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This town is the southcoast’s best kept secret


It would be easy to miss Mossy Point on the NSW south coast. Blink and you couldzip right by the sliver of a town as you cruise George Bass Drive on the way southfrom Batemans Bay. Cradled by the Tomaga River to the north and CandlaganCreek to the south, the hamlet sits along a coastline that has remained largelyunder the radar – unless you’re from Canberra.

Its secret status might also be due to Google Maps’ failure to register some of itsnewer roads, as I realise on my drive to The Oaks Ranch. I end up on a gravel route,which quickly turns to dirt and ends with a locked gate. Mercifully, all is well after acall to reception and a shared moment with a kangaroo, watching as I lock the gatebehind me.

I’ve come in on the old road, I’m told. “Wait until you see the main entrance,” thebubbly Jess tells me over the phone. I roll down the grand, tree-lined driveway, donkeys in a paddock to my right and golfers returning to their buggies on my left,as the Spanish Mission-style guesthouse comes into view.

“My boyfriend grew up in Moruya and used to come here for class trips and horseriding,” Jess tells me, pressing a welcome drink tinged with rosemary and lime intomy hand. “It used to have purple walls and colourful bed sheets.”

The Oaks Ranch

With a masterplan that Tyler says is only about 10 per cent realised, the Corks arehoping to draw even more visitors to their Eurobodalla passion project. There’s anupgrade to the Greg Norman-designed golf course on the way, along with moreguestrooms and self-contained villas. But Mossy Point’s future is blossoming beyondthe boundary of the 120ha property.

“It’s a black hole after Ulladulla – it’s like uncharted waters,” says staffer Meg thenext morning in between making my coffee with local Guerrilla Roasters beans anddrawing me a mud map of her favourite beaches. Having never been further souththan Gerringong, I’m venturing into the great unknown.

A drizzly day stretches ahead as I pull up at the Mossy Point boat ramp, watchingtwo kayakers paddle peacefully through the grey. A cute little boatshed sits on thewater’s edge where Region X keeps locals caffeinated and loans kayaks to visitorskeen to spot stingrays in the shallows.

Owners Lisa and Martin Cork saw the potential through the purple haze andworked with interior architects Partridge Daniels during the contemporary upgradeof 14 existing suites, reopening in September 2022. With its white stucco exterior,archways and cactuses-filled gardens, there’s more than a hint of Palm Springs retro.Zellige handmade tiles, relaxed furnishings and Cultiver linen and robes set aluxurious tone in the guestrooms, but it’s the warmth of the place that has me fromthe turn of my heavy room key.

My pre-dinner coffee negroni, sipped by the magnesium pool, also helps to cinchthe deal. I can see why general manager Josh Tyler, who grew up in nearby MaluaBay, is happy to be home. A Sliding Doors moment during Covid lockdowns sawhim fly back from Bali, where he’d been executive chef at The Ungasan in Uluwatu.These days, he slips between the kitchen and tables of guests and locals at the onsiterestaurant, Arlo.

“There’s been such a great response from locals. I think there was room forsomething different,” he says, before recommending the Clyde River oysters, fromjust up the road. They are the highlight of a meal that stars tempura prawns atopnasturtium leaves from the kitchen garden, and soul-warming pumpkin agnolottiloaded with native pepper and chilli.

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