Here’s how to keep kids of all ages entertained when you visit Shoalhaven on the South Coast.
0-4 year olds
For some time in the sun, away from the crowds and dumping waves, Callala Bay is the perfect spot for some beachy downtime. The protected bay area means no babies and toddlers can bob around in the crystal clear water.
A quiet place to visit with young ones in Ulladulla Wildflower Reserve. Discover 12 hectares of blooming flowers and bushy native plants from over 100 species. Little animal lovers might enjoy a visit to Shoalhaven Zoo. Roar with the lions, cuddle a koala and even feed lunch to a llama. The spacious grounds and view overlooking the Shoalhaven River is enough reason to visit.
Take a stroll out on the jetty and enjoy a picnic on the grassy patch near the playground. If you’re passing through Nowra and you tummy starts to rumble, head to the Dish and the Spoon. This kid-friendly cafe has a dedicated play space filled with toys and activities to keep tots entertained.
5-8 year olds
Bomaderry Creek Walking Track is perfect for younger kids. Explore the woodland, swamp and forest areas on the 5.5km return track, climbing over rocks and crawling through caves. The grassy picnic area at the beginning of the walk is a great place to have lunch and refuel.
For an animal encounter like no other, meet the locals at Pebbly Beach. Famous for its swimming kangaroos, the fury residents can often be seen skipping through the waves, lazing on the dunes and snacking on grassy pastures. The beach can be accessed via an 8km gravel road through Murramarang National Park.
Mollymook has a number of great swimming spots to visit. The Bogey Hole near the headland is a large natural rock pool that is perfect for snorkeling and searching for sea critters. Grab some fish and chips from one of the seaside cafes and soak up the South Coast sun.
9-12 year olds
One of the best day hikes to do with primary-aged kids is the Three Views Walking Track that starts in Moollattoo. It’s mostly flat and offers fabulous views of Lake Yarrunga and Tallowa Dam.
Spend some time exploring the hinterland area of Kangaroo Valley. Cross over Australia’s oldest suspension bridge, Hampden Bridge, and wander through the township’s main street, visiting antique shops and eateries. Sweeten the deal by stopping in at Kangaroo Valley Fudge House & Ice Creamery.
A fabulous evening activity for families the a sunset tour with Captain Dave at Husky Ferry. Bring your own cheese and crackers and enjoy happy hour onboard as you cruise around Jervis Bay. The kids can even have a turn at steering the boat.
Ulladulla is a popular surfing, diving and fishing area. Older kids can hire a surf or SUP board from one of the local surf shops and head out on their own or in a group lesson.
There are also plenty of markets to wander around, the most popular being Cupitts’ Growers Market on the last Saturday of every month. Creative teens will also enjoy perusing the Escape ART Markets in october.
Teens who are up for a challenge can test their rock climbing skills at The Gym in North Nowra. Once they’ve conquered the indoor wall, they can head out into the national parks with Outdoor Raw and try the real thing. Adrenaline junkies can swing through the forest at Trees Adventure in Nowra. There’s over 80 challenges and 15 flying foxes to check out.
Avid Instagramers can fill their camera roll with spectacular photos in Huskisson. The Mangrove Boardwalk winds through beautiful marshland over Currambene Creek. They also might want to check out the nearby Jervis Bay Maritime Museum afterward.
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.