Planning a trip to the South Coast? The Shoalhaven region has some of the cutest, quaintest towns you just have to visit. Here’s what you need to know to plan the perfect pit stop.
Best time to go
The South Coast looks its best when the sun is out but there is plenty to do all year round. The beaches tend to get busy from November through to March. Visit just outside peak season to avoid the crowds and cold winter waters.
Outdoor adventures like bushwalking, cycling, horse riding and rock climbing are great for the cooler months. Winter getaways on the South Coast are all about roasting marshmallows over an open fire, tasting the best winter produce at the farmers markets and camping out with blankets on the headland watching the whales swim by.
Jervis Bay is a mecca for watersports with visitors taking up kayaking, stand up paddling and diving in it’s protected waters. However, the whales are the main attraction. Catching them flip, breach and spray as they pass along the coast is an opportunity not to be missed. Watch from one of the lookouts or jump aboard a boat for a closer look.
Jervis Bay Wild offers dolphin and whale watching cruises all year round. Their fleet of vessels includes the only wheelchair accessible ship on the South Coast.
The lighthouse at Point Perpendicular is a well-known South Coast landmark but the view from the lookout is enough reason to visit on its own. Early risers can watch an extraordinary sunrise from the lighthouse grounds. Those who prefer to sleep in can still watch the sky turn pink in the evening from a picnic rug with a spot of happy hour.
Free things to do
Tick off all one hundred of the beaches on Shoalhaven’s unspoilt coastline. The 170km of coastline has a range of family and pet friendly beaches. There’s a fun game for you to track how many you’ve ticked off and you can share your beach adventures with the hashtag #100BeachChallenge.
Lace up your sneakers and explore the Shoalhaven region on foot. Plenty of walking trails can be found in Kangaroo Valley, Morton National Park and Abrahams Bosom Reserve.
Sunday sessions at Cupitt’s Winery are a fabulous free way to spend an afternoon in the sun. Throw down a picnic blanket and listen to live music with a glass of wine and slice of woodfired pizza while the kids run a muck on the huge lawn area.
Places to eat
Families with the sweet tooth genetic won’t want to miss visiting the Famous Berry Donut Van. For 55 years, Collin and Shirley have been treating locals and visitors with delicious cinnamon donuts and have since added pies, hotdogs and drinks to their menu.
Nourish Kitchen + Cafe in North Nowra is treats galore with a healthy twist. Sandwiches, wraps and rolls will fill hungry tummies, but be sure to leave room for dessert. There are plenty of delicious cakes, biscuits, milkshakes and even lolly bags to choose from.
Coffee snobs will be delighted to find the supposed best coffee on the South Coast at Hyper Hyper Coffee. Resident roaster, Pip de Pulford, prides himself and his team on authentic, flavoursome Italian-style espresso in his Nowra storefront.
Nine Hole Golf Club is a bistro-style restaurant in Mollymook, open from breakfast through to dinner. Kids will find plenty of delicious meals on the menu and parents can choose from an extensive list of Australian pub-style meals and great daily specials.
Growers, bakers and makers markets are held every weekend around the Shoalhaven area. For a full list, check out the events page on visitnsw.com
Shoalhaven River Festival is a huge family-friendly community event held on the southern banks of the Shoalhaven River. Head along on the last Saturday of October to catch live entertainment, market stalls, water activities and an awesome fireworks display.
Berry Small Farm Field Days bring locals and visitors together at the Berry Showground every September. Peruse the stalls, get up close with farm animals, watch Horse and Bull shows, and tempt your tastebuds at the new “Eat Local” venture, showcasing locally produced foodie delights!
Another popular event in Berry is the Country Fair. On the first Sunday of every month (expect February), go along and discover 200 stalls selling all kinds of homegrown and handmade goodies.
I was blessed with parents who really saw the value in travel. After our first family trip abroad to Thailand, I became obsessed. I was hungry for anything new and different. I yearned to be in the middle of a city on the other side of the world with a suitcase in one hand and google maps in the other, stumbling around trying to figure out where I was going; literally and spiritually.