When fame brings consequences: The Hyams Beach example
One of the unexpected side effects of social media is that if you have one of the whitest beaches in Australia that manages to have itself show cased around the world as a #bucketlist #mustdo #mustsee then there is bound to be unforseen consequences. Welcome to the nightmare of Hyams Beach where even Live Traffic shows the little town as worthy of a summer traffic alert.
For those who don't know Hyams Beach it has one road in and out, a general store and cafe, and around forty houses. Normally empty most of the year bedlam breaks out in summer months as the tourists arrive and now the beach is considered a must do for any photographer or traveller to the region. The exposure and focus on this one beach led the Shoalhaven Tourism to initiate a #100 Beach Challenge to try to direct visitors to the other fifteen white beaches and the #100 stunning beaches they have in their region. Even Visit NSW have changed their initial approach to showcasing Hyams by now suggesting "you visit one of the 15 other equally beautiful and less busy White Sand beaches in Jervis Bay, or explore the many gorgeous options of Shoalhaven beaches on the 100beachchallenge.com." While that might have worked to showcase the exceptional beauty of the shire it hasn't dimmed the spotlight on Hyams with Hyams Beach judged Number 4 as recently announced by international industry leader FlightNetwork in determining their 2018 Oceania’s Top 50 Beaches©. after conferring with over 1200 journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies, who live for travel.
Hyams Beach is truely stunning and well worth the detour off the highway. However now might not be the best time. Hyams Beach village has parking capacity on its streets and in its reserves for around 350 to 400 vehicles however you can imagine the tensions building when daily traffic counts record movements of around 4000 to 5000 vehicles per day in the peak holiday period. Shoalhaven Council have successfully intervened and provided traffic management with parking attendants to ensure the safety of residents and visitors entering and leaving the village. The very successful promotion of #unspoilt has seen a shift in interest away from the traditional North Coast for Sydneysiders seeking out a coastal holiday away from the "ratrace". The Destination NSW campaign for the South Coast has seen a marked spike of Sydney visitors and more recent Federally funded improvements to the Nerriga Road has seen increased visitation to the area by those in the ACT and South West NSW.
Above: Federally funded improvements to Nerriga Road have opened up Hyams and the Shoalhaven to ACT and SW NSW visitors allowing them to bypass the Clyde Mountain and notorious sections of the Kings Highway and Princes Highway.