Destination NSW
New South Wales
South Coast, NSWRoll into one of the many laid-back coastal towns, pack a picnic, shuck an oyster, and pop a bottle of bubbles. It's time to unplug and recharge.
It’s not often you find a place where pristine green hills and rich farmland literally roll all the way to the ocean. Welcome to the stunning South Coast of New South Wales; the perfect region to unplug. A mixed bag of breathtaking beaches, curious dolphins, freshly shucked oysters, home-made cheese and laid-back coastal towns. Make sure you pack a picnic basket if you’re on a car trip, there’ll be lots of goodies you’ll want to pick up along your way.
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Things to do
Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Shellharbour
Learn to Stand Up Paddle Board with an accredited ASI SUP Instructor, with both private and group sessions available. They are a mobile Stand Up Paddle Boarding School and will ensure that you experience paddleboarding in the best conditions in a safe, fun environment. Wake up with a sunrise paddle, cruise Lake Illawarra and Minnamurra River, or venture out with lights on an after-dark paddle! They also specialise in SUPFIT (fitness class on fitness mats), SUPYOGAFIT (yoga fit classes on fitness mats), ocean paddling and SUPSURF - hit the waves for experienced paddlers.
Explore Jervis Bay
The Southern Peninsula of Jervis Bay is home to the beautiful Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens. Jervis Bay is one of the true gems of the New South Wales southeast region. Its breathtaking beauty, rich cultural and natural significance have long been recognised by locals as well as domestic and overseas visitors. Its most famous beach, Hyams, is said to possess Australia's whitest sand. The main town is Huskisson, where you can take a dolphin-watching cruise, go on a fishing trip or browse the Aboriginal arts and craft centre. The sweeping water views of Jervis Bay with its glistening sunlit colours of aqua and blue are not to be missed.
Murramarang National Park
Explore the beautiful Murramarang National Park near Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast. There are great surfing, swimming, walking, camping and fishing opportunities. Spanning 44 kilometres of dramatic coastline, Murramarang National Park is the ultimate spot to soak up some sun and explore the cliffs, headlands and pristine beaches of the New South Wales South Coast. Be sure to pack your swimmers to hit the surf, your binoculars to spot peregrine falcons and sea eagles that soar high above the cliffs and your fishing rod to catch your dinner. This is one of the rare spots in Australia where the spotted gums grow right down to the ocean, offering plenty of shade in the warmer months and a stunning backdrop for a nature escape all year round. It’s a great place to spend the day. If you’d like to stay longer, there is a choice of campgrounds, including caravan and motor home sites and a range of facilities. If you don’t feel like camping, you can book yourself into park accommodation at the Depot Beach cabins or Pretty Beach cabins.
Visit Kiama
The name Kiama comes from the Aboriginal word Kiaram-a, which allegedly means 'where the sea makes a noise'. Indeed this colourful town is famous for its blowhole. On the cliffs at Blowhole Point, waves surging into an underground cavity are compressed and forced upwards, exploding high into the air and accompanied by a loud 'oomph'. The strength varies according to the wind, waves and tide but when it's pumping it always draws a crowd. Kiama Terrace - the row of weatherboard cottages along Collins Street - was constructed in 1886 to house quarry workers and their families. Discover the history of this township at the Pilot's Cottage Museum where you'll learn about the cedar cutters, basalt quarrymen and dairy farmers who settled here. Don't miss the Kiama Lighthouse. Nearby Gerringong and Shellharbour are worth a visit.
Visit Shoalhaven
The Shoalhaven area encompasses the coast, fertile plains, rugged mountain escarpment and panoramic views of the eastern seaboard. Located approximately 200 kilometres south of Sydney, Shoalhaven has over 300,000 hectares of National Parks and State Forests. There are rivers, coastal lakes, estuaries and many miles of navigable waterways. Holidaymakers seeking to recharge the batteries can choose almost any holiday style, from relaxation to adventure. The main centre of Shoalhaven is Nowra, which offers a range of shops and businesses.
Explore Tilba Tilba
Tilba Tilba is protected by a National Heritage listing; the town was settled mostly during the gold rush years of the 1890s and 1900s and today retains many fine Victorian timber buildings. The town has a pretty setting at the base of Gulaga (Mt Dromedary) which can be accessed from Tilba Tilba. Nestled at the foot of Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) it is a good starting place to explore this beautiful and spiritual land. Gulaga is the mother of ancestral identity for the Yuin people, and to be able to visit is a privilege. Guided walks by local Yuin people are probably the best way to connect with the spirit of the land, but self-guided walkers are welcome. A track leaves from behind La Galette Cafe (formerly Pam's Store), and takes you through the rainforest to the summit. Gulaga is the highest point in the area; named Mt Dromedary by Lieutenant James Cook being the shape of a dromedary camel. The summit has strangely-shaped granite outcrops and significant tors being a culturally significant site for the Yuin people. Towards the summit Rainforest species thrive in several places on the upper tiers of the mountain and you can see out to Montague Island offshore. Closer to town is Foxglove Spires, a luscious woodland garden built around a farm cottage. The seasonal gardens are simply stunning, with fragrant wisteria, lavender and an arbour of Manchurian pear trees.
Wander Bermagui
Bermagui is a small and vibrant coastal town that offers boutique services and attractions, many unique to this area. Surf, swim, kayak, SUP, snorkel, water ski and bushwalk at the surrounding national parks and pristine beaches and waterways. Wallaga Lake is an area of outstanding natural beauty and holds special significance for the area's Aboriginal people. Bermagui is famous for its fishing and with the continental shelf just 20 kilometres offshore - its closest point to the Australian mainland - there's exceptional deep sea and game fishing. Take a guided tour of the historic Montreal Goldfield. Discover the Bermagui Heritage Trail and Yuin Cultural Heritage Trail. Have a game of golf or bowls. Wander through the boutiques, shops and local galleries. Check out the calendar of exhibitions and festivals. Enjoy a variety of dining styles with a la carte restaurants and casual cafes. Savour locally grown and other iconic produce.
Dine at Rick Stein at Bannisters Mollymook
Plenty of the best local fish and shellfish is what excites the seafood chef at Bannisters. The sea around Mollymook is filled with red snapper, blue eye trevalla, yellowfin tuna and great local lobsters. There are oysters from Pambula, Merimbula and Clyde river too, and fabulous prawns from Lake Illawarra. The coastal location with Ulladulla Harbour nearby means that the seafood is 'fresh-off-the-boat' and of the highest quality. Your meal here will certainly be a memorable dining experience and a delight for the culinary senses.
Cat Balou Cruises and Whale Watching Eden
Cat Balou Cruises operate from The Port of Eden, situated halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. Experience nature at its best when you cruise aboard the multi-award-winning 16 metre catamaran, Cat Balou. Cat Balou Cruises is a family-owned and operated business and has been operating from the Port of Eden for more than 30 years. Whale watching cruises depart daily from mid-September until late November. Cat Balou Cruises have a 99 per cent success rate in sighting whales. The main species seen are Humpbacks heading south to the Antarctic. Cat Balou is equipped with a hydrophone to enable passengers to hear the whales singing. A whale guarantee applies if no whales are sighted. Albatross and Shearwaters are frequently seen, along with dolphins and seals. Twofold Bay Cruises operate all year. These highlight the history, natural beauty, industries of the historic whaling port. Dolphins and seals are seen on most trips. Coastal Wilderness Cruises view Ben Boyd National Park and Australia's coastal wilderness whilst watching for sea birds, dolphins, seals and whales (seasonal). On all cruises, a live informative commentary is given and refreshments are included. Bookings essential.
Chill at Pambula Beach
Pambula Beach is one of the Sapphire Coast's most accessible beaches, patrolled during Summer and is ideal for swimming, surfing or just enjoying the beautiful water. Walk along the beach all the way to Merimbula, (around five kilometres), or take a shorter stroll and explore the headland walking track between the beach and Pambula River Mouth and the rock pools at low tide. Pambula Beach is famous for its resident kangaroos, who are often seen on the beach and in the surrounding streets. For an off-leash, dog-friendly beachhead to nearby Lions beach (just around the headland and accessed from Coraki Drive). Pambula Beach is one of the Sapphire Coast's most accessible beaches. It is patrolled in the peak summer months, with the Pambula Beach Surf Club nestled just behind the dunes. The surf club has two beach wheelchairs and runs The Same Wave program that offers surf and beach activities for people with special needs.
Merimbula has long been a holiday haven, loved for its lakeside frontage, great dining and central location. The township of Merimbula nestles in and around an unspoiled ocean-fed lake; its pristine beaches and surrounding National Parks, are perfectly matched with eateries, galleries, boardwalks and oyster farms. Remarkable close encounters define the annual whale migration along the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, and Merimbula is the perfect place while you explore from sea and shore. Whether on a whale-watching cruise, strolling on sandy beaches, hiking from headland to headland or settling in for a long lunch with panoramic ocean views – there are many opportunities to see these incredible creatures and their delightful companions - dolphins, seals, penguins and seabirds. Seafood is a specialty, just ask Sammy the well-fed New Zealand Fur Seal who lives on the lake’s edge. The Sapphire Coast’s boutique fishing fleet is one of the biggest suppliers to the Sydney Fish Market and you will find fresh local seafood on many menus as well as being available at the passionate wholesalers. Or catch your own seafood – book a berth on one of the charter boats or launch your own craft from the boat ramp (which has some of the best facilities on the coast). There’s plenty of opportunity for adventure and tours, like surf, stand-up paddleboard, kayaking and snorkel hire around the lake, horse riding or game fishing charters. If it’s the big game fish you are chasing, charter operators can take you to where the wild things are and if it’s something smaller and more accessible, then favourites such as flathead, whiting, bream and snapper are among the many species on the Sapphire Coast. Or travel more slowly and improve your swing on the 27-hole golf course, enjoy a social round of bowls or browse the art galleries, where artists are inspired by coastal life. Merimbula really does have it all - and remains one of the best beach holiday destinations in Australia.
Montague Island
If it's breathtaking natural beauty you're after, then look no further than Montague Island. The Island is home to the largest colony of Australian and New Zealand fur seals in New South Wales and one of the largest penguin breeding sites in Australia. Peregrine falcons, crested terns and silver gulls patrol the skies and migrating whales feed off the water's abundant krill. Play a part in the Island's natural heritage with an overnight Naturewise Montague Island conservation tour, or treat yourself to something a bit more decadent - a self-guided overnight stay. Start with an exhilarating boat trip out to the island where you will meet the resident seals. Adventurous travellers can jump in the water and snorkel or dive for an up-close and personal encounter with these curious animals. Montague Island Tours are available daily dependant on minimum numbers and sea conditions.
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