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Callala Bay: Peace and Quiet on the South Coast

New South Wales’ South Coast is known for its wild beauty, turquoise waters and long stretches of white sand. Callala Bay is no exception to the South Coast rule, but the small town on the northern shore of Jervis Bay has the added benefit of being far removed from the crowds, representing a hidden treasure for holidaymakers seeking a restful environment where they aren’t likely to see more than a car or two drive by their rental per hour. Spend your days lounging on the beach, from which you might even spot some dolphins frolicking in the waters near shore. Alternately, go for a hike in one of the national parks that hugs the coast. While Callala Bay might seem somewhat isolated, you are only a short drive from the larger South Coast towns of Nowra and Culburra Beach.

Callala Bay and the South Coast’s Beaches

Callala Beach is ideal for families with small children, fronted by sheltered waters which provide a safe, waveless swimming environment. The beach goes on for 5 kilometres and is lined by native vegetation. You can walk along the sand from the rock platforms on the northern side of the beach to Currambene Creek and Huskisson on the southern end. If your furry friend is holidaying with you, not to worry: Callala Beach is dog-friendly. Aside from swimming, popular beachside activities include snorkelling in the clear water, fishing off the sand or in the bay’s waters and, of course, spotting dolphins. If you’ve come to the South Coast to surf, you can take a short car trip to Culburra Beach or Warrain Beach.

Sports and Recreation in Callala Bay

The South Coast benefits from exceptional weather year-round, so it is no surprise that most activities take place outside. During your holiday, you can learn the ropes of a favourite local passion, sailing, as Callala Bay’s Boat Ramp is the headquarters of the Jervis Bay Sailing Club. Boat races are held throughout the year on weekends. In addition to watching the races, travellers will be able to take sailing lessons, courtesy of the Sailing Club, which welcomes beginners and children. Callala Bay also hosts a ‘boutique’ triathlon every December, which takes place primarily at Callala Beach. If you would like to work out while keeping your feet steadily on land, spend some time at Callala Bay’s tennis courts, open to everyone. The courts can be hired hourly and coaching is available should you wish to sharpen your skills.

National Parks near Callala Bay

Complementing the South Coast’s beaches are the region’s national parks, which are only a short distance from Callala Bay. As well as sprawling further inland, Jervis Bay National Park encompasses an oceanfront section. Within the national park is Lake Wollumboola, home to an elevated percentage of the planet’s black swan population and considered an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. Bring your binoculars and watch the swans in their natural habitat. Then, set off on a number of trails weaving their way through the park, leading to various surf and swim beaches.

Slightly further from Callala Bay, within Budderoo National Park, is the Minnamurra Rainforest, a subtropical rainforest which provides a glimpse into the sort of vegetation which once covered most of the region. In addition to spotting wallabies and lyrebirds who inhabit the rainforest, visitors can go on walking trails beneath the forest canopy, snap some shots of the Carrington Falls or swim beneath these cascades at Nellies Glen. You’ll find a large picnic area a short way from the falls, where you can refuel after a morning of exploring.

Beyond the Coastline: Inland Day Trips

While many travellers come to the South Coast for the beaches and waterfront action, the hinterland isn’t to be overlooked, as its fertile soil is conducive to fresh produce, leading to the development of a foodie culture. Inland towns, such as Berry, have gleaned a reputation for their fresh food and delicious wines, which you can sample at many restaurants throughout the community. A day trip to Berry from Callala Bay is extremely feasible, as the towns are only 40km apart. If you’d like to pick up your own produce and homemade treats, make sure to schedule a visit on the first Sunday of the month, when Berry’s outdoor market takes place. Alternately, participate in a South Coast food and wine tour leaving from Berry. A guide will bring you to the surrounding towns and introduce you to the area’s finest restaurants and wineries. If you happen to visit the South Coast in February, you can watch the Berry Agricultural and Horticultural Show unfold. The show celebrates the importance of farming for the community through rodeos, woodchopping competitions and activities for the whole family.

Getting to Callala Bay

A 3.5 hour drive from Sydney, Callala Bay is a popular getaway option for holidaymakers from the New South Wales capital. While the larger towns of Jervis Bay are better connected to the state’s public transport network, getting to Callala Bay without a car can be challenging and time-consuming. Leaving from Sydney, you can take a train to Nowra via Kiama, before switching to a bus which will drop you off at the heart of Callala Bay. The bus is infrequent, however, so make sure to check the schedule in advance.