Take your pick of breathtaking beaches, meet a menagerie of wildlife and enjoy a huge range water sports. All of this and more awaits on the unspoilt NSW South Coast, where you’ll find spectacular coastline, magnificent wilderness, top food and wine experiences, and gorgeous seaside and hinterland towns.
Relax on some of the whitest sands in the world, explore sparkling estuaries by kayak and savour freshly shucked oysters on Australia’s Oyster Coast. Go tandem skydiving, or see dolphins, whales and seals in the wild. There’s also rock climbing, coastal walks and fascinating Aboriginal cultural experiences, among other things to do.
Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama
Begin your discovery of the NSW South Coast just south of Sydney on the Grand Pacific Drive touring route, winding your way through the Wollongong area and over the stunning Sea Cliff Bridge. Stop at Stanwell Park, an acclaimed spot for hang-gliding and paragliding above the azure-coloured sea.
South of Wollongong is the Shellharbour area. Enjoy snorkelling and diving at some of NSW’s best dive sites, and visit famous surf breaks, The Farm and Mystics, at Killalea State Park. The gorgeous Shellharbour beaches and lakes are perfect for stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.
A short drive south is the Kiama area and the famous Kiama Blowhole. For breathtaking natural scenery, follow the Kiama Coast Walk and explore the enchanting Minnamurra Rainforest, near the waterslides of Jamberoo Action Park. Surf Camp Australia is based in nearby Gerroa and offers surfing lessons at Seven Mile Beach.
Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and the Sapphire Coast
Australia’s Oyster Coast begins in the Shoalhaven area, home to the White Sands Walk and dolphins of Jervis Bay. Enjoy a beach picnic, and explore gorgeous inlets and bays on a stand-up paddle board or kayak. You can taste delicious Shoalhaven Coast wines at local restaurants, such as Rick Stein at Bannisters.
Farther south is the Eurobodalla region and one of the great wildlife adventures in the world – snorkelling or diving with a colony of fur seals on Montague Island, off the coast of Narooma. Eurobodalla also has great fishing, bushwalking and cycling, as well as many kayak tours and hire services.
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 Walktakes 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. Hiking in Macquarie Pass National Park and cycling Lake Illawarra should also be on your to do list while on the South Coast.
Parks & Reserves
Blessed with natural beauty the South Coast boasts a number of national parks and reserves to explore. Jervis Bay National Park includes the White Sands walk, that finishes at Hyams Beach, whale watching and fishing opportunities. There’s also the beautiful Minamurra Rainforest to explore, full of walking trails, waterfalls and birdlife; and for coastal walks you can’t go past Killalea Reserve. Meanwhile Ben Boyd National Parkon 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. Kangaroo Valley Safaris Kayaks and Canoes also offer self-guided day trips from two hours to all day from Hampden Bridge to Bendeela with a return shuttle included.
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’.
If you’re on the hunt for a good surfing beach, you’ll want to head to the National Surfing Reserve in Killalea and check out their two surf beaches, Killalea Beach (known to locals as The Farm) and Minnamurra Beach ‘Mystics’.