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Gerringong: A Beach Town with Unsuspected History
The quiet coastal community of Gerringong has seen its fair share of Australian events unfold. Indeed, locals are proud to say that Australia’s first commercial flight took off on Seven Mile Beach. Testimonies to the South Coast of yesteryear can be found throughout town; you can even visit a schoolhouse dating back to the middle of the 19th century.
Once you’ve gotten your history fix, relax on golden beaches, swim in Gerringong’s rock pools or hike along one of the many coastal trails. Just a short drive from town, the South Coast’s national parks and reserves await.
Holiday rentals in Gerringong include spacious beach houses, family homes and cottages steps from the sea.
Child-Friendly Holidays in Gerringong
Gerringong is a popular destination for family-friendly holidays, with something for kids of all ages. For a quiet day by the water, head to Cooke Park within Boat Harbour Reserve. The park boasts an expansive playground, only steps from a quiet beach with its own boat ramp.
Within the reserve, you’ll also find a rock pool, once known as the Gerringong Ladies’ Baths, plenty of grassy areas for picnics and free electric BBQs. The park is criss-crossed with short walking trails.
To give the kids an idea of what their education would have been like in the mid-1800s, visit The Schoolhouse, built in 1862 in neighbouring Toolijooa and transferred to Gerringong in the 1950s.
The building still has its original blackboard, timber floors, student seats and backpack hooks on a minimally refurbished veranda. In addition to visiting the school, you can sample homemade cheeses and teas, or take part in cooking lessons.
Some of the South Coast’s most beautiful beaches are only moments from Gerringong’s town centre. Surfers tend to favour Werri Beach, with its point breaks on both the northern and southern ends. Werri also has a rock pool for laps and some safe ocean swimming areas. You’ll often see fishermen reeling in salmon or snapper.
Seven Mile Beach is another local option, where wind- and kitesurfers tend to practice their craft. The golden sand connects the neighboring towns of Gerroa and Shoalhaven Heads and is backed by Seven Mile Beach National Park. Wander along the beachside Sand Track and keep your eyes peeled for birds and animal species.
Gerringong and South Coast History
Travellers flock to the South Coast for its beaches and seaside ambiance, but there are numerous opportunities to discover the area’s vivacious history. In fact, as you set your towel down on Seven Mile Beach, you’ll be looking at the same view that Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith saw before his first commercial flight took off. Visitors can go to the lookout built in his honour, and take advantage of scenic views over the beach and ocean as they read about Kingsford Smith’s journey.
To find out more about the town and region’s past, spend an afternoon at the Gerringong Historical Museum. Browse through black and white photographs of significant Gerringong events, view models of heritage Gerringong buildings and scenes of daily life in decades past, and delve deeper into the story of Kingsford Smith and his historic flight.
Walking & Hiking in Gerringong
The Kiama Coast Walk begins on Werri Beach and runs for 22 km along the waterfront. Hikers will be able to view many of the area’s iconic attractions, including the Kiama Blowhole and Little Blowhole. The trail is divided into three sections, allowing travellers to walk as much or as little of it as they choose. The path winds through small coastal towns and past a number of pristine beaches.
If you don’t wish to undertake a lengthy expedition, simply opt for a stroll in one of Gerringong’s many parks or grassy areas. To leave the waterfront behind for a while, hop in the car and venture inland, where you will find Barren Grounds Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatchers, and Budderoo National Park, setting of rainforest scenery, waterfalls and towering lookouts.
Getting to Gerringong
Drive to Gerringong from Sydney in under two hours. The South Coast is easily accessible via public transport, too. Take the train from Sydney to Kiama, before switching to a local line for the rest of the journey. Conveniently, Gerringong has its own train station.