Hugging the southern bank of the beautiful Moruya River and home to some of the NSW South Coast’s best preserved heritage buildings, Moruya is a charming country town just 5km from the coast as the crow flies.
Marking the centre of the Eurobodalla region, Moruya makes the perfect base for exploring. From nearby beaches and national parks to admiring the beautiful coastal setting from above on an aerial adventure, or working your way around Moruya’s excellent markets and restaurants at a leisurely pace, here are eight of the best ways to make the most of your visit.
Learn about Moruya’s Aboriginal heritage on the Bingie Dreaming Track
Tracing the ancient songlines of the Yuin Nation (the name for the Aboriginal groups that have traditionally occupied the NSW South Coast), the Bingie Dreaming Track is a stunning 14 kilometre coastal walk stretching from popular Congo campground, just south of Moruya Heads, to Tuross Head. Passing through different types of coastal habitat protected by Eurobodalla National Park, the walk, which can be started at either end, offers great opportunities for spotting birds, kangaroos, wallabies, and also whales during the winter and spring months.
Along the way, look out for Aboriginal stone artefacts and patches of shell middens. To learn more about the track’s deep cultural significance to the Yuin People, consider joining a guided walk with Minga Aboriginal Experiences.
Eat your way around Moruya
For a small country town, Moruya has an impressive spread of places to eat. Among the most popular newcomer to the local culinary scene is Gundary Bakers. Set inside the heritage General Store building on Campbell Street, this sweet little bakery serves some of the best baked goods on the Far South Coast, with high tea packs available to take away for an indulgent picnic.
Set on the southern bank of the river for which it was named, with spectacular views towards the mountains of Deua National Park, The River Moruya is the ultimate location for a memorable meal. Combining fresh local produce – including homegrown herbs and house-cured meats – with classical French techniques, chef Peter Compton’s dishes are amongst the most sophisticated on the Far South Coast.
Visit Moryua’s markets
Moruya hosts two excellent markets every week. With the beginning of trading marked by the ringing of a crier’s bell at 3pm on Tuesday afternoons, the nationally-awarded SAGE Farmers Market, held at Riverside Park, showcases the region’s best local produce. Riverside Park also sets the scene for the vibrant Moruya Country Market held each Saturday morning from 8am-1pm. The market sees more than 150 stallholders converge to sell everything from local arts and crafts to collectables, fashion and jewellery to health and beauty products, and more delicious local produce.
See Moruya from above
Characterised by pristine beaches, turquoise rivers, coastal forests and wildlife-rich wetlands, the Moruya region looks suitably spectacular from above. Luckily, there are several ways to get airborne. Taking off from the Moruya River, South Coast Seaplanes offers a range of scenic seaplane flights ranging from a 15-minute buzz along the coast to an aerial tour of nearby Montague Island. If you prefer landing on solid ground, Merit Aviation offers a similar range of tours departing Moruya Airport, right next to the Moruya River.
For the ultimate thrill, sign up for a tandem skydive over Moruya with Skydive Oz, with options to jump from 10,000 feet to 15,000 feet above Moruya Heads.
Get back to nature in Deua National Park
Rising up behind Moruya, Deua National Park makes for an excellent day – or night – out in the Aussie bush. While both Deua River campground and Bendethera Valley campground remain closed until the end of 2020 to recover from bushfire damage, Berlang campground on the western side of the national park offers an opportunity to stretch your legs on the Big Hole walking track, a 3.5 kilometre-return hike (allow two hours) to a 400-million-year-old gaping chasm over 100m deep. For a more challenging hike, carry onto the ancient rock feature of Marble Arch where stalactites hang from ancient ceilings. If four-wheel-driving is your thing, be sure to venture 48 kilometres from Moruya to Bendethera Caves Trail, the largest karst (limestone) trail in the Deua National Park.
Explore Moruya’s early European heritage
Moruya town owes its old-world charm to its beautifully preserved heritage buildings dating from the mid-19th century. Notable relics in the town centre include the Sacred Heart Catholic Church (1889) and the Uniting Church (1864), both built from the renowned local granite used for the pylons of Sydney Harbour Bridge. There’s also the Court House (1879), the old post office (1887), St John’s Anglican Church (1891) and the next-door Rectory (1874), the old Bank of NSW building (1907), as well as several pioneer homesteads along the Moruya River.
Learn more about Moruya’s history at the Historical Museum (1875), which contains a collection of furniture, books, artefacts and memorabilia evoking the lives of Moruya’s mid-19th-century residents. It’s open from 10am to 12pm every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Soak up the views from Moruya Heads
Part of Eurobodalla National Park, scenic Moruya Heads is home to a bevy of attractions. At the tip of Toragy Point, Moruya Heads lookout is a fantastic place to spot humpback whales during the winter and spring months. Spring also sees the national park enlivened with wildflowers including coastal wattle and banksia, while Shelly Beach, tucked just inside the heads, is the perfect place to spend warmer summer days.
Close to Moruya Heads lookout you’ll find historic Moruya Heads cemetery, where the earliest recorded burial is from 23 August 1858 – another reminder of Moruya’s early European heritage.
Get out on the Moruya River
Kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, boating, waterskiing and fishing can all be pursued on the Moruya River. Admire Moruya’s rural heritage on a 14 kilometre kayaking trip from the Moruya township to Moruya Heads and back. Launch at the Moruya boat ramp in Riverside Park or at North Head Campground near Moruya Airport. Kayaks can be rented from Region X in nearby Mossy Point.
For those who prefer to stay dry, hire a bike and pedal along the Moruya Cycleway, a shared path that winds along the river from Moruya at the Moruya District Hospital to Riverside Gardens. You can also continue on to Moruya Heads, a 20 kilometre round-trip.