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Recharge on the NSW South Coast

Sea Cliff Bridge, CliftonCREDIT: Destination NSW

The scenic coastal drive along Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Recharge on the
NSW South Coast

Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton CREDIT: Destination NSW

The scenic coastal drive along Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

The drive south from Sydney to Jervis Bay is only three hours, but this stretch of coastline — one of the most dramatic in Australia — has so many attractions that you’ll want to take your time. Feel revitalised as you explore the lush national parks, golden beaches, laid back seaside hamlets and heritage-listed towns along the New South Wales South Coast, then visit the charming Southern Highlands region on the way back home. 

Highlights: 

  • Scenic views along the 140km Grand Pacific Drive, including the Sea Cliff Bridge 
  • Whale watching in Jervis Bay Marine Park 
  • Wining and dining in the Georgian town of Berrima  

South from Sydney 

Beaches, rainforest, waterfalls, ocean pools, sheer cliffs — this remarkable backdrop is just an hour south of Sydney. The Royal National Park, the oldest of its kind in Australia, is 15,000 hectares of nature at its finest. You can drive through on the highway, or turn off and enter the park (there’s a vehicle entry fee) and pause to stretch your legs on the 4.4km Forest Path, a soul-reviving riverside bushwalk past cabbage-tree palms and Gymea lilies. Bring a packed lunch to enjoy in one of the many picnic spots en route.  

Back on the road, take a photo or two from Bald Hill Lookout, which offers expansive views over the Illawarra coastline and a legendary launching spot for hang-gliders and paragliders. You’re now on the 140km Grand Pacific Drive, one of Australia’s most scenic coastal routes, thanks to highlights such as the Sea Cliff Bridge, snaking out over the Pacific Ocean for 655m.  

In Kiama 

From here, it’s an hour’s drive south to the seaside town of Kiama, known for its blowhole, which boasts 30m water spouts. You’ll feel the spray from lookouts around Blowhole Point or the photogenic 1887 Kiama Lighthouse. The lighthouse is set beside the heritage-listed Pilot’s Cottage Museum and offers a glimpse into the fascinating maritime history of the Kiama region.  

If you’re still feeling energetic, lace up your shoes to tackle the breathtaking Kiama Coast Walk. The full trail is 22km, but it’s split into three manageable sections taking you along the windswept Bombo Headlands, past shimmering bays and beaches backdropped by volcanic rock formations, around both of Kiama’s blowholes (little and big) and to Werri Beach in the seaside town of Gerringong. 

Wander back into town to explore Kiama’s Historic Terrace Houses, built in 1886 for local quarry workers and now filled with cafés, restaurants and boutiques. When it’s time to rest your head, pitch a tent or rent a cabin right by the sand at Kendalls on the Beach Holiday Park.  

Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sunrise at Curracurrong Falls and Eagle Rock in the Royal National Park, Sydney.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sunrise at Curracurrong Falls and Eagle Rock in the Royal National Park, Sydney.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Kendalls Beach, Kiama CREDIT: Mark Fitzpatrick; Destination NSW

Beautiful Kendalls Beach in Kiama.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Kendalls Beach, Kiama CREDIT: Mark Fitzpatrick; Destination NSW

Beautiful Kendalls Beach in Kiama.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Kiama to Jervis Bay 

Your 80km drive south to Jervis Bay takes you to a haven of powdery sand coves, sapphire seas and resident dolphins in the 215-square-kilometre Jervis Bay Marine Park. This watery wonderland is also home to seals, penguins and migrating whales (May to November). Take in the spectacle with Dive Jervis Bay, offering scuba and snorkelling expeditions to more than 60 locations. Meanwhile, Jervis Bay Wild and Dolphin Watch Cruises Jervis Bay get you close to marine life while you stay dry. Most wildlife cruises depart from Huskisson.  

Discover some of the most dazzlingly white beaches in the world on the White Sands Walk, a 90-minute loop linking Vincentia and Greenfield Beach. Or wander the trails through Booderee National Park, covering the southern curve of Jervis Bay, its expanse uniting powdery sand beaches and jagged cliffs. Along trails, spot some of the 460 native plants that characterise the landscape, many of them important sources of food and medicine to the Aboriginal community. On Booderee’s south coast, Cave Beach is particularly popular among surfers, who come for the waves, then linger for the chance of glimpsing dolphins and fur seals in the water and echidnas on land. 

There are plenty of holiday homes to rent in the area, not to mention beachside campgrounds where you’ll be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves. For a luxurious stay, Paperbark Camp offers gorgeous safari-style tents among a forest of eucalyptus and paperbarks; the fine-dining restaurant here serves a three-course set menu by candlelight.  

Jervis Bay to Sydney via Berrima 

As wonderful as the coastal route is, your inland journey home through the Southern Highlands is just as memorable. It’s a two-hour drive northwest to Berrima, Australia’s best-preserved Georgian town. Today, the historic sandstone buildings here are home to antiques stores and cafes, not to mention the Surveyor General Inn (the country’s oldest continuously licensed pub) and Berrima Vault House, a boutique hotel, members’ club and lifestyle store in a historic building hand-made by convicts in 1844. (Note: Berrima Vault House opens in May 2021.) 

Just around the corner is another establishment to sample the region’s food and wine, with PepperGreen Estate offering flights of the cool-climate vintages it makes here (this is the closest wine region to Sydney). More wine awaits on the outskirts of town at Bendooley Estate, its grand Georgian homestead and stables enveloped by manicured gardens and vines. It’s certainly one of the prettiest places in the highlands to enjoy a glass of chardonnay or shiraz. Move from the cellar door into the estate’s Berkelouw Bookstore, which specialises in rare tomes, then the restaurant for a farm-to-table meal.  

If you’re in town on a Sunday, you might alternatively consider lunch at The Loch: once a week, this working farm showcases the bounty of produce grown and raised here via a hearty meal. The menu changes fortnightly, to reflect what’s in season, and you can tour the gardens to learn where your meal comes from. You can also visit on other days and stock up on fruit, vegetables and flowers to take home.  

From here, it’s another 90-minute drive northeast back to Sydney. 

Dive Jervis Bay, Jervis Bay CREDIT: Jordan Robins

Humpback whale spotted breaching the waters in Jervis Bay during a swimming with whales tour with Dive Jervis Bay.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Dive Jervis Bay, Jervis Bay CREDIT: Jordan Robins

Humpback whale spotted breaching the waters in Jervis Bay during a swimming with whales tour with Dive Jervis Bay.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Bendooley Estate, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

Autumn at Bendooley Estate, Berrima.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Bendooley Estate, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

Autumn at Bendooley Estate, Berrima.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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