New South Wales has a coastline that has many varying facets to it. Holiday makers often have their favourite and won’t often budge from that family holiday destination, whether it be ‘up north’ or ‘down south’.
Each to their own I guess.
Still it would be remiss of me not to let you in on a remarkable pocket of goodness that sits just south of the city of Wollongong on the south coast of New South Wales. I am talking about Shoalhaven.
Now I speak from experience here and I will tell you no lies.There are so many terrific opportunities to engage in a brilliant holiday down this way that maybe you will decide to make an exception when that family vacation comes up next time around.
Taking up an area of 1,763 square miles in the old school measurements, the Shoalhaven begins just outside of Kiama and heads south to just inside South Durras. Heading west it spreads its charm through Kangaroo Valley as far as Bungonia, and just inside of Braidwood, and includes the remarkable Budawang National Park, with its rugged steep slopes and deep chiselled valleys.
In this article I hope you get a feel for Shoalhaven and be inspired to make a visit yourselves! It really is special.
During my mid-week visit I managed to experience a little of what this delightful part of the state has to offer, including a visit to a winery that has many cards in its deck.
Cupitt’s Winery (www.cupitt.com.au) is no longer just that. Sitting a short distance directly west from Ulladulla Harbour Cupitt’s is a family owned and operated venture that has aged and matured as charismatically as a fine wine would. They are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year.
Rosie Cupitt, who I will call the matriarch (and hope she doesn’t take offence) has, with the assistance of the whole clan created a venue and experience that will have you singing its praises highly.
I really have no doubt in saying that. Cupitt’s is now not only a winery that producers some top-class tipple, it has its own micro-brewery and Fromagerie onsite.
These offerings, added to the already established brilliant food available and the delightful outlook over Stony Creek and Burrill Lake out to the distant ranges, make for a superb day out.
Then again, you may want to take advantage of the charming cottage available and stay a little longer, especially for a lazy Sunday session, with some live music!
The Shoalhaven area has a terrific coastline and the surrounding waterways, lakes and bays offer a range of activities. Excuse the pun, but I dove right in to as many as I could during my short stay.
First of all, if you like the idea of fishing but have not been enthused by the thought of getting your hands dirty, messing with fishing lines and slippery bait, and god forbid having to gut and clean your catch should you succeed, well stop right there and get on-board with the gang at www.ulladullafishingcharters.com.au
Laura and Dan Cockroft and their trusty deckhand Benny Somerfield will deliver you a fantastic fishing experience, not only because they have a terrific local knowledge, but because apart from actually catching the fish for you, they do everything!
They prepare the rods and bait your lines. They will de-hook your catch and they will clean and prepare the fish for you to cook. They will supply you with some light refreshments and they will certainly tell you about the ones that got away!
For $120 for a six-hour adventure, it’s something I highly recommend. We had such a superb day out with them, the sun was shining, the fish were biting and there were even a few whales popping past to say goodbye on their journey down south!
One Shoalhaven body of water that offers a multitude of exploration is the mighty Jervis Bay. I chose to venture onto the bay waters from the charming seaside village of Huskisson.
‘Huski’ is well known to tourists and has been a favourite destination for many old school family holidays for years, including mine. A super spot that has it all, for a short stopover or a longer stay.
Getting out on the surrounding waters here is easy and there are many ways to enjoy them. I grabbed a kayak from the team at www.jervisbaykayaks.com.au and took a few hours exploring the beautiful turquoise waters of Currambene Creek.
The creek can be explored for a fair distance and is easily accessible. You can get in among the mangroves when the tide is up and see all sorts of sea and bird life. Just floating around in the calm and serene atmosphere was just brilliant.
The next morning, we took advantage of the opportunity to see the bays local Dolphins put on a show for us. Dolphin Watch (www.dolphinwatch.com.au) have been operating here for years and will give you a great experience with these playful marine creatures.
The local pod stands at one hundred plus and it’s not very often that they don’t come out to play. The local knowledge that the team have also comes into play here and they seem to get on marvelously.
They also offer whale watching eco adventures. In fact, Dolphin Watch have multiple tours on the bay to choose from and I know I will return so I can experience the towering cliffs of Point Perpendicular and I would also love to head out on a twilight BBQ cruise in summer!
This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Shoalhaven goes, so pop in and explore for yourself, it is charming.
I know my friends that live down that way will be cursing me for spreading the good word about this region of New South Wales, as they love that fact they have it all, and they want to keep it that way! Sorry about that, but it’s too good not to share, just a little.
For more information head to www.visitnsw.com there is plenty there!
Scott McRae is the host of “A Taste of Travel” www.scottmcrae.com.au