A leisurely road trip along the South Coast of NSW is one of Australia’s great drives with spectacular coastal scenery, wildlife and loads of adventure experiences. Crystal-clear bays and lakes, uncrowded beaches and beautiful rivers are perfect year-round for fishing, diving, canoeing and boating while the pristine bushland entices bush walkers, bird-lovers and cycling enthusiasts.
For the truly adventurous, try Hang Gliding at Stanwell Park just outside of Sydney. Local adventure tour operators can take you along for the ride of a lifetime on a tandem flight; alternatively sit back and enjoy the panoramic views from Bald Hill Lookout. (Prices range from $175-$220 weekday to weekend.) Ph: (02) 4294 4294
Bannisters guests generally fall into two categories: those who have been and those who have not. The first are a devoted lot who return on a regular basis to graze at Rick Stein’s famous table while taking in the fresh seaside air and stunning ocean views. The second simply don’t know what they’re missing. Located in the seaside town of Mollymook, many people think of Bannisters as just a motel, but following a succession of upgrades and refurbishments with no expense spared, Bannisters is way more than just a motel. It’s an oasis of cool, comfort and charm; perfect for a relaxed weekend getaway for stressed out urbanites.
Cupitt’s Winery is a small family run boutique vineyard nestled in the hills behind the town of Milton. The property features a cellar door, an award-winning restaurant called The Vineyard Kitchen, as well as some accommodation and special events like the Paddock to Plate – 100 Mile Long Table Lunch.
For glampers, check out Paperback Camp in Jervis Bay. The Gunyah restaurant is a regional favourite focusing on Australian local produce with a contemporary European twist. Nearby Hyams Beach is a must-see and the Booderee National Park offers many spectacular bushwalk trails and campsites. (Click here to read an earlier wandermelon post about it.)
Huskisson is another hidden gem of a seaside town brimming with fresh fish and colourful locals. For a front row view, book in to The Sail On In Boatshed – an adorable nautical B&B run by a local couple. This room with a view is one of the most popular in town so plan ahead as it gets booked out 6 months in advance.
Alternatively, a lovely English couple own the nearby Huskisson B&B and although it doesn’t have waterfront views, it has a delightful shabby chic vibe and is beautifully run with cosy rooms and delicious homemade breakfasts. For dinner, The Waterhouse is a great place to listen to music and eat great local food. Family run, the owners also own Supply – a café, deli, fresh produce market, catering business and overall social hub for both locals and visitors.
The Bay Breeze Motel in Bateman’s Bay is an excellent place to stop and break the journey. The motel is centrally located right on the promenade overlooking the bay and is immaculately kept and lovingly run by a local entrepreneur couple. Batemans Bay is a mecca for watersports enthusiasts and nature lovers. Just a short drive south, is the tourist village of Mogo with its art galleries and specialty shops, and the wonderful Mogo Zoo. Or head for the riverside town of Moruya, to enjoy the famous Saturday markets and a selection of unique shops, cafes and restaurants.
Further afield on the Sapphire Coast is the picturesque Mimosa Vineyard near Bermagui with a sweeping view of all the surrounding national parks. The DryStone restaurant was designed by one of Australia’s best-known architects, Daryl Jackson and opened in 2008. Drop by the cellar door for a tasting and enjoy a wood-fired pizza freshly baked on the Tuscan-style terrace while overlooking the mountains.
Around the corner is the Mudworks Pottery & Cafe. Owners Mike and Kim have been doing pottery for over 30 years and have some beautiful pieces for sale. Originally produced just for wholesale, they have gradually added a boutique gallery area and recently a café where visitors can enjoy coffee and homemade cake in a tranquil garden setting. If you’re lucky you might catch Mike and Kim creating something out of clay! Open Thursday to Monday 10.00am to 5.00pm, closed during winter. (23 Alexander Drive, Bermagui. Ph: 02 6493 4661)
For more information on what to see and do on the South Coast go to www.visitnsw.com.