There are 100 beaches in the Shoalhaven, but it appears a growing number of day-trippers just want to go to one.
As a result of an incredibly successful marketing campaign, Hyams Beach is now a “must visit” for tourists wanting to sink their feet into that dazzlingly white, and famously squeaky, sand.
Now residents of Hyams Beach fear their little piece of paradise is being loved to death.
At this time of the year, on any given day, up to 4000 people can visit the beach, which has legal parking for only 300 vehicles.
With just one road in and out, cars and buses carrying holiday makers begin pouring down the hill from the early hours of the morning.
Local residents say the influx started after a Destination NSW advertising campaign focusing on the sand that is so clean it squeaks.
Vicki Fortescue, who has lived in the village since the late 1980s, says the environment of the beach is struggling to cope under the weight of numbers.
“Hyams Beach has always been a tourist spot, and at holiday times it is always fully booked out,” she said. “What has changed is the number of day-trippers.
“The other day, I counted 250 cars in 30 minutes coming down the hill,” she said.
She said there were serious concerns about what would happen on a busy day if the town needed to be evacuated because of a fire.
“Our infrastructure is breaking down. It’s making this place unmanageable,” Mrs Fortescue said.
There are only two permanent sets of toilets in the village for visitors, and one of these was built in 1974.
She said the newer block has been designed to be hosed out, but toilet paper and other rubbish from the floor ends up on the creek bank behind and gets washed down when it rains.
However, Mrs Fortescue says she believes Shoalhaven City Council is listening, and will work with residents to find some solutions.
Already, council has helped residents construct a new footpath so visitors can walk from the car park to the shop in safety.
This Summer, Shoalhaven tourism workers have been handing out brochures to tourists, titled Avoid the Crowds and discover your own #unspoilt paradise!
“The last thing we want is for people to think we are just whingers who don’t want people to come here,” Mrs Fortescue said.
“We have to be positive, but it feels like we are being loved to death,” she said.