Reasons To Visit The NSW South Coast This Summer

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For a taste of a quintessential Australian beach holiday, where the campgrounds are filled with the aromas of freshly caught barbecued fish and the cries of “thars she blows” are commonplace during the whale watching season, the NSW south coast may hold the key to your dreams.

From the white sandy beaches and clear blue waters of Batemans Bay, Narooma, Bermagui, Tathra, Merimbula and Pambula to the tiny historic villages of Mogo, Tilba, Cobargo and Bega, this stretch of Pacific coastline has more to offer than a mere sightseeing trip.

And much of the experience is outdoors – in typical Aussie style.

One day you could be surfing close to fur seals in the wild, the next venturing on a whale-watching cruise among a host of humpbacks.

The NSW south coast has an abundance of fresh seafood and the local produce from a region renowned as dairying country.

For more things to do in NSW read:

NSW South Coast

Why visit the NSW South Coast?

nsw south coast signs
Enjoy a trip to the NSW south coast at any time of the year.

While most people venture south on a day trip from Sydney to Wollongong and Kiama, the far south coast of NSW has plenty of treasures to discover.  

If your appetite is for surf, sun and sand and much more, here are good reasons to choose a holiday along the unspoiled coastal fringe of Australia’s NSW south coast.

1- The Oysters Are Amazing

NSW south coast oysters
Oysters seem to taste better on the NSW South Coast.

With so many oyster leases lining the waterways, the NSW south coast is a haven for lovers of the sea delicacies, where to dine at prices that won’t burn a hole in the pocket.

From Batemans Bay and its famous Oyster Shed to Pambula and its Broadwater Oysters in the south, oysters are sold in abundance.

One popular outlet at the northern end of the main road bridge in Narooma has a dozen Sydney rock oysters from $16.

Now that’s food for thought for anyone on a tight budget.

2- You’ll Love Dining at the Water’s Edge

NSW SOUTH COAST Quarterdeck at Narooma
Quarterdeck Cafe in Narooma is a popular spot on the NSW south coast.

In true holiday style, where the business attire is swapped for shorts and T-shirts, dinner at sunset can be a casual alfresco affair with a view that is priceless.

Tuross Heads Boathouse

Holiday at Tuross Head – a quiet town of 2000 midway between Moruya and Narooma – and you can enjoy fish and chips from the rustic Tuross Heads Boathouse.

And, yes, it’s a BYO wine, dinner served at tables on a timber boardwalk overlooking the waters of tranquil Tuross Lake.

Quarterdeck Cafe
NSW far south coast quarterdeck cafe
There’s an excellent selection of cafes and restaurants along the NSW south coast. Pictured here is the bar at the Quarterdeck Cafe in Narooma.

Another restaurant with a water view – and equally spectacular sunsets – is Narooma’s riverside Quarterdeck Café, where the welcome from owner Chris and his staff would have you thinking you were in Hawaii.

The menu of share dishes and choice of colourful cocktails would also have you crying “aloha” until it is time to feed the local pelicans with supplied fish scraps.

3- Taste Milk, Cheese and Anything Creamy

NSW SOUTH COAST Bega Cheese Factory (3)
Sample a selection of delicious NSW south coast cheese at the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre.

Mention Bega, and it’s systematic you think of cheese.

Let’s face it, Bega cheese and other dairy products from the area can be easily sighted in any supermarket around Australia.

Bega Cheese Heritage Centre
NSW SOUTH COAST Bega Cheese Factory (1)
Colourful cow at the Bega Cheese Factory.

But if you want to sample styles not easily found elsewhere, the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre has its share.

Upstairs is a fascinating museum that soon has you stepping back in time to the pioneering days as a dairying hot spot.

Locally made souvenirs and artwork can be bought at bargain prices.

Bodalla Dairy
Break your journey along the NSW south coast at Bodalla.

Another NSW south coast town famous for its cheese is Bodalla, a 10-minute drive from Tuross Heads and popular for its Dairy Shed Cafe, the range of milkshakes and ice creams in huge demand on a summer’s day.

Of high recommendation at Bodalla Dairy is the selection of Australian bush tucker cheddar available for tasting before buying.

Among them is the Campfire (wattle seed currants and pepper), Stockwhip with pepper berries, Gumleaf Smoked and Tucker Time (native thyme and walnut).

Plan to spend some time in Bodalla while exploring the NSW south coast.

To stretch the legs, take the short hillside climb to visit the historic – and impressive – All Saints Church. 

The church which dates from the mid-1800s and was founded by English migrant Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, who pioneered the Australian dairying industry.

4- The Scenic Drives and Walks are Fantastic

NSW south coast drives
Take your pick of the numerous scenic drives along the NSW south coast.

While much of the tourist traffic flows through the forest corridors of the Princes Highway there are a few detours to take if you are after a wow factor.

Batemans Bay to Moruya Tourist Drive 7
South Coast NSW Batemans Bay
Batemans Bay is a popular holiday destination on the NSW south coast.

Of note on where to drive is the 25km long Batemans Bay to Moruya coastal scenic road – Tourist Drive 7 – which allows for a coffee break in such towns as Malua Bay and Broulee.

Dalmeny to Kianga Scenic Drive

Another scenic coastal route links the villages of Dalmeny and Kianga and a series of shoreline beaches.

To stretch the legs, take a stroll along the Mill Way Walkway, which is a 350m long timber deck suitable for wheelchairs and cyclists. 

The walk runs adjacent to the Wagonga Inlet.

Keep an eye out for the resident stingrays milling around for a feed from fishing folk.

Bermagui to Merimbula Drive
NSW SOUTH COAST Beramgui coast walk
Bermagui Coastal Walk is a good one to stretch your legs while driving the NSW south coast.

Further south is the popular 75km long Bermagui to Merimbula coastal drive and the series of unspoiled sandy beaches, picnic areas, lookouts and walking trails.

The Tathra Wharf is a historic gem of the NSW far south coast.

A magnet is the historic town of Tathra, famous for its old timber wharf which was built in the mid-1800s in response to the need for coastal shipping after the commencement of the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company. 

The first cargo vessel to call at Tathra was in 1858.

It moored offshore and the cargo was transported by a small boat from a location known as Kangarutha.

Today, you can dine inside the heritage-listed building’s café and look out over the waters for perhaps a whale sighting during the whale watching seasons. 

5- Explore Historic Villages 

A beautiful church in Bodalla on the south coast of NSW.

While the holiday emphasis is on getting as much of surf, sun and sand on a NSW far south coast holiday, there’s another side worth exploring – the region’s historic villages.

And each has a different charm.

Tilba is a charming town on the NSW south coast.

On an old section of road now bypassed by the Princes Highway traffic south of Narooma are the villages of Tilba and Central Tilba.

The latter particularly popular for its row of quaint stores, galleries and the Dromedary pub named after a nearby peak by great navigator Captain James Cook in 1770.

Many of the buildings were built in the late 1880s during the gold boom.

By the time mining ceased the dairy industry was established as the main source of income.

The Tilba ABC Cheese Factory is worth a visit to sample and buy the local produce.


Visitors to the NSW south coast can also step back in time on visits to Mogo, another gold rush settlement near Batemans Bay. 

It’s now popular for its award-winning Mogo Zoo and Original Gold Rush Colony theme park, as well as the old timber cottages with their specialty stores.

There’s little wonder the village has collected local tourism awards for its heritage and culture – it’s now in the tourism region’s Hall of Fame.

6- Discover nature at your feet

NSW SOUTH COAST Narooma Australia Rock
Australian Rock at Narooma is one of the landmarks to photograph on an NSW south coast trip.

Life can be so cushy for the fur seals along the NSW south coast.

Go for a stroll along the manmade breakwater near the famous Australian Rock (coastal rock with a naturally carved hole the shape of Australia) at the coastal holiday town of Narooma, which is one of the lesser-known natural landmarks in Australia.

Don’t be surprised to see a dozen or more of the adorable mammals sunning themselves, sheltered from the prevailing southerly winds.

NSW SOUTH COAST Nrooma seals
One of the unexpected sights on an NSW south coast road trip are fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks at Narooma.

There’s no need for an aquarium along this scenic stretch of the Australian coast.

The Tasman and the abundance of sea life that call the Pacific Ocean home can be readily spotted from the headland and from commercial fishing and sightseeing craft, especially during the whale-watching seasons when the humpbacks are on their swim between Queensland and icy waters of Antarctica.

7- Surf, sun and sand

NSW south coast beaches

The beaches on the NSW south coast are fantastic.

A prime reason for holidaying on the NSW south coast is to soak up the sun on a sandy beach while taking in the clear blue waters.

Some beaches rank highly among surfers, others are more family-friendly for their protected shorelines.

Camel Rock Beach

Beaches of note are hidden Camel Rock Beach (about 30km from Bermagui) and famous for its rock formations as well as white sands,

Malua Bay Beach

Malua Bay Beach, close to Batemans Bay, and Tuross Head for its two small main beaches on the Eurobodalla Coast.


The Sapphire Coast’s Pambula and Merimbula are synonymous for their pristine beaches, and the many holidaymakers that pitch a tent or book a holiday retreat over the summer holidays.    

South Coast NSW Accommodation

From hotels and resorts to the self-contained apartments and the ever-popular camping and caravan parks which dot the beaches and headlands, the NSW far south coast has no shortage of holiday options on where to stay.

Tip: Homeaway has such gems as a two-bedroom apartment overlooking the beach at Tuross Heads. Holiday in the off-peak season and you could holiday there for four nights for a bargain $650. also has a good range of accommodation on the NSW south coast.  

NSW South Coast

NSW South Coast

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mike smith travel writer
After more than 20 years as travel editor of the top circulating Sydney Telegraph newspapers, Mike continues to explore and write freelance articles both domestically and overseas. Mike also spent more than 10 years as a radio commentator on the popular George and Paul Show on radio 2UE, later referred to as Talking Lifestyle. As a long-time travel writer, Mike has been a valued member of the prestigious Australian Society of Travel Writers, gaining life membership after volunteering 10 years on the society’s committee, four years as president.