10 Best Things to do in the South Coast of NSW

We recently took five to catch up with the good folk over at Destination NSW to find out a little bit more about what rocks for families on the South Coast.

Known for its beautiful beaches and national parks, here are their top tips for visiting this beautiful part of Australia.


The South Coast of New South Wales is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations for both domestic and international travellers, and rightly so! The stunning escarpment trickling down from Wollongong to Eden hosts a magnificent diversity of adventure and relaxation including breathtakingly beautiful beaches, lush littoral rainforests, welcoming seaside villages and wilderness adventures. From gleaming, turquoise blue beaches to freshwater rivers teeming with native flora and fauna, the South Coast is jam-packed with activities to suit any budget or lifestyle. Here are the 10 best things to do on your next escape to the unspoilt South Coast of New South Wales.

Tour Grand Pacific Drive

To grasp the epic beauty of the South Coast, hire a car and travel along the Grand Pacific Drive, and follow the 140 kilometre stretch of coastal escarpment from Sydney to Wollongong and beyond. The journey tracks the eastern coastline through stunning native rainforests and relaxed seaside towns, with plenty to see and do along the way. Take a break in the relaxing gardens of the Nan Tien Temple, enjoy a dip in the Royal National Park or visit the famous Kiama Blowhole.

Kiama Blowhole | Source: flickr

Discover Jervis Bay

Escape to the aquatic beauty of Jervis Bay – a small seaside village in the South Coast of NSW. This stunning marine reserve is home to the whitest sand in the world, complemented by rolling clear turquoise waves amongst the backdrop of the exquisite Booderee National Park. Enjoy a beach picnic along the sandy white banks of Hyams Beach, or explore the Jervis Bay National Park. Check out the marine reserves of Cave Beach, Kitty Beach and Wreck Bay. There is plenty of adventure in Jervis Bay from sports fishing to sailing and snorkelling.

Soar the South Coast

Take the plunge and soar from the cliffs of the South Coast, as you hang glide or paraglide from the internationally acclaimed Stanwell Tops. Take in the sights of the world-famous Sea Cliff Bridge and enjoy the coastal allure from up above. If you are feeling a little more risky, head to Skydive The Beach, Wollongong where you can enjoy the freefall from a plane at over 15 000 ft. Soak up the beauty as you gracefully drift back down to the beach.

View from Stanwell Park | Source: flickr

Go Sports Fishing

Due to the South Coast’s close proximity to the continental floor, fishing is particularly popular in the region. The warm nutrient rich water provides the perfect feeding ground for many species of fish including rock fish, orange roughy and Pacific cod. However, one of the most alluring fishing experiences along the South Coast is that of sports or game fishing. Just off the shores of the South Coast lay pods of marlin, tuna and giant trevally. Hire a dinghy and trawl a line or enjoy land-based game fishing at Jervis Bay. Or book a tour and head out to the seas on a game fishing tour of the South Coast.

Surf the Killalea State Recreation Park

The South Coast is fortunate enough to host some of the most popular waves on the east coast of Australia, including two surf reserves in particular which draw international crowds. Killalea Beach, or “The Farm” as the locals call it, is one of the most unique surf breaks. The south east swell combined with the north-east blowing provides consistent and ideal conditions for surfers. For the more experienced surfer, test the swell at “Mystics”, Minnamurra Beach. This awesome surfing location provides intermediate to experienced surfers with good beach breaks with powerful pitching “A” frame waves.

Minnamurra | Source: flickr

Taste the South Coast

The South Coast is well known for some of the most delectable food and wine experiences. Head to the rolling hills of the Shoalhaven region and sample delicious cool climate wines at over 18 cellar doors. Or enjoy the regions flavours with these bountiful culinary experiences available right along the South Coast. Devour the freshest Sydney Rock and Pacific Oysters along Australia’s Oyster Coast and enjoy the annual Oyster Festival at Eden. Or head to the Eurobodalla region at Bega to witness the nation’s dairy capital, sporting fine cheeses to enjoy along the South Coast.  You could even drive a bit further and pop into the Mogo Zoo…  Pictured below: Jetsetting Kids doing what they do best – just hanging out.

Swim with Seals at Montague Island

Just 9 kilometres off the coast of Narooma lies a haven of crystal clear, unchartered waters – home to a colony of friendly and adorable creatures. Scuba, snorkel, swim and dive with curiously playful Australian fur seals, or admire the colonies of small fairy penguins. Enjoy a tour of Montague Island either underwater or from above, where you can witness frolicking pods of bottlenose dolphins, or enjoy game fishing for marlin, tuna or kingfish.

Australian Fur Seals, Montague Island | Source: flickr

Explore the Waterways of Shellharbour

Shellharbour is a popular and scenic region along the South Coast located between Wollongong and Kiama. The area is home to both the sea and the lake, offering a plethora of water-based activities for it’s visitors. Shellharbour North Beach is the villages’ favourite beach, offering a 1 kilometre stretch of spectacular coastline. The beach is controlled throughout the Winter months and conveniently located close to the town centre. Shellharbour is also home to the breathtakingly still Lake Illawarra. Hire a stand up paddle board or a fishing boat and head out for a day on the relaxing water.

Lake Illawarra | Source: flickr

Go Whale Watching on the Sapphire Coast

Amongst the warm East Australian Current and the Arctic flow rich in nutrients that whales feed, breed and prosper along the Sapphire Coast. The Sapphire Coast starts at Narooma and ends at Green Cape just before the state border of Victoria. Between September and early November during migration season along the Australian east coast you are offered guaranteed encounters with Southern Right Whales, and Humpbacks with rare sightings of Orcas or Blue Whales. Head to Eden to check out the Killer Whale Trail and learn about the interesting historical relationship between orca’s of the region and the Indigenous peoples of Eden. Book a whale watching tour from Merimbula to catch a glimpse of the local pod, or head to Boyd’s Tower, the Eden Lookout or the Tathra headline for a perfect vantage point to witness these beautiful creatures.

Humpback Whale, Eden | Source: flickr

Explore the National Parks

Almost the entirety of the Australian East Coast is blessed with stunning National Parks all located within a 50km radius of it’s pristine coastline. Start within the lush escarpment of the Southern Highlands and visit the Morton National Park to discover Fitzroy Falls. A breathtaking curtain of waterfall plunging into a valley 80m below. The Fitzroy Falls are also the perfect basecamp to continue exploring the magnificent region between Nowra and Robertson. Located in the Shoalhaven region, the Budderoo National Park provides a glimpse of Australia before settlement with the remnants of ancient Gondwana. Explore the rainforests along the Minnamurra Rainforest Walk and discover the rich diversity of flora and fauna this region has to offer. Meander further down the coast to the Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay, the only National Park still owned by their Indigenous custodians. Or for an exclusive escape, uncover the Greenglade Picnic Area, within the Nadgee Nature Reserve. One of the most deserted and relaxing beaches along the East Coast.

Fitzroy Falls | Source: flickr


For more information on these and other New South Wales destinations, please visit: www.destinationnsw.com.au


This guest post has been prepared in collaboration with Destination NSW for the purposes of helping to inspire families to visit this beautiful part of Australia.