Mystery Bay is about a three to three and a half hour drive from Canberra. It is located about 8km (4.5 minutes drive) to the South of Narooma. Turn left off the highway at the sign "Mystery Bay" and continue for 1.5km until you are some 200 meters from where the road turns to the right as it comes to the coast. Here on your left you will find some signs and a maze of dirt roads leading into a fairly well wooded area. This is the camping area. If you go past the turn off on the highway you will soon find signs to a deer park, a winery and then you will come to the Tilba Tilba turn off. If you get to here you've gone too far.
[ from Narooma to Mystery Bay ]
[ finding your way around the Mystery Bay Campsite can be tricky ]
Mystery Bay is a natural (or as it is charmingly put - primitive) camping area managed by the Eurobodalla Shire Council. It is one of the few unspoilt camping areas remaining on the South Coast. It is large and rambling and many trees (largely spotted gums away from the cliffs with many other natives such as acacias and banksias on the headlands) are still left. Possums roam at night. It borders onto some magnificent cliff headlands and there are some picturesque beaches at the Northern end of the camping area.
There are cold showers, some centrally placed taps (so bring your own water containers), and NP&WS drop dunnies (bring your own paper if you don't like Govt. issue single sheet waxed paper). Camping is relatively cheap, especially if we all pay as a group and split the cost. During peak season (Christmas and holidays) it is $21.80 for two adults+7.20 per extra (over 16yo), while in off-season it is $13.50, and $3.10 for extras over 16. Littlies (5-15yo) are $1. The phone number to call is 02 4476 8596. If that doesnt answer, call Craig/Garry Bolton on 0428 635 641/0428 622 357, respectively. Firewood can be bought at the campground.
If you can't do without your creature comforts, then the Island View Resort caravan park is about half way between Mystery Bay and Narooma.
The closest shops (and pubs) are at Narooma and Tilba Tilba. Lynch's restaraunt (in Lynch's pub - the blue one at the top of the hill) can cope with large groups given enough warning, does some great seafood and has good bottleshop prices for some good wines. In Jan. '96 we were given our own room and à la carte dining for a group of 25. Yes, we've been back since 1996. There's also the new (ca. 2013) Bowling Club development, a standard Vegas-esque NSW club, the food is good.
There is a very good boat ramp at Narooma, accessible from a road that turns off to the left as you come down the hill to the bridge. It launches into the lake and then you run out through the breakwater and the (in)famous Narooma Bar. This can be a VERY challenging bar crossing at times and, when conditions are anything more than calm, should only be attempted by those with considerable experience at driving the boat(s). Distance to Montague is 9km.
There's also a sand boat ramp at Mystery Bay. Turn left off the highway and follow the Mystery Bay road to its end (about 2-3 km). As the road comes to the coast it turns to the right, goes up a hill with a few houses to your right, down again, and then dog-legs to the left and ends at the boat ramp. As you drive down the road you will pass the Mystery Bay camp site. The sandy beach offers a good means of driving the trailer, albeit it is advisable to use a 4WD and some rope or wooden planks to get a boat out of the water again. Distance to Montague is 10km.
There's a ramp at Dalmeny, about 4km north of Narooma. Take the tourist drive to the east just north of Narooma. You'll pass through Kianga and about 1km further on is Dalmeny. The ramp is signposted off Noble Parade. The ramp is a bit steep but good concrete. It faces NE so isn't good in a strong NE sea breeze, but is well protected from E and SE swells. It has a tiny beach next to it for staging the boats. Distance to Montague is 12km.
If all else fails, you can drive down to Bermagui and launch there - the boat ride to Montague from Bermagui is 24km each way, so bring a cut lunch and waterbag, and LOTS of fuel.
The closest air is at Narooma - Ocean Hut, down on the flat part of town.
The wreck of the Lady Darling lies a couple of kilometres off Montague Island, although you need a permit to dive on it. We have a sketch map of the wreck which may help planning.
The NSW Heritage office have more information.
There are legal limits on approaching all marine mammals like seals.