Relax on postcard-perfect beaches, sip wine overlooking thriving vineyards, sleep in luxury by the sea…sound good so far? Discover an idyllic coastal getaway in the Shoalhaven region on the New South Wales South Coast of Australia, just two-and-a-half hours’ drive south from Sydney.
Dine With All Your Senses
Clear your schedule for the afternoon, take a seat on the sun-drenched terrace at Mollymook’s Rick Stein restaurant, and prepare for a seafood meal you won’t soon forget. The international chef, restaurateur and TV presenter’s restaurant at Bannisters by the Sea hotel offers superb fresh local seafood in coastal-chic setting made for lingering.
Feel nourished in a whole new way at Milk Haus, just west of Mollymook. Situated in a former cheese factory, this wholefoods café aims to deliver fresh, honest, simple fare free of toxins, preservatives and anything artificial. Then discover how memorable food has deliciousness and simplicity at its heart at neighbourhood bistro Small Town Food and Wine in the nearby heritage town of Milton.
Revel in the freshness of the Shoalhaven region’s oysters as you slurp plump Sydney rock oysters or Pacific oysters beside the Crookhaven River at Jim Wild’s Oysters at Greenwell Point, a one-hour drive north of Milton. Also in Greenwell Point is Pelican Rocks Cafe, where you can tuck into oysters and other hearty seafood dishes beside the river as local pelicans watch on enviously. Or combine casual coastal dining vibes with a lush rural outlook at The Growers, near Nowra, where you can just pop in for a local wine, or pair your drink with local-produce-inspired dishes, from a South Coast prawns pizza to a seasonal gnocchi.
Get a Taste for Local Wine
Retreat to the Shoalhaven hinterland to uncover one of Australia’s most exciting emerging wine regions, where the sultry climate and fertile soils produce some seriously drinkable chardonnay, chambourcin, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, among other top drops.
Embrace farm life at Silos Estate near Berry, a working vineyard and alpaca farm where you can enjoy a refreshing stroll through the vines and the onsite art gallery before settling in for a tasting. Uncover a clutch of similarly wonderful wineries all located within 20 minutes’ drive to the south. Make a day of traipsing between Cambewarra Estate, Coolangatta Estate, Mountain Ridge Wines and Two Figs Winery at your own pace, perhaps treating yourself to decadent weekend lunch at Cambewarra Estate between stops. Or try something different and treat yourself to high tea seated inside a giant pink teacup among the estate’s chardonnay vines.
Gaze out over the vines from the popular restaurant at Cupitt’s Estate, a family-operated boutique winery, cellar door, restaurant, bar, microbrewery and fromagerie all conveniently located at the one beautiful coastal countryside setting between Ulladulla and Milton. Then soak up the rural ambience of Bawley Vale Estate near Bawley Point, where you can relax with a glass of wine by a duck-filled pond outside the sleek, modern-industrial tasting room.
Discover Nature’s Playground
If getting up close to marine life makes you smile, talk to the skilful crew at Jervis Bay Wild, based in Huskisson, to arrange a whale-watching or dolphin-spotting trip. Or get wet and wild with Kangaroo Valley Kayaks, which offers self-guided trips down the serene Kangaroo River. If you’re lucky, you might even experience the unforgettable thrill of spotting a platypus.
On land, immerse yourself in nature on the gorgeous White Sands Walk. Winding through the coastal forest of Jervis Bay National Park and past some of the purest sands in the world, the 90-minute return walk begins at Greenfield Beach picnic area in Vincentia and passes Chinamans Beach, before arriving at Hyams Beach. Enjoy the scenery for longer by starting at Plantation Point instead; the extended route also takes in beautiful Blenheim Beach.
Sleep in Style by the Sea
Check in and chill out at Bangalay Luxury Villas, just steps from Seven Mile Beach at Shoalhaven Heads, where each of its 16 stylish private fully self-contained one- and two-bedroom villas (and a four-bedroom holiday house) has golf course or garden views. Feast on fine local produce at the onsite Bangalay Dining restaurant, which also boasts a verdant outlook.
Soak up more seaside luxury at Bannisters by the Sea in Mollymook, with 34 stylish rooms and a clifftop day spa. Just down the road, the 35 beach-chic rooms and suites at sister hotel Bannisters Pavilion are an easy short wander from Mollymook Beach; rise early to start your day with an invigorating dip.
Connect more deeply with nature on a chic safari-style stay at Paperbark Camp, nestled in a peaceful bush setting just minutes from the coastal village of Huskisson. Relax under the paperbark trees on your elevated deck before savouring yet another delicious taste of the Shoalhaven region at its excellent restaurant, The Gunyah.
And if you loved wining and dining at Cupitt’s Estate, you can now opt to spend the night in one of 10 architecturally designed Luxury Pods (above) looking out to the estate’s rolling green hills. Choose a King Bath Pod and luxuriate in the views from your balcony as you take a restorative outdoor soak at the end of a day’s exploring.
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