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The South Coast: Natural Beauty On and Off Shore

Endless beaches, lush subtropical rainforests and crystal clear waters: these are only some of the reasons travellers escape to the South Coast. The Coast begins south of Sydney and stretches all the way to the border with Victoria. Hinterland villages are known for their thriving foodie culture, whereas coastal towns harbour scenic lookouts, dramatic clifftop walks and iconic blowholes. In between, national parks are testimonies to the South Coast’s aboriginal and natural heritage. Holiday homes along the South Coast abound, from majestic villas overlooking the beach of your choice to cosy cottages a few steps from family-run vineyards. 

South Coast Beaches: Swim, Surf or Snorkel

The South Coast’s white and golden sandy beaches are widely considered some of the most beautiful in the world. Surfers generally elect to spend their days at Thirroul Beach. Head to the northern end for the best breaks. Thirroul Beach also features a saltwater pool so that children can swim safely.

To see some of the planet’s whitest sand, go to Hyams Beach. This spot also offers some of Australia’s best snorkelling opportunities, second only to the Great Barrier Reef’s. For golden sand, scenic lookouts and a lush backdrop, bring the whole family to Seven Mile Beach. Have a picnic in the shade as you take in uninterrupted ocean views. Just beyond the waterfront, the Sand Track leads you through the bush and forests lining this part of the coast. The 2.5 km trail  is suitable for all fitness levels. 

Waterfront Hiking: the Kiama Coast Walk

For prime ocean views without getting your feet in the sand, go for a hike along the Kiama Coast Walk. This 22 km waterfront trail will take you past some of the South Coast’s most popular sights, including headlands, beaches, rivers, forests and blowholes. The path is divided into three main sections.

Minnamurra to Blowhole Point: the 3-hour trek meanders past some of the area’s most beautiful beaches, the Kiama Lighthouse and Blowhole. Stop for a break as you watch water jet 20 metres high out of a natural rock cluster. At Blowhole Point, you’ll be able to to take in panoramic ocean views, and maybe spot a whale or two.

Blowhole Point to Kiama Heights: this part of the path takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete. The trail weaves through leafy waterfront parks, past headlands and alongside lesser-known beaches. Halfway along the path, stop for a break at the Little Blowhole.

Kiama Heights to Gerringong: The final 2.5-hour section of the Kiama Coast Walk is set along clifftops, affording uninterrupted views of the coastline. At each kilometre, there are signs outlining the area’s natural history and human heritage.

Exploring the South Coast’s National Parks

Jervis Bay and the Booderee National Park is known for its beaches off the beaten track and vast network of trails. Bring your surfboard to Cave Beach or swim in the calmer waters at Green Patch Beach. For scenic views, head to Cape St George Lighthouse - a popular location for whale watching. The park is the Koori People’s traditional land and visitors can learn all about Koori heritage during their visit.

Budderoo National Park features numerous waterfalls and lookout points. Most visited are the Carrington Falls. This cascade is over 130 metres tall. Several lookouts, only a few minutes’ walk from the main parking and picnic area, offer prime views of the falls. On hot days, cool off in the natural pool beneath the falls, Nellies Glen.

The South Coast for Foodies

While many visitors stick close to the waterfront, there is much to discover in the South Coast’s hinterland. If you enjoy fine wine and gourmet dining, you might wish to make the trip to Berry. This small town is known for its thriving foodie culture. Stop at one of the restaurants for a meal made from the freshest ingredients, accompanied by a glass of local wine.

If you are visiting the South Coast in February, you can attend the Berry Agricultural and Horticultural Show. Otherwise, make sure to encompass the first Sunday of the month in your trip, as this is when Berry’s farmers market takes place. Browse the stalls for a wide selection of produce and handcrafted goods.

Visitors can also participate in a South Coast food or wine tour. Most tours begin in Berry. Your guide will drive you to various South Coast towns to sample local delicacies or wine as you learn more about the region.

Getting to the South Coast

Drive to the South Coast from Sydney and enjoy the view. Otherwise, hop on a plane to one of the coast’s regional airports. There are usually direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney. If you don’t have access to a car, public busses and trains will get you to the South Coast’s main towns.