Like a phoenix, Tathra Beach Eco Camp has risen from the ashes of the devastating bushfires of March 2018, offering a unique holiday experience within the natural beauty of the regenerated bush.
For 50 or so years, generations of families flocked to the beach hamlet of Tathra on the NSW Sapphire Coast to enjoy their summer holidays at the Tathra Motor Village caravan park.
Devastatingly, it and about 70 other homes and businesses were destroyed in March 2018 when a fast-moving bushfire, fanned by strong winds and high temperatures, tore through the town.
In a town that relies heavily on tourism, the loss of the caravan park affected Tathra both economically and socially.
More than three years later, in December 2021, a new and exciting iteration of the original motor village rose like a phoenix from the ashes. New owners, former guests and their families and the broader community celebrated the opening of the Tathra Beach Eco Camp.
This beautiful and unspoilt site offers a range of accommodation options and camping sites spread out over 20 acres in a relaxing natural environment that feels a world away yet is only 500 metres from the Tathra village and all it has to offer.
“We are directly opposite the beach and behind us is a large escarpment of natural bush,” said Assistant Manager of Tathra Beach Eco Camp, Ash Kearney. “It really is so beautiful right now because it was burnt in the fires — the Australian bush regenerates in the most amazing way after fire.”
The Tathra area lies within the traditional lands of the Djiringanj people, a group of the Yuin.
Ash says that Tathra Beach Eco Camp has a mystical and spiritual quality about it.
“Our groundsman Gary Lonesborough, who is a local first nations man, tells us that Tathra was a well-known meeting place for local Indigenous mobs,” said Ash. “When you walk onto this property you can feel that there’s something there — an energy and spirituality.
“Gary really enjoys talking to guests, particularly kids, at our cultural area about the history and first nations peoples’ connection to the land.”
Visitors to the camp are greeted with the Indigenous saying Walaawani, which means ‘we hope you had a safe journey here’.
Connect with country
Tathra Beach Eco Camp encompasses the ethos of getting back to nature and having a low environmental footprint and this is its point of difference to other caravan parks.
You won’t find a swimming pool, splash park or jumping pillow, nor will you find row upon row of cabins that all look the same.
The new owners want visitors to connect with country and nature on this beautiful part of the Sapphire Coast, as well as connect with themselves.
A fence that was once erected to keep wildlife out of the park has been removed so that kangaroos and other wildlife can wander freely through the grounds and gather at the macropod viewing area with its natural billabong.
Safari tents and camping sites are located under the magnificent trees which survived the bushfire and have regenerated. Visitors are located just a few hundred metres from the village but could be in the middle of a remote national park.
“We’ve recognised the special appeal of the place and gone with that rather than try to recreate a look and feel that is just not consistent with the natural environment,” Ash said.
All buildings on site were destroyed in the fires so a reception building and manager’s residence are new, and a new camp kitchen will be operational by December this year.
Accommodation for all tastes
The accommodation offerings at Tathra Beach Eco Camp range from basic to luxurious.
The beautifully styled, super-spacious glamping Bellbird Tents offer a whole lot of luxe, with all the best that nature has to offer. Each tent has a timber deck looking out to the kangaroo resting area and are located just 500m from the golf course.
All boasting an oversized bed and quality linen, the Bellbird Tents are the perfect couple’s glamping option and are even large enough to have room for a single daybed for a child. These bell tents include a heater, fan, bar fridge, small outdoor gas stove and tea and coffee-making facilities. They are just a few metres stroll to the guest bathroom and campfire area.
When you love a good escape away camping, but don’t like to set up, the stylish Driftwood Tents are a terrific option. Wake to the birds and iconic sound of canvas unzipping and get among the beautiful natural surrounds of Tathra.
Each tent has its own mini-deck and breathtaking bush view. The Driftwood Tents are the perfect couple’s glamping choice and include a beautifully styled, oversized bed made up with gorgeous, crisp, quality linen. They are small in size but big in comfort and come complete with a heater, fan, bar fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, tea and coffee-making facilities and outdoor gas cooker. The Driftwood Tents are near the guest bathroom, firepit area and kangaroo resting zone and just a short stroll away from the sands of Tathra’s unspoilt beach.
The newest addition to the accommodation at Tathra Beach is the Seagrass Safari Tents which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Well-appointed with all the creature comforts you might need to make your holiday feel like a home away from home, the Seagrass Tents are rustic and thoughtfully styled to give you the full eco camp experience without having to leave the children or extended family at home.
Nestled among the gum trees on the fringe of Koala Camp are the architecturally designed Gumnut Pods. Built with couples in mind and a focus on comfort, the pods come complete with a soft, cosy double bed, gorgeous linen and a small reading nook.
Self-contained with tea and coffee-making facilities, microwave, small fridge, cutlery, crockery, a well-appointed ensuite bathroom, outdoor deck and dining area, the pods are warm in winter and cool in summer with ducted reverse cycle air-conditioning. Located close to an undercover barbecue area, kitchen garden and cultural site, they are just a short stroll to a communal campfire and the beach track.
The retro-styled Banksia Cabins have been lovingly and thoughtfully refurbished, ready for guests to enjoy any time of the year.
The family cabins sleep up to five and feature a main bedroom with a comfy double bed, desk and plenty of hanging space. The second bedroom includes a set of bunk beds. The cabins are fully self-contained with a large kitchenette, ensuite bathroom, small living area, covered outdoor deck, air-conditioning and linen provided for all pre-booked guests.
The cute and cosy studio cabins sleep up to three people and are fully refurbished with a comfy double bed and a single day bed for an extra guest. They feature a small kitchenette, ensuite bathroom, small living area, covered outdoor deck and air-conditioning. Linen is provided for all pre-booked guests.
If you travel with your own caravan, motorhome or camper trailer, Tathra Beach has large spacious powered sites nestled in a natural setting under the beautiful gum trees or on the grassy open fields to cater for all setups and styles of campers.
Those who prefer tents or off-grid campers can enjoy the large shady unpowered sites with room to spread out and take in the natural surrounds.
The stunning sapphire coast
(Image David Rogers Photography)
Tathra is located in the middle of the stunning Sapphire Coast which stretches from Bermagui in the north to Wonboyn in the south and is dotted by charming coastal towns and country villages.
Located between Merimbula and Bermagui, the coastal haven of Tathra is known for its relaxed lifestyle, award-winning Sydney rock oysters, mountain biking and ocean swimming. It is surrounded by the natural beauty of both Mimosa Rocks National Park to the north and Bournda National Park to the south, home to many seabirds such as the endangered Little Tern and an abundance of wildlife.
Tathra Beach extends for a sandy 3km and is protected from southerly winds making it great for surfboard riding and sailboarding. At the northern end the Bega River flows to the sea at Mogareeka Inlet, a wonderful, sheltered spot for swimming, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.
(Image Sapphire Coast Destinations)
The coastal town is rich in history and traditions of the sea. Tathra Wharf is still a centre of activity, its historic timbers standing proud with commanding views across the bay to Mimosa Rocks National Park. Below the wharf is a wonderland for scuba divers and snorkellers. Fur seals and Fairy Penguins from the colony on Montague Island visit, along with the occasional whale shark and plenty of whales in spring. Dolphins are also common visitors to this area, and they can be seen off most beach areas in Tathra.
Tathra is a must-ride cross-country mountain biking location, with more than 55km and 40+ singletrack trails for adrenaline seekers to explore. The Bundadung and Fire Shed trails are graded from easy to difficult, weaving through Tathra’s coastal bush setting up to 137m above sea level. The trails are used for recreation, club races and the popular Tathra Mountain Bike Festival.
Fresh seafood and other delights can be enjoyed in several venues in Tathra, from elegant restaurants to beachfront cafes, or as a takeaway. Two clubs and the historic Tathra Hotel offer relaxation, refreshments, meals and top live entertainment. If you're browsing around the galleries and antique shops in and around Tathra, they have a range of crafts and giftware.
Tathra Beach Eco Camp
This winter, Tathra Beach Eco Camp is providing a ‘wander a little longer in winter’ offer.
When you pay for four nights, you can stay the fifth night free, and management even will throw in the marshmallows to toast on the campfire!
Winter is a gorgeous time to travel, the skies are clear, and the water clarity is exceptional. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, the beaches are uncrowded and the whales are there!
Tathra Beach Eco Camp
5 Andy Poole Drive,
Tathra NSW 2550
P: (02) 6494 4773
THE NEXT STEP
Are you ready to experience the freedom of the open road? Don't wait - Find your dream getaway now!