Whether you enjoy kicking back whilst basking your eyes in some nature, appreciating cultural pieces of art, or simply immersing yourself in the salty air of beautiful beaches, sometimes all you need is a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Despite Sydney being a hotspot for many travellers visiting New South Wales, a few hours south from the busy CBD lies the South Coast area offering a wide range of attractions. From tranquil beaches just minutes’ walk from national parks, to premium vineyards serving Australia’s best heritage cheeses.
Here is our guide to 10 awesome things to do in the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia.
Guest post by Visit NSW
In addition to a sightseeing quest through their beautiful beaches, a visit to the NSW South Coast will not be complete without watching humpback whales migrate across the coastlines with your own naked eyes. Let your escape be worth it by immersing yourself fully in the oceanic environment, whether it be from a viewing platform or up-close and personal from a cruise along the Jervis Bay’s breath-taking coastline.
You can even take it one step further to understanding whale behaviours from our knowledgeable guides at Visit NSW, should you opt to go for one of these tours.
2. Seafood Degustation
Not leaving out the foodie-travellers, restaurants in the South Coast has its perks. Restaurants in this area are especially known for their fresh catches, and even more so their freshly shucked oysters. To get more out of your visit, be sure to check in to one of their local oyster farms. Feast on a small palate cleansing treat, followed by speciality seafood restaurants exclusively curated by critically-acclaimed chefs for a memorable meal with exceptional quality.
If there’s anything else the South Coast is famous for besides their fresh seafood, just like a true Australian city, is making good wine and cheese. With a long history of cheese-making and farming dairy products, it is home to some of the Australia’s best local cheese produces. Favourites include Bega Cheese Heritage Centre and Bodalla Dairy Shed, so make sure to pop a visit to indulge in some handmade cheese. The lush green hills of Shoalhaven is especially famous for housing some of the most famous local vineyards and cellardoors, so for those looking for a private, family feel vineyard, this is definitely a go-to on your South Coast list.
Definitely not one to miss for the more adventurous bunch of travellers, make the most out of your escape by going on a surf break in Kilallea. If you are a keen surfer, get the thrill of riding the Bondi waves without the overwhelming crowd in Killalea Beach. Even if you are just starting off and excited to learn, there are surfing lessons up for grabs by friendly instructors available on site.
This place is also perfect for groups as it’s a public recreation reserve, so if you do visit, it’s best to save it for an overnight trip. Besides surfing, things to do include fishing, picnic, bushwalking and camping.
If you’re travelling with family, or surfing is simply not your thing, don’t worry! You can definitely still enjoy the beauty of South Coast’s crystal blue waters by sea-kayaking through Jervis Bay. Absorbing the nature surrounding you, there are options to paddle through mangrove forests, rivers and sea outlined by white-sand beaches.
Paddle through with family, or simply go alone with the wide variety of choices they offer. There are tours or courses available, and even options to go on an overnight camp.
Pro Tip: You can also see migrating humpback whales and resident dolphins during your session, if you’re lucky!
6. Water Park
Perfect for some fun in the sun for those travelling in groups, this water park- which is just an hour’s drive south of Sydney is the place to be! With endless choices of attraction and water slides, Jamberoo Action Park was crowned New South Wales’ favorite water theme park that will guarantee a well-spent day for you and your peers. Family-friendly with lots of food and retail choices around the area, be prepared to invest your whole day here for some real South Coast escape fun!
Not leaving the Australian spirit behind, meet Australia’s favorite local animals in Murramurang National Park, just minutes’ walk away from the famous Pebbly Beach. Also a popular picnic area, gather your friends and family on your escape, cook up some barbeque as you liaise with wildlife. Best thing is, Pebbly Beach is known for a great surfing beach so you can even incorporate surfing into your day plan!
8. Experience Aboriginal Culture
If you’re looking for a cultural escape, the South Coast offers many ways you can drench yourself in knowledge about one of Australia’s original tribes. Make your first stop to Wollongong Art Gallery, just on the Grand Pacific Drive. Then, continue your journey by visiting the Boodeeree National Park, one of the most popular places to enthral yourself in some Aboriginal culture. Booderee means ‘bay of plenty’ in Aboriginal language, where you can find yourself some local rangers leading cultural tours around the area for some cultural enlightenment.
Certainly not one to miss, a visit to the South Coast would not be complete without marvelling your eyes with some scenery of one of the world’s largest blowholes. The sea-cliff sprouts 20 metres of water into the air, and if you get too close, you might get drenched from the spray.
A fun and exciting experience, you can continue this excitement by going on the scenic Kiama Coast Walk or visiting the charming seaside town of Kiama for some peaceful escape away from the city.
As the third biggest city in NSW, a visit to Wollongong may be what you need to enjoy some wonderful experiences away from the city. The area is surrounded with amazing beaches where you can enjoy some adventurous water sports and cultural temples, with great food altogether.
The journey to Wollongong itself boasts some scenic coastlines to let your eye go on holiday as you drive through the Grand Pacific Drive or embark on a train trip. Once you’re there, make sure to plan your day well by checking some weekly exclusive events to not miss on some local festivals or events that are available throughout the year.
NSW’s South Coast has so much to offer, for international or local travellers. It is perfect to visit throughout all seasons, with a great mix of beautiful scenery, cultural experiences and of course, amazing food choices. So be sure to pack your bags, get yourself an airline ticket, or rent a local car, and treat yourself to some fun adventure just a short escape from Sydney.
Have you visited New South Wales' South Coast? What were your highlights? Tell us in the comment section below.
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