk to Glasshouse Rocks and explore the cemetery; take photos of the mysterious light that comes from the rocks and check out the beautiful colour, texture and patterns in the pillow lava at the northern end of the beach.
Below: Glasshouse Rocks are possibly one of the most photographed rock formations in Eurobodalla