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Guide to southern Sydney

Shelly Beach, CronullaCREDIT: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking swimers enjoying Shelly Beach ocean bath in Cronulla.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Guide to
southern Sydney

Shelly Beach, Cronulla CREDIT: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking swimers enjoying Shelly Beach ocean bath in Cronulla.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Hashtags #lovensw #ilovesydney

The southern reaches of Sydney, starting with a 50-minute drive from the city, are just the place for a quick day trip, classic beach holiday or camping adventure. Hike in Australia’s oldest national park, see where James Cook first came ashore in 1770, discover ancient Aboriginal rock art, watch whales cruise past, and learn to surf on pristine golden beaches.

Where to eat 

Sandy feet are most welcome at classic coastal milk bar Milkhouse Kurnell, serving up milkshakes, deluxe brekkie burgers and smoothie bowls at Kurnell on the southern tip of Botany Bay.  

In the nearby beach suburb of Cronulla, experience casual dining at its best at Blackwood Pantry, which serves up tasty seasonal fare such as Turkish poached eggs and nourish bowls. Taking its name from the ocean pool over the road where local nuns once bathed, Cronulla’s hidden gem The Nuns’ Pool serves up seasonal fare for breakfast and lunch in a breezy white space. Tuck into anything from a sumac pork fillet to a felafel burger.  

Another local favourite is HAM, named after its owners, brothers Harry and Mario Kapoulas, whose Greek heritage influences the menu at this cleverly styled deli and café. Pull up a chair at the communal table and decide between the generous deli breakfast plate and the famed panini.  

For an upscale dinner, head to 1908 Cronulla for its sophisticated coastal food (try a tasting menu with wine pairing) and fragrant cocktails, or head to Alphabet St, a contemporary Thai eatery by Cronulla Beach offering classics such as massaman beef and unique bites such as “big boyz” chicken wings.  

On the Hacking River in the Royal National Park, be sure to visit heritage Audley Dance Hall, which houses a wonderful café opening up to an expansive grassy area on which the kids can play. If you feel like having a picnic instead, ask the staff to make you up a bespoke hamper. 

Where to drink in Cronulla 

Hang oceanside and enjoy a cold beer with the locals at Northies, a long-running beach pub with hearty meals and awesome views of crashing waves on North Cronulla Beach. Another Cronulla waterfront favourite is Splash Tapas Bar, an easy spot at which to while away time with share plates and cocktails. At American-style whisky saloon The Blind Bear you’ll find more than 100 whiskies from around the world, plus classic American-style burgers and fried chicken.  

Another hideaway bar is Croydon Lane Wine & Tapas Bar, where you can sit under fairy lights in an urban courtyard, listen to live music, nibble on Spanish-inspired tapas and choose from wines and cocktails. For more live tunes with your drinks, The Brass Monkey is a long-standing venue that offers a vibrant line-up of local and international rock, jazz, blues and comedy acts, and an electric atmosphere in an old-fashioned basement lounge. The food (think generous Mediterranean tasting plates) and efficient service are a bonus.

Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla CREDIT: Blackwood Pantry

Blackwood Pantry, on Surf Lane in Cronulla.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla CREDIT: Blackwood Pantry

Blackwood Pantry, on Surf Lane in Cronulla.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Wattamolla, Royal National Park Sydney CREDIT: Destination NSW

Go for a swim at Wattamolla, Royal National Park Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Wattamolla, Royal National Park Sydney CREDIT: Destination NSW

Go for a swim at Wattamolla, Royal National Park Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Where to play

Learn to surf at the Cronulla Surfing Academy, run by Cronulla surfer Blake Johnston and offering lessons for beginners upwards, including female-only lessons. For a different kind of aquatic adventure, take a kayak tour with Bundeena Kayaks in the waterways in and around the coastal village of Bundeena, a 40-minute drive or 30-minute ferry ride south of Cronulla. You can also hire kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. 

Hop on the historical trail in Kamay Botany Bay National Park, a 15-minute drive north-east of Cronulla. Discover the area’s rich Aboriginal culture and visit Captain Cook's Landing Place, where in 1770, the local Aboriginal people encountered the crew of the Endeavour. 

The Royal National Park, established in 1879, is Australia’s oldest national park and less than an hour’s drive from central Sydney. It’s home to the challenging 26km Coast Track, a two-day walk between Bundeena and Otford, taking in rock engravings carved by the Aboriginal Dharawal people at Jibbon Headland, swimming spots such as Wattamolla, seasonal wildflowers and whale-spotting opportunities, and the famed Wedding Cake Rock, a fragile formation of pure white rock. The not-for-profit outdoor tour operator Emu Trekkers offers guided walks on the Coast Tracks, with proceeds going to support disadvantaged children and youth.

Where to shop 

The largest shopping hub in Sydney’s southern suburbs is Westfield Miranda, a 35-minute drive south of the city centre and home to well-known Aussie retailers David Jones, Myer and Target, as well as a cinema complex.  

In Cronulla, cruise the shops along the Cronulla Street pedestrian mall as well as nearby Surf Road, where you can drop into Roar for statement pieces and bespoke accessories from a collection of Australian and international designers. Fair trade and sustainable homewares are a highlight at Ur Place, while at In Between Tangerine you can pick up beach-to-bar sundresses and jumpsuits.  

This southern beachside region is also peppered with bustling weekend foodie markets where you can pick up fresh, local produce, homemade jams and specialty breads. The Shire Farmers Market is held every Saturday in Sutherland, near the northern entrance to the Royal National Park, while over at the Bundeena Saltwater Markets, held on the first Sunday of every month, you’ll discover artworks, clothes and interesting pieces from local artisans. 

Where to stay 

Immerse yourself in the great outdoors and set up camp at beautiful Uloola Falls campground in the Royal National Park, where you can sleep to the sound of the waterfall hitting rocks and in the morning set off on a hike or cycle. The North Era campground, overlooking North Era Beach, is another top spot to pitch a tent and an ideal overnight stopover while hiking the Coast Track. A few houses and cottages are dotted throughout the Royal National Park, including the heritage Hilltop Cottage, with views across Port Hacking, and the riverside Weemalah Cottage and Reids Flat Cottage. 

For a family-friendly, resort-style stay, Rydges Cronulla Beachside has views of North Cronulla Beach and fresh, contemporary rooms, with an outdoor pool and complimentary use of the hotel’s bikes and beach toys. And Quest Cronulla has stylishly decked-out studios and apartments opposite North Cronulla Beach. 

Cronulla Street pedestrian mall, Cronulla CREDIT: Monde Photo

Restaurants and shops line Cronulla Street pedestrian mall.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Cronulla Street pedestrian mall, Cronulla CREDIT: Monde Photo

Restaurants and shops line Cronulla Street pedestrian mall.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Rydges Cronulla Beachside, Cronulla CREDIT: Rydges Cronulla Beachside

Looking out over North Cronulla, Elouera and Wanda beaches from Rydges Cronulla Beachside in Cronulla.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Rydges Cronulla Beachside, Cronulla CREDIT: Rydges Cronulla Beachside

Looking out over North Cronulla, Elouera and Wanda beaches from Rydges Cronulla Beachside in Cronulla.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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