A very long year of work is finally over and I’m an anxious mess as we head off for Sydney to spend Christmas with Lori’s family. We stop for a night in Pambula and then a few nights in Sussex Inlet on the way up, but the weather isn’t kind to us.
Excited small children and rainy days don’t mix on holidays, so we’re relieved when on our last day in Sussex Inlet we wake up to a beautiful summer day. We decide to head to a place Lori visited while growing up here as a kid – The Mermaid Pool.
As we carefully cross a shallow section near the inlet of Berrara Creek, the kids chatter away about what kind of pool mermaids would live in. The water is only shin-deep but the current is surprisingly strong, so I’m concentrating on holding onto the Fairy Princess’s hand as tightly as I can.
Safely on the south side of the creek, we briefly check out the gorgeous lagoon where lots of families are enjoying a swim, before continuing along the beach toward a rocky headland. We take our time, soaking up the sunshine, playing in the sand and collecting seashells along the way.
Eventually, we reach the rocky headland and as we walk over a small rise we see it – a large rock pool with clear turquoise water. There’s a big flat rock in the middle, and the pool is sheltered from the ocean on three sides by high rock walls.
“At high tide the waves crash over that bit of rock and it makes a waterfall,” Lori explains, pointing at a low section of the rock wall.
“Wow. That would be so beautiful,” I say. “Probably not quite as kid-friendly though.”
We’ve somehow managed to snag the place all to ourselves… I never want to leave.
We all kick off our thongs and explore the pools. There are sea snails and crabs, and fish of various sizes swimming everywhere. The flat rock in the middle of the pool has a huge overhang, and the kids and I have fun theorising about what might live under there. Lori teaches them about the Blue-ringed octopus, and I terrify them (as only I know how) by suggesting there’s probably one hiding under the overhang.
Lori and I retreat for a while to relax on a rock in the sun while the kids paddle around and make up games. It’s amazing how imaginative they can be when they’re away from their devices.
Then it’s time to leave, so we set off back down the beach. I walk with my feet in the water, while Lori and the kids walk together on higher ground. I listen intently to the waves crashing, and I can feel every grain of sand washing over my feet. I haven’t felt this happy in months.
I notice Lori looking over at me and turn to see a puzzled look on her face.
“What are you all smiley about?” she asks, laughing.
“I feel like the universe and I are friends again.”
I search my mind for more explanation, but I think I’ve pretty much nailed it.
Need to Know
Last Visited: 23/12/2015
Length (km): 3.5 km
Time (hrs/min): 2.5 hours (allowing time for a good swim)
Grade: Grade 3 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Return / Circuit / One-Way / Partial Circuit: Return
Park: Conjola National Park
Closest Town: Berrara
Car Access: Park in the small car park at the intersection of Beachway Avenue and Silver Sands Drive, Berrara. The walk starts from the ramp to the beach on the eastern side of the car park.
Further information: The walk includes a creek crossing, so you may need to check the tides before setting off. As mentioned in above, The Mermaid Pool may be less kid-friendly at high tide.
Have you visited The Mermaid Pool? Know any nearby walks worth checking out? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.