Beach Vacation in the South Coast of NSW

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Advisor - Martin Schindhelm
Curated By

Martin Schindhelm

  • Family Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Beaches

  • Couples Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Australia

  • Hiking

  • Shopping

  • Coastal

a beach with people through a grassy clearing of trees on a clear blue sky day
Curator’s statement

Just 3 hours south from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, you will find pristine beaches, sprawling bushland, boutique shopping and an up-and-coming food scene. The South Coast of NSW has a lot to offer for every type of traveler. Whether you are with your family looking for a weeklong beach vacation or a couple wanting a long weekend getaway, the South Coast has something for everyone.

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Where to stay in South Coast of NSW, Australia

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Things to do in South Coast of NSW, Australia

blue sky over grassy cliffs into the ocean

Beaches

The South Coast is famous for its long stretches of secluded beaches. Starting with Jervis Bay, you will find a stretch of beaches with pristine, blue water and some of the whitest sand in the world. These beaches are very family friendly, with mostly flat water that is safe for all levels of swimming.

Hyams beach is the longest and most famous beach in Jervis Bay but has recently become increasingly popular, making parking more challenging. To beat the crowds, I suggest trying Greenfield Beach or Murrays Beach, which are smaller, more secluded, and in my opinion, more beautiful. Keep an eye out for dolphins -- they can be frequently seen here any time of the year!

For those wanting to explore both the beach and bushland, I highly recommend taking the time to hike the White Sands Walk. A relatively easy 5.8 mile out-and-back trail, it starts at Blenheim Beach and ends at Hyams Beach. Explore five different beaches and beautiful bushland in between, highlighting the best that Jervis Bay has to offer. If you are short on time, start at Greenfields Beach and explore as far as you can on Hyams Beach.

As you travel further south you will find the beach town of Mollymook. This is a great area to use as your base, as it combines the beach lifestyle with trendy restaurant and bar options. Mollymook beach is a family friendly beach that is patrolled by lifeguards on both the north and south ends of the beach, with plenty of parks to have a picnic.

Hiking and Nature Walks

Kangaroo Valley is surrounded by dense bushland, rolling hills and rivers, giving many options for your outdoor adventure. There are a variety of activities that you can enjoy during a visit including bushwalks, swimming, kayaking in the river, and searching for some of Australia's local animals. Highlights of the area include:

  • Fitzroy Falls: A breathtaking waterfall that easy to access via a short boardwalk. Many longer hikes surround the area for those who want to explore the valley further.

  • Cambewarra Mountain Lookout: This is a perfect spot for a picnic or afternoon tea after a day exploring the valley. An amazing viewpoint overlooks the mountain range and nearby beaches. Stop by the Kangaroo Valley Bakehouse on the way and buy a locally made meat pie to enjoy at this spot!

  • Bandeela Campground: During your time in Kangaroo Valley, you will most likely come across some of the local animals, including kangaroos, echidnas, and the many beautiful native birds like kookaburras and cockatoos. But what is particularly unique to the valley is the larger number of wombats in the area. The best place to find them is the Bandeela Campground. This campground, with easy access to the river front, is an area you can stop by and visit even if you are not staying there - not to mention, it's also a great spot for a picnic. As you arrive, check-in with the friendly staff and inform them that you are visiting. Wombats typically come out around dusk, so time your visit to around 1-2 hours before sunset to give you the best chance of seeing them!

Shopping

In the small country town of Berry, you will find the quaint main street that has a variety of locally owned boutique shops and cafes. While this only a small street covering 2 blocks, you can spend an entire day exploring one-of-a-kind stores with unique offerings. My favorite spot was Co.Lab. It brings in a collective of local artists, selling original art, babywear, homewares, fashion and jewelry. The perfect spot to find a gift or to buy for yourself! Before leaving, treat yourself to the famous Berry Donut Van for fresh, delicious, hot cinnamon donuts.

Golf

Throughout the South Coast, you will find many unique golf courses that are a must-see for any golf enthusiast. My personals favorites are:

  • Kangaroo Valley Country Club: Set in the heart of the valley, you will find this challenging championship golf course with undulating fairways and views of the surrounding mountains. Keep an eye out for the local kangaroos who call the course home.

  • Mollymook Hilltop Course: Set at the top of Mollymook, this tree-lined golf course will take you down close enough to hear the ocean, but still make you feel like you are in a hidden world away from civilization.

Places to eat & drink in South Coast of NSW, Australia

a plate of spaghetti in a curry sauce

Breakfast

  • The Rooftop Bar & Grill: Start your day right with a hearty breakfast on the rooftop of the Bannisters Pavilion Hotel in Mollymook. Their breaky burger is a highlight, and if you stay at the hotel, breakfast is included every day. They also offer a fantastic dinner with a fresh seafood-focused menu. Look out for the coffee cart out front to get a takeaway coffee as you start your day.

  • 5 Little Pigs: On the main street of Huskisson, this busy cafe is the highlight of Jervis Bay. With fantastic coffee and typical Australian-style breakfast, this is the perfect start to the day before exploring the beaches. During weekends and holidays this cafe can get very busy, but the staff keep things moving quickly. My favorite is the zucchini fritters with haloumi.

  • The General Cafe: When exploring Kangaroo Valley, this cafe is a great spot to fuel up. The locally baked bread is to die for, and a bacon and egg roll is a great takeaway option if you're short on time.

Lunch

  • Culpitt Estate: Perched on the hilltops inland from Mollymook Beach, this winery is a great stop for both wine tastings and lunch. With spectacular views, you will be treated to local wines and craft beers, as well as two dining options. Culpitt's Restaurant is a farm-to-table restaurant and has set menus that utilize the produce from their garden. For a more casual setting, try Dusty's Garden Bar, with its outdoor setting and pizza menu.

  • Milkwood Bakery: In the heart of Main Street, Berry, there is a constant fast-moving line of people looking to try the many baked good options. Whether it's a meat pie, pastry or a bacon and egg roll, this is a great stop to fill up while exploring the town.

  • Kangaroo Valley Bakehouse: Famous for their baked in-house meat pies, this is the perfect place to stock up on food for the day.

  • The Friendly Inn Hotel: This great country pub has many an extensive menu, with a large outdoor area with a playground to keep the kids entertained while you enjoy a schnitzel and pint of beer.

Dinner

  • Rick Stein at Bannisters: If you are looking to indulge, plan for one night to have dinner at Rick Stein's restaurant for a world-class experience. Starting with an extensive cocktail list (with the best gin & tonic of my life), indulge in the Asian-inspired seafood menu while taking in the ocean views. Reservations are a must!

  • GWYLO: Combining modern Asian street food with a dive bar feel, GWYLO is a new addition to the South Coast food scene. Come for the food and cocktails and stay for the live music.

Drinks

  • Pool Bar at Bannisters By The Sea: For ocean views and a fancy cocktail, this is your spot. Looking over the hotel pool towards the ocean, arrive in time to get a sunset view. They also have food options if you want to get dinner.

  • Milton Hotel: This recently renovated pub is a great option for an afternoon drink. They brew their own beer on site and have enough options for you to work your way through their menu as you relax on the large patio, and the kids enjoy the playground.

  • The Ruse: A popular local bar to have a cocktail while enjoying the water views over Ulladulla Harbour. Enjoy the live music every Friday and Saturday, and their Mexican-inspired snack menu.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out my guide, Best Bars in Sydney with a Harbour View.

Advisor - Martin Schindhelm

Travel Advisor

Martin Schindhelm

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Australia.