February 27, 2023
5 mins Read
Though the hype around Hyams Beach and it having the whitest sand in the world may have first put the New South Wales South Coast on the map, it doesn’t take long for visitors to realise there’s a lot more to the region.
For those in search of rest and relaxation, the area, which stretches from south of Sydney to the Victoria state border, offers scenic nature trails, award-winning wineries and farm-fresh restaurants. And for the adrenaline junkies, it’s got plenty to do too – you can snorkel with seals, picnic on a cliff-face and zip line through rainforest.
With so much to do and see on the NSW South Coast, there’s no doubt you’ll want to make a trip of it. But when starting to plan, something you’ll notice quickly is the distinct lack of hotels in the area. Luckily though, it more than makes up for that with quirky stays instead. Here, we’ve picked some of our favourites.
Open since 1999, Paperbark Camp in Jervis Bay is a pioneer of Australian glamping and easily one of the most well-known accommodation offerings in the area. Set in bushland, the camp features 12 safari-style tents and a main building housing the reception, a cosy, common area with lounges and a fireplace, and fine dining restaurant The Gunyah.
Don’t be put off by the word ‘camp’ – here, no luxury is spared. Hot water thermoses for tea and coffee are dropped outside of tents every morning, picnic hampers stocked with gourmet supplies can be ordered in advance, and in-tent massages can be indulged in. Be sure to take one of the provided push bikes to nearby Huskisson for an ocean-side cycle.
A sign pointing towards ‘Unicorns’, a gorgeous open-air chapel set amongst tumbling weeds and hopping kangaroos, and a train car converted into a day spa assert The Woods Farm’s crazy farm wonderland status. Set on 16 hectares of land in Jervis Bay and offering both cottages and glamping tents, it’s an appealing stay to all types of visitors.
Couples and groups of friends can spend their days here playing bocce, biking or strolling the grounds, or taking advantage of the once-a-week yoga class held in the chapel. Families can get to know farm animals including chickens, alpacas, and cows, splash around in the pool, and make pizzas together using the wood-fire oven on-site.
The newest accommodation on this list, The Cove was recently bought by the same owners as The Woods Farm and has since received a massive refurbishment. One-, two- and three-room cabins were given fresh licks of black and white paint, interiors were styled with chic décor, and bedrooms were kitted out with comfy linens. The Fun House, designed to sleep 36, features a commercial kitchen and a cute coastal vibe.
Located in Booderee National Park, the accommodation is steps from Sussex Inlet where you can stand-up paddle board and kayak, and a short drive away from spots where you can whale watch, scuba dive and surf.
The tiny house stays trend has well and truly arrived in Australia, and In2thewild is a company offering it in New South Wales. Among their listings, their India and Isabella homes can be found on the South Coast. India sits on a Shoalhaven vineyard, while Isabella is nestled in the Wollongong rainforest with views of the sea. Adding to the experience is the fact that exact locations are only emailed through to you just before your stay.
You can stock up on food on your drive in, or pre-order a local produce-laden hamper. Inside both homes, you’ll find a kitchen and stove, bathroom with hot shower, and, upstairs, a queen bed and skylight so you can fall asleep to the sight of a starry sky.
In 2015, Rebecca and Tim Jones gave up their corporate city jobs to move to the country and start up a bed and breakfast. The resulting Tilba Lake House, five hours from Sydney in Central Tilba, has since grown to include three bell-shaped glamping tents – one equipped with an en suite – and two tiny homes called Bonnie and Clyde.
Though not far from each other on the grounds, the two types of lodging differ greatly. The tents are tucked into gardens with uninterrupted views of both Tilba Lake and the Pacific Ocean, while the tiny homes, referred to here as ‘eco-pods’, face rolling green paddocks dotted with sheep and cows, and a mountain range beyond.
Giving accommodation a lived-in feel while still making it seem neat and tidy can be a tricky task. But it’s one owner and stylist of Bangalay Luxury Villas Michelle Bishop makes look easy. Walking into its villas is like stepping straight into the pages of a homewares catalogue. The décor is neutral and earthy with black and white accents such as matte black chairs and a black mesh lampshade.
Choose from one- or two-bed villas, and relax on its wooden deck with views of a golf course or gardens. Also on the grounds is a swimming pool and a restaurant called Bangalay Dining. A favourite among locals, you’ll find it packed on weekends.
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