Tomakin sits on one of the most stunning little patches of coast in NSW.

Tucked off George Bass Drive, halfway between Batemans Bay and Moruya, the village first appears to be little more than a few unassuming suburban streets. Many of the homes are small and simple - a link back to their roots as beach shacks and weekenders. It’s what’s beyond these houses, on the beaches, cove and river, that is a revelation.

Head to Melville Point Lookout (Red Hill Parade) for sweeping views in either direction and to help decide where to go next.  To the north are the wide soft sands of Barlings Beach, which curves gently up the coast to Barlings Island.  This small rocky island protects the far end of the beach, creating an idyllic place to swim, picnic and snorkel. Back toward the base of the lookout, the beach is more exposed, and offers good surfing and beach fishing. For those who need travel no further, Barlings Beach Holiday Park sits on 22 acres adjacent the beach, and offers villas, cabins and camping sites.

At the bottom of the lookout to the south sits Tomakin Cove, one of the prettiest little beaches anywhere. Sheltered on both sides, the water here is calm and almost always crystal clear. It’s a fantastic spot to swim and snorkel, with plenty of protected shallow water full of fish and colour. The cove leads on to the larger Tomaga River Beach, which runs to the mouth of the Tomaga River.  The entire area is flanked by stunning rocky outcrops which change colour as the sun moves across the sky, and sit in deep contrast to the clear blues of the surrounding water. The most famous of these is the large cone-shaped rock, once known as Mossy Rock, from which the neighbouring village of Mossy Point takes its name. The wooden jetties of Mossy point sit temptingly across the river, and often call the more adventurous for a quick swim across.  

Tomaga River itself is sandy-banked, clean and inviting. Towards its mouth the running tide carves small drop-offs, ideal for jumping from the banks into the water (check the depth first). At low tide, thousands of soldier crabs can be found feeding along the wide sandy flats. These gentle rotund crabs have very small nippers, and are a safe way for children to engage with nature.  From its opening into the sea, the river curls back behind the beaches making an interesting and scenic walk.  Go on a runout tide if you want to keep your feet dry, though wading around the odd obstacle at high tide can also be fun. The boat ramp marks where to exit to get back across the spit to the cove and ocean beach. Pelicans and large stingrays are often around the ramp, and the river shore in this area is a popular place to swim and fish.  Kayaking and paddle boarding on the Tomaga are first rate, and the river can be explored for a considerable distance through scenic countryside towards Mogo Zoo.

This old part of Tomakin doesn’t have a shopping strip; however, the Rivermouth General Store (cafĂ©) is within walking distance of the beaches and has a great surf vibe.  Popular with locals and their pooches, there is plenty of outdoor seating, making it a great place for families and groups to meet.  Other good dining options are JJ’s at The Moorings, which has a relaxed eclectic feel, and The Tomakin Sports and Social Club.  Both of these offer entertainment and dining events, particularly during holidays.  Riverfront cabins and camping are offered next to the Tomakin Club at The Tomakin Tourist Park.

If you enjoy trash and treasure bargain hunting, Tomakin hides a quirky and rewarding experience each Saturday and Wednesday morning. A mix of op shop and garage sale, The Rally for Recovery has raised over 1.4 million dollars for research into childhood cancers since its inception.  The used goods on sale have been donated by the community, and the range and type of items that turn up is varied and constantly changing. Being a coastal community, it can be a good place to find used fishing rods, boogie boards, snorkelling gear and anything you forgot to pack for your beach side adventures. It’s just as likely to turn up a lost copy of the Magna Carta.