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?
- 1- The Oysters Are Amazing
- 2- You’ll Love Dining at the Water’s Edge
- 3- Taste Milk, Cheese and Anything Creamy
- 4- The Scenic Drives and Walks are Fantastic
- 5- Explore Historic Villages
- 6- Discover nature at your feet
- 7- Surf, sun and sand
- South Coast NSW Accommodation
- Why visit the NSW South Coast?
NSW South Coast
Why visit the NSW South Coast?
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Bookings.com also has a good range of accommodation on the NSW south coast.