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Cruising the Grand Pacific Drive

Sea Cliff Bridge, CliftonCredit: Destination NSW

The scenic coastal drive along Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Cruising the Grand Pacific Drive

Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton Credit: Destination NSW

The scenic coastal drive along Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #feelnsw #newsouthwales

Buckle up for a spectacular journey exploring the Grand Pacific Drive, taking in rugged coastal cliffs, pretty beachside towns and secluded stretches of sand, stopping in at wineries and immersing in pockets of rainforest all within easy reach of Sydney.  

Coast along ocean roads 

Heading south from central Sydney, your journey begins well before the official starting point of the Grand Pacific Drive. Relish an increasing sense of freedom as you leave Sydney’s southern suburbs behind and find yourself driving through the open coastal bushland of the Royal National Park. Cruise into the first-ever declared national park in the country for an invigorating hike along one of the many walking trails in this expansive oceanside nature reserve, or make memories when you come face to furry face with a koala at Symbio Wildlife Park, immediately south of the Royal National Park in Helensburgh. 

Follow the winding road down the steep escarpment from the Royal National Park to begin your Grand Pacific Drive odyssey by cruising along the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge, which winds for 665m around sheer cliff faces with the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing below. Rest and recharge with coffee and a refreshing swim at one of the beachside villages along the coastal road, such as Austinmer, before continuing on to Wollongong, NSW’s third-largest city. Here you can immerse in Aboriginal, Asian, colonial and contemporary art at Wollongong Art Gallery, tour fascinating Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, or dive under the waves at one of the city’s golden beaches. 

Hug the coastline as you leave Wollongong bound for the stunning surf beaches of Shellharbour, taking in the bird-rich expanses of Lake Illawarra to your right and the deep blue of the ocean to your left along the way. Marvel at the skill of surfers catching powerful waves at Minnamurra Beach and Killalea Beach, which together form the Killalea National Surfing Reserve. Join awestruck locals at Minnamurra Whale Watching Platform to spot majestic humpback whales making their way along the coast on their annual migration from Antarctica from May to July and from September to November.  

Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh Credit: Destination NSW

Friendly koala at Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh in the Illawarra region.

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Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh Credit: Destination NSW

Friendly koala at Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh in the Illawarra region.

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Kayaking, Minnamurra Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a paddle on Minnamurra River, Minnamurra south of Kiama.

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Kayaking, Minnamurra Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a paddle on Minnamurra River, Minnamurra south of Kiama.

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Have a blast in Kiama 

Jump back in your car for the short drive to Kiama, a pretty beachside town that’s best known as the home of the world’s largest blowhole. Glory to the power of nature as the ocean sprays water 30m into the sky at the Kiama Blowhole before following the Kiama Coast Walk track to Little Blowhole and a seemingly never-ending series of scenic headlands and bays. Recharge after a bracing coastal walk with a wholesome burger at Kiama’s Hungry Monkey, or graze on the all-day brunch menu at Diggies Kiama. Linger longer and top up your ‘vitamin sea’ levels while taking in the ocean views from your room at one of the many accommodation options in Kiama. 

Rejoin Princes Highway for the 10-minute drive to Crooked River Wines, to sample fine wines and craft beer and slide down freshly shucked South Coast oysters, before the short drive to Gerringong, a classic beach town where the allure of the laidback lifestyle is hard to resist. Slip back into the swimsuit you’ve left drying in the back of the car for a revitalising dip at Gerringong’s Werri Beach before easing into a seat at The Hill Bar and Kitchen for a post-swim snack of locally sourced seafood or perhaps an ale or a glass of wine.  

Cruise from Gerringong through lush coastal farmland to the village of Gerroa for a soul-soothing walk along the white sands of Seven Mile Beach before checking into a beach house looking out over the ocean. Or steer your car back onto the coastal road to cross into Seven Mile Beach National Park and the start of the Shoalhaven region. Settle in to a secluded luxury suite at Bangalay Luxury Villas at Shoalhaven Heads, at the southern end of Seven Mile Beach, to rest before communing with the ocean on a sunset stroll. Complete a memorable day of exploration by indulging in incredible food incorporating native ingredients and locally sourced and foraged ingredients at the in-house restaurant Bangalay Dining.  

Go wild in Jervis Bay 

Keep the good times coming by sampling your way south at the wineries of the Shoalhaven Wine Coast, including Coolangatta Estate and Mountain Ridge Wines, both around a five-minute drive from Bangalay Luxury Villas. Then follow the Shoalhaven River inland and cross the placid waterway on the outskirts of Nowra, the largest town in the region.  

Refuel yourself and your car before the 20-minute drive from Nowra to the sheltered waters of Jervis Bay. Here you can splash around on powder-white, tree-lined beaches or hire a kayak from Sea Kayak Jervis Bay to paddle the clear waters of Jervis Bay Marine Park while spotting dolphins, seabirds and penguins. Take a scenic cruise with Dolphin Watch Cruises for a thrilling encounter with bottlenose dolphins — and with migrating humpback whales in winter and spring. Or slide under the waves and swim with seals and colourful reef fish with Dive Jervis Bay.  

Relish an unusual wine pairing with a Whales & Wine tour, combining tastings at two local vineyards with a two-hour whale-watching cruise around the bay. And bliss out in a cottage or glamping tent at The Woods Farm or retreat to an elevated safari-style luxury tent at Paperbark Camp to restore your energy levels ahead of another memorable day on the bay. 

Coolangatta Estate, Shoalhaven Heads Credit: Destination NSW

Sun setting over the scenic grounds of Coolangatta Estate, Shoalhaven Heads.

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Coolangatta Estate, Shoalhaven Heads Credit: Destination NSW

Sun setting over the scenic grounds of Coolangatta Estate, Shoalhaven Heads.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Whale Watching, Jervis Bay Credit: Jordan Robins

Humpback whale breaching off Jervis Bay on the south coast of NSW.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Whale Watching, Jervis Bay Credit: Jordan Robins

Humpback whale breaching off Jervis Bay on the south coast of NSW.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

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