Shoalhaven Heads Beach

Shoalhaven Heads Beach

- 28 Jan

1 Shoalhaven Heads Beach
Shoalhaven Heads 2535, NSW

One of the longer beaches on the South Coast, Seven Mile runs for just over 7 miles (11.8 km) from Black Head down to the mouth of the Shoalhaven River at Shoalhaven Heads. The large Shoalhaven River has been supplying fine sand to build out this beach and its 1.5 km wide low barrier making it one of the younger beaches in the state. Because of the fine sand, particularly in the northern end, the beach has a wide low gradient. The northern headland houses the settlement of Gerroa, established in the 1920s. At the base of the headland Crooked Creek flows out over the beach, with a long foot bridge providing access from a car park and park to the northern end of the beach. South of the creek the road runs inland of the beach to Shoalhaven Heads. A caravan park backs the northern 1 km, then the Seven Mile Beach National Park runs for 7 km along the beach. The 729 ha park encompasses a beautiful littoral eucalyptus forest with a ground cover of bracken and Burrawang palms. Road access to the beach is provided in the north, and at the central Berry turnoff with an excellent park and shady picnic area behind the beach. Further along is a sandy track to the beach through the forest, with the southern access being at the Shoalhaven Heads Surf Club and car park, and from the river side car park. The long beach sweeps in a gentle arc, initially running west at Gerroa, then slowly turning to face the south east and then east at Shoalhaven Heads. Wave energy is lower in the north owing to protection by Black Head and its seaward reefs. Waves here average less than 1 m. By 1.5 km down the beach the waves have picked up to average 1.6 m and maintain this height to the river mouth. The fine sand results in a wide flat beach in the north with waves spilling over a wide shallow attached bar. However as soon as the waves pick up a second outer bar develops and runs the length of the beach. The inner bar is usually attached and cut by rips, every 300 m, following higher waves. Waves greater than 1 m begin to break on the outer bar, reform in the 50 m plus wide and deep longshore trough and often break heavily on the edge of the inner bar. At Shoalhaven Heads conditions are most hazardous when the river mouth is open, as strong river and tidal currents can sweep along the beach reinforcing the rips and trough currents.

Seven Mile and Shoalhaven Heads - for most of its length it is wise to stay on the attached inner bar and away from the rips and definitely away from the trough and outer bar. If the Shoalhaven River is open be especially careful at Shoalhaven Heads and down toward the river mouth, as it has been claiming lives since the first attempt at entering it in the 1820s. The surf club, formed in 1955, rescues an average of 10 people each year. It is also at risk when the river is open as, what is known as 'delta margin scour' cuts into the beach in the vicinity of the club, undermining it in 1978..

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Sonar Group
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