The NSW south coast has everything you could ever want in a holiday.
Beaches, rainforests, swimming, surfing, snorkelling, camping, fishing, hiking, delicious local restaurants and countless locally owned boutique shopping options complete with that small-town Aussie charm.
And best of all? It’s right on the doorstep of both Canberra and Sydney.
The south coast was battered by the summer’s NSW bushfires, all but destroying the usual bustling local summertime economy. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, further keeping visitors away.
Now that people in NSW have been given the green light to travel in the state from June 1, these beautiful towns – big and small – need your help now more than ever.
And with some of the most gorgeous natural attractions in the world, why would you want to go anywhere else?
With a population of 17,500, Batemans Bay is the bustling coastal hub of the Eurobodalla Shire. Only two hours drive from Canberra and four from Sydney, picturesque Batemans Bay is a must-try holiday destination – perfect for a quick weekend getaway or a longer trip with the family.
With cool small-town charm, fresh coastal air and some of the most stunning beaches in the country – like Mckenzies Beach in Malua Bay, Denhams Beach, and the stunning Corrigans Cove – you’ll wish you never had to leave.
After the beach, head back into town for a quick game at Batemans Bay Mini Golf, cruise down the Clyde River to Nelligen or visit Birdland Animal Park in Catalina, which is home to more than 100 species of native birds and animals.
If shopping is more your scene, you can find the perfect pair of kicks at Bay Bargain Shoes, pick up a boutique outfit for mum and bub at Chilli and Willow or find the perfect beachwear at Saltwater Dream. And if finding the perfect unique statement piece of jewellery is your jam, check out Naïve in Batemans Bay’s main street where you can find hundreds of necklaces, rings and sunglasses.
To escape the hustle and bustle, head north to discover hidden gems like Depot Beach, Durras and Bawley Point, where you’ll experience the magic of the Murramarang National Park with plenty of hiking trails, beaches and even kangaroos!
Sadly, the quaint little town of Mogo was devastated by the fires, losing both homes and shops — but that hasn’t stopped locals from banding together to keep their town alive, and welcoming tourists with open arms when they’re allowed to return after COVID-19.
Only 10 minutes south and inland from Batemans Bay, Mogo is nestled in gorgeous bushland, and home to the iconic Mogo Wildlife Park, which is home to more than 250 animals, and one of the only two places in Australia where you can see the majestic white lion. It’s also home to the country’s largest collection of primates! The park is temporarily closed but hopes to reopen soon.
Visitors can learn from experienced guides, and get up close and personal with many of the zoo’s residents, including meerkat encounters, feeding the giraffes, and meeting the cheeky (and adorable) band of red pandas.
Mogo is a new-age lovers dream, with plenty of handcrafted local items, from jewellery and crystals to beautiful art. Vintage fans will want to check out the Revamp, Reuse, Upcycle, with an expansive selection of retro homewares and furniture — and owner Jackie can even help show you how to do it yourself.
The Roman Leathergoods store was one of the shops to unfortunately burn in the fires — but that hasn’t stopped the owner from setting up a pop-up shop in front of his ruins to continue to share his wares.
Sewing lovers will be enthralled with Rosemont the Patchwork Shop, which sells sewing supplies, glass and crystal wear, and displays over 200 machines from the 1860s-mid 1900s. The shop even offers a suite of workshops for those looking to learn or dust off their sewing skills.
And of course, no Mogo adventure would be complete without a trip to the Mogo Lolly Shop, which will enthral adults and kids alike with its delicious range of sweets.
With bewitching turquoise waters, alluring beaches and incredible ancient geological rock formations, the coastal town of Narooma is worth the drive — five from Sydney, and three from Canberra. But there’s also the option of catching a plane to nearby Moruya Airport, and making the remaining 42km trek south via hire car.
With bustling shops, fresh seafood and wondrous natural attractions, Narooma is a definite highlight of the south coast. It’s also the gateway to nearby Montague Island, a majestic wildlife wonderland, home to more than 90 species of birds and hundreds of fur seals.
Only 9km off the coast of Narooma, Montague Island is a must-see snorkelling spot, where you can visit the underwater kelp forests, frolic with dolphins and swim with the seals. The island is also a popular support for game fishing and whale watching cruises, but if you’d prefer to stay on land, you can admire the serene scenery with 360-degree views from the top of the Montague Island Lighthouse. If you’re not ready to say goodbye to Montague, you can also have the option of staying at one of the island’s lighthouse keeper’s cottages!
But that’s not all Narooma has to offer. Visit the sparkling waters at the Wagonga Inlet where you can see the ancient Glasshouse Rocks, which according to the Geological Society of Australia, may be much as 510 million years old!
And of course, no trip to Narooma is complete without a picture of iconic Australia Rock.
Only 20-minutes south of Batemans Bay, the tiny town of Broulee is the perfect combination of dazzling beaches and breathtaking bush.
Broulee boasts some of Australia’s most spectacular beaches — like Broulee North, Broulee South and even the enchanting Shark Bay. With its crystal-clear waters, the town is a haven for beach-lovers looking for a relaxing getaway, perfect for swimming, snorkelling, surfing and fishing.
Often overlooked, the 4km walk around the Broulee Island Nature reserve is one of the top things you’ll want to do when you visit. Time flies on this enchanting walk across rock pools and sandy beaches — perfect for calming the mind and body.
You can also enjoy a picnic with the kids at Candlagan Creek before heading up to nearby Mossy Point, with the famous Mossy Café, where you can get some of the coast’s best coffee, tasty muffins and savory options the whole family can enjoy.
Mesmerising hillsides, alluring beaches, small-town country charm and the sparkling Moruya River — what more could you want?
It’s everything you’d want from a country town: friendly locals, delicious foods, and enchanting natural wonderlands to explore.
Situated alongside the breathtaking Deua National Park, Moruya is a quick 30-minute trip south from Batemans Bay. You can also fly directly to the nearby to Moruya Airport, just outside of the town’s CBD.
When they reopen after COVID-19 restrictions, adrenaline junkies can get their fix with Skydive Oz — or, if you like things just a little bit calmer and still want to explore the stunning views, you can take a trip with South Coast Seaplanes or Merit Aviation. Or if revving engines are more your scene, make sure to check out the Moruya Speedway, or nearby GTS dirt carts for a wild ride you won’t forget.
Main and Shelley Beach are a must-visit for families and beach-lovers; the perfect location for a family picnic to soak up the sun. And if you’re after a cultural experience, the Bingi Dreaming track just south of Moruya is one of the most significant cultural walks in the Eurobodalla. The 13.5km hike follows the ancient songline of the Yuin Aboriginal People, where you’ll be greeted by the area’s friendly wildlife, including kangaroos, native birds and wallabies.
While parts of Moruya were decimated by the recent fires, many of the town’s natural resources are still open, with businesses welcoming tourists with open arms — like the Wild Rose Florist, which sells gifts, jewellery, artisanal chocolate, ceramic keep cups and homemade candies.
With a population of just under 800, the sleepy countryside town of Cobargo is definitely worth the 5-and-a-half drive from Sydney (three from Canberra). With beautiful rolling hills, the charming heritage village features colonial and early 20th century buildings with friendly locals, ready to help you feel at home.
Unfortunately, almost half of Cobargo’s main street was decimated in the NSW bushfires and have gone quiet during virus lockdowns. But surviving businesses need your support.
Check out the popular Lazy Lizard Gallery, where you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee, and browse a range of quality quirky pieces, including artworks, sculptures, watercolours, photographs, jewellery, wood-fired ceramics and woodwork. If vintage clothing peaks your interest, you’ll also want to make sure you visit Little Birdie Vintage, which specialises in vintage clothing from 40s through to the 80s, and provides a range of collectable mid-century homewares, and salvaged cane and timber furniture.
The town also hosts the iconic Cobargo Folk Festival, bringing in folk fans from all over Australia to appreciate relaxed music, unique shopping and good vibes — and here’s hoping the festival will be back, bigger and better than ever, in 2021.