your guide to the

NSW South Coast

The South Coast is the ultimate weekend getaway, within easy reach from both Sydney and Canberra. Blessed with immense natural beauty including beautiful beaches and national parks you’ll find plenty to see and do on the South Coast with a range of coastal walks and water sports suitable for all levels of fitness.

 

Savour freshly shucked oysters on Australia’s Oyster Coast and enjoy a fine drop from the regions best wineries in Shoalhaven. Discover more local wines, ciders, cheese, olives and chocolates on South Coast Harvest Farm Gate Trail or dine in one of the regions finest restaurants; the South Coast is a foodies delight.

 

Here’s our guide to a perfect little weekend away on the NSW South Coast.

How to Get There

Getting to the South Coast is easy. Self-drive is one of the best ways to explore the NSW South Coast with the Grand Pacific Drive considered one of Australia’s most spectacular driving routes, making it the perfect road trip from Sydney. You can also travel by train, with regular services from Sydney’s Central Station to the South Coast.

 

This scenic rail route offers the opportunity to stop at seaside towns including Austinmer, Thirroul, Kiama and more. The South Coast is accessible from Canberra too, with the drive to Batemans Bay taking just 2 hours. The South Coast’s beautiful coastline makes for the perfect day trip or weekend getaway at any time of year.

Things to Do on the South Coast

Cycling & Walk Tracks

Explore a range of cycling trails, walking tracks and more on the South Coast of NSW. The Kiama Coast Walk takes in spectacular vistas, beautiful beaches and historical sites along the 22km walk from Minnamurra River in the Illawarra to Werri Beach in Gerringong and can be separated into three sections and best completed over two to three days to make the most of the spectacular scenery.

Parks & Reserves

Blessed with natural beauty the South Coast boasts a number of national parks and reserves to explore. Jervis Bay National Park includes Hyams Beach, renowned for its white sand, whale watching and fishing opportunities. Meanwhile Ben Boyd National Park on the Sapphire Coast is where you can enjoy the Light to Light walk or stay in heritage lighthouse accommodation.

Kayaking & Cruising

The South Coast of NSW is the perfect spot for kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and water sports. Book a tour or hire your own craft and explore the coastline, sanctuaries and waterways of the South Coast. Jervis Bay Wild offers a range of equipment for hire as well as dolphin and whale watching cruises.

Beaches

The NSW South Coast has some of the most incredible beaches in the country. If you’re up for it, you can even take part in the Shoalhaven 100 Beach Challenge. With all beaches in the list located just two hours from Sydney and Canberra, this line-up is a bucket list of sorts, and travellers are encouraged to visit as many as possible, tick them off as they go and share their experiences on social media. The 100 hot spots are spread from Seven Mile Beach to Depot Beach in the South and are presented like a game, and are even categorised by groups such as ‘family’, ‘pets’ and ‘adventure’.

Where to Visit on the South Coast

Wollongong

Cruise the Grand Pacific Drive to Wollongong and discover a coastal city ideal for day trips and weekend escapes from Sydney. NSW’s third largest city previously known more for its industry and port offers visitors plenty of things to see and do including bushwalking trails, beaches, markets and more. Here’s our guide to the 11 best things to do in Wollongong.

Shellharbour

Drive 25km south of Wollongong and you’ll hit Shellharbour. Stretching from Killalea Reserve to Illawarra and up into Macquarie Pass, you’ll find some of the best natural attractions on the south coast. Surf the best breaks at The Farm, also known as Killalea Beach National Surfing Reserve. Head to Macquarie Pass National Park and take the Cascades Walk or Clover Hill Trail through lush rainforest and towering eucalypts, and Bass Point Reserve is the best spot for snorkelling and diving in the region. For three of the best accommodation options in the area, check out Starfish Beach House in the centre of town, go camping at Reflections Killalea Reserve, or take in the views of Calderwood Valley from Escape 778.

Kiama

South of Wollongong you’ll find the charming town of Kiama with its world-famous Kiama Blowhole and Little Blowhole. The main street is filled with cafes and shops to browse and weekly farmers markets line the foreshore for locals and visitors to source the best local produce and artisan products.

Shoalhaven

Follow the coastline south to the Shoalhaven region including sublime coastal towns and hinterland villages. Enjoy magnificent beach destinations such as Mollymook, Jervis Bay and Hyams Beach or base yourself in popular country towns such as Kangaroo Valley, Berry and Milton. Beachside haven Mollymook is a popular coastal resort town within easy reach of Canberra and Sydney. You’ll also find a covetable food and wine scene all along the coast, starting with the famous Berry Donut Van, then a tasting at Mountain Ridge Wines, before dining at Milton’s hatted restaurant St Isidore.

Bateman’s Bay

Bateman’s Bay is a charming coastal town in the Eurobodalla region on the NSW South Coast. Bateman’s Bay is at the heart of Australia’s Oyster Coast. The town unfolds along the banks of the Clyde River, where you can taste succulent Clyde River oysters from the farm gates and fresh local seafood at a selection of restaurants. Relax by the beach or enjoy water sports including swimming, surfing, kayaking and fishing in Bateman’s Bay.

Planning your stay on the South Coast

The South Coast is picturesque in any season. Summer holidays and school holidays is peak period for beachside destinations such as Kiama, Gerringong and Jervis Bay. Villages such as Kangaroo Valley and Berry are popular on weekends and the cooler months for romantic getaways. Plan well ahead to secure South Coast accommodation during the summer school holidays.

Luxury Accommodation

South Coast luxury accommodation ranges from boutique B&B’s, luxury guesthouses and boutique hotels. In Kiama, discover hidden gem Terragong 1858 a remarkable and unique three room B&B for those with an eye for style. There are plenty of luxury holiday houses along the South Coast ideal for group getaways and retreats including Soul of Gerringong. If it’s five star hotels you’re looking for, book in at Bannisters by the Sea or its sister hotel Bannisters Pavilion and indulge in dinner at Rick Stein at Bannisters.

Hotels

South Coast hotels are mostly a collection of unique and independently owned hotels including The Berry Inn offering contemporary country accommodation right in the heart of historic Berry. However, if you’re loyal to Accor you’ll find Sebel Harbourside Kiama and Mercure Gerringong Resort the perfect choice.

Caravans & Camping

Caravans and camping on the South Coast NSW is an affordable and fun option for families. There are plenty of beachside options along the South Coast including Surf Beach Holiday Park overlooking Kiama’s main beach with a choice of powered tent, caravan sites and luxury cabins available or Seven Mile Beach Holiday Park featuring unique safari tents and surf shacks.

Where to eat on the South Coast

Mollymook

If you’re heading towards Mollymook for a beach escape and wanting to treat yourself, or are celebrating something special, you can’t go past Rick Stein’s at Bannisters. Known for the incredible seafood on offer – with an Asian twist. The views are also stunning, so ensure you enjoy a long lunch on a beautiful day.

For amazing fish and chips or a big brekkie to satisfy a few too many vinos the night before, Mollymook Beach Hut Cafe is a winner.

Bateman’s Bay

If you’re in Bateman’s Bay for the weekend, there are a few spots you’d do well to try. For a great breakfast, head to Deli on Perry for some of the best bacon and eggs you’ll find on the South Coast. For dinner, you can’t go past Heat Woodfired Pizza Bar in Batehaven. Go for the Supremo! It’s also BYO, so bring a great bottle of red! Another must-visit is the Bateman’s Bay Ice Creamery. You can get amazing smoothies, all the ice cream and gelato you could want – plus frozen yoghurt with all the toppings.