The unspoilt South Coast offers plenty of options for thrill-seeking families. Incredible mountain biking tracks, treetops challenges and wildlife encounters – these are the South Coast adventures you need to try.
Jamberoo Action Park
This is one day out the kids won’t forget. Jamberoo Action Park has plenty to keep the kids entertained.
Thrill seekers should try the Perfect Storm. This ride makes you feel like you are being pulled into the vortex of a twisting tornado. It takes you from dark to light, through moments of zero gravity, twisting and turning before spitting you out into a pool of water. You will want to ride it again and again.
Little kids will love Banjo’s Billabong, a four-level waterplay area with a tipping bucket and slides. Fire the water cannons, scramble over bridges and dodge the water sprays.
On hot days, there’s nothing better than the Rapid River. Jump onto a rubber raft for a leisurely river ride. Well, until you hit the rapids, waterfalls, and waves.
If you’re not keen on getting wet, you can play putt-putt golf, ride the toboggan or take a scenic chairlift ride for a spectacular view over the park.
Where: 1215 Jamberoo Road, Jamberoo
When: Jamberoo is open from 10am to 5pm from 29 September. In School holidays the park opens seven days a week. But check the schedule before you go here. Private events close the park to public access. Jamberoo lists these dates on the website.
Price: Children under 3 are free. Kids aged 4-12 are $49.99. Adults (13+) are $59.99.
At Trees Adventure kids can zoom through the forest on flying foxes, scramble up cargo nets and climb over rope bridges. Trees Adventure runs along the banks of the Shoalhaven River, inside Shoalhaven Zoo. It has six long courses, more than 70 challenges and 13 flying foxes.
Children aged from 4-7 should tackle the yellow courses. These are two metres high and include 2-3 flying foxes. Adults must supervise children from the ground.
Kids aged above 8, can take on the green, blue to red challenges. These range from six metres high to 12 metres high. One adult (per four children) must participate in the course.
Adventure-seeking teenagers can try the black course, once they have completed the red. This is the extreme course, with 21 challenges up to 15 metres high.
Where: 23 Rock Hill Road, North Nowra
When: Trees Adventure shuts on Mondays. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and from 9am to 5pm on weekends. In school holidays Trees Adventure is open from 9am to 5pm. Sessions run for two hours.
Price: Kids 5-7 $25. Kids 8-17 $38. Adults $48. Spectators are free.
Mogo Zoo is a privately-owned zoo with a focus on endangered and exotic species. Sally Padey established the zoo in 1989. It is one of the most successful private zoos in the world.
Head to reception on arrival to get your ticket for the giraffe feeding. It costs $10 but it’s worth it. Watch the kids’ excited faces as they feed these incredible animals.
Kids can get up quite close to the animals at Mogo. We recommend the keeper talks, which allow kids to learn about the natural behaviour of the animals. Keeper talks are available for the silvery gibbon, the white lion, the gorillas, the rhinos and the tigers.
The kids will love the sound of the monkeys at this zoo. Trust us, they will be making monkey noises for hours.
Where: 222 Tomakin Rd, Mogo
When: 9am – 5pm seven days a week. Closed on Christmas Day.
Price: Adults $32, children 3-15 $17. Family pass (two adults, two children) $92. Extra child $14
Ever wondered what it is like to walk on the wings of a plane? If you’re over 14, you can find out at the HARS Aviation Museum. A 747 Wing Walk tour takes you 16 metres along the right wing of a 747-438.
This is a fabulous museum and well worth a wander. Volunteers affectionately call it “the Tardis” – a Dr Who reference meaning you have no idea how large it is inside. At this museum, you can walk through operational hangars and get up close to the aircraft. All tours must have a guide. That’s also a big tick for this museum. The volunteers are retired Qantas pilots, maintenance engineers or cabin crew.
Working aircraft on display include the PBY-6A Catalina, designed in the 1930s. The Catalina is best known for its service in WWII and for flying the Qantas Double Sunrise service. The HARS museum also has a working Tiger Moth, Cessna 310B and Lockheed AP-3C Orion.
In 2017 John Travolta donated his Boeing 707 to the museum saying he hoped the volunteers would be able to keep it flying.
Where: Illawarra Regional Airport Airport Road, Albion Park Rail
When: 9.30am daily. Guests must wear flat shoes and trousers or shorts. Up to 16 guests per tour group.
Price: $65, includes entry to the museum. Kids must be 14 or over to Wing Walk
Whale watching season is now in full swing. What better way to see the whales than on a cruise.
From mid-August to mid-November the humpback whales travel past Merimbula on their way to the southern ocean. The Sapphire Coast one of the few places in the world where humpbacks can be observed lateral lunge feeding.
At Merimbula, families can spot Humpback Whales, Southern Rights, Minke, Blue Whales and Orcas. The tour operators are so confident that you will spot a whale, they offer a 100 per cent Whale Sighting guarantee. If you don’t see one you will receive half your money back or a free return whale watching cruise.
Expect to also see dolphins, turtles, fur seals and penguins on your tours.
Where: Merimbula Marina Public Jetty Market Street, Merimbula
When: 7 days a week
Price: $199 for a family of two adults and two children under 16. Children under 12 months are free. $30 per additional child from the same family.
If you are planning a trip to Kiama, make sure you head down to the Boat ramp at 10am on Sunday. That’s when Darren from Wild Nature Tours presents the Kiama Stingray show.
In the Wild Tours offers small group (max six) guided wildlife tours around Kiama and the south coast. But the 20-minute stingray show is free.
Watch in fascination as the world’s largest stingray species swims around the boat ramp. These creatures can be the size of dinner tables.
Where: Kiama Boat ramp
When: 10am Sunday
If anyone in your family loves to mountain bike – you need to take them to MTB Tathra. Flow Mountain bike rated the Tathra single track a must-ride. Australian Mountain Bike magazine rates it as the most fun in the south Coast.
In Tathra, you can surf in the morning and mountain bike in the afternoon.
A small group of committed mountain bike enthusiasts carved out the Tathra mountain bike trails alongside volunteers from the Bega Aboriginal Lands Council.
The 2018 bushfire that ravaged Tathra has led to the temporary closure of a 25-kilometre section of track. But, plenty of other super-fun tracks are still rideable. And the volunteers are working hard to restore closed sections. It won’t be long before they are all back up and running.
The Bundadung trail network is the easiest to access. The main trail head is 800 metres north of Tathra beach. It’s shown as “Poo Ponds” on Google maps thanks to the nearby sewerage treatment plant. The trail network has excellent signage. Tracks are graded according to difficulty. Beginners should stick to the green tracks. Intermediates are blue and advanced, black.
Check out this story for a list of the best bike tracks on the South Coast.
Where: Tathra Beach – entrance off Andy Poole Drive
When: All day, every day.
Price: Free if you bring your own bike. Or you can hire bikes at Tathra Beach and Bike Adult mountain bikes cost $20 for one hour. Kids cost $15. All bike hire includes helmets.