South Era Beach (sometimes called just Era Beach) is separated from North Era Beach by Mid Era Point. It’s the bigger of the two beaches, and has a local Surf Life Saving Club which patrols the beach on weekends. Rips usually flow out against the rocks at both ends of the beach and and 30 people are rescued here on average each year, so care is needed if swimming here.
The steep headland on both sides of the beach are dotted with shacks – there are 96 beach huts or shacks at Era – many more than there are at Burning Palms (28) and Little Garie (20). They were mostly built during the Great Depression in the 1930s – when families lived there out of desperation – and in the 1940s. Despite efforts by the National Parks Service to remove them, they were listed on the NSW State Heritage Register in April 2012.
From Thelma Point you get a good view of North Era Beach and South Era Beach separated by Mid Era Point, and some of the South Era Beach shacks.
Getting to South Era Beach
The beach can only be reached by foot, via a few different trails:
- From Garrawara Farm (3.5km return) – the shortest route is via the Burgh Ridge Track from Garrawarra Farm, which descends quite steeply down to meet Coast Track just a couple of hundred metres south of the beach.
- From Garie Beach (4.8km return) – a less steep walk, the Coast Track from Garie Beach passes Little Garie Beach and North Era Beach, before reaching South Era Beach
- From Otford (13km return) – if using public transport, it’s a much longer walk from Otford Lookout; you’ll also pass Burning Palms Beach and some nice lookouts along the way.
- Beach Safe – South Era
- Australian Geographic – Beach heritage shacks of Royal National Park