A weekend in the Shoalhaven is the perfect way to shake off that cabin fever. Let us show you how.
The Shoalhaven is a Goldilocks destination; far enough from the city that you really feel like you’ve escaped, but close enough for a weekend away.
There’s a smorgasbord of adventure activities to tackle, but plenty of chances to treat yourself too. Gorgeous beaches and coastline from Shoalhaven Heads down to Pebbly Beach, coupled with magnificent mountains and valleys.
Hiking and Walking
From gorgeous gum covered mountains, down to the some of the whitest sand in Aus and kilometres of seemingly untouched coastline, the Shoalhaven is made for adventures.
70% of the Shoalhaven is made up of national parks and forests, which means there’s plenty of bush to explore. Unfortunately, a great deal of this bush was badly affected by this summer’s bushfires.
Although regeneration has begun, not everywhere is safe to explore just yet, so make sure you check the National Parks and Wildlife Service website for the full list of closures before heading out. Luckily there are still plenty of hikes that are safe to venture to.
For guaranteed good times, head to Currarong and take on the criss-cross of hikes around Abraham’s Bosom. From Gosangs Tunnel to the Mermaids Inlet, there’s always something beautiful to discover.
Keen to wiggle your toes into some of the whitest sand in Australia? With 16 white sand beaches in the Shoalhaven, there’s a patch of shore waiting just for you. The White Sands Walk and Scribbly Gum Track at Vincentia will take you there.
For a walk rich in Aboriginal heritage, take a stroll along the Bomaderry Creek Track. The track winds through rainforest and swamps, past caves and along clifftops.
If you want to dive deeper into the cultural heritage of the area, book a guided tour with Galamban Aboriginal Experiences or Djrirba Waagura Cultural Walks. Keen to submerge yourself in the bush for a bit longer? Big Nature Adventure offers guided multi-day hikes.
Canoeing and Kayaking
The Shoalhaven is dripping with stunning spots to launch a kayak. It’s a labyrinth of waterways – rivers, creeks, dams, bay and beaches – just waiting for you to make a splash.
The most popular waterway (and for good reason) is Jervis Bay. This enormous bay is big enough for you to find your own secret, secluded spot. It’s an aquarium of sea creatures – try spotting the local pod of dolphins and colony of fur seals. And if you’re there at the right time of year, you might even glimpse a whale waving at you.
A whale jumps in front of Point Perpendicular
For the perfect combo of mountains and river, you can’t go past Kangaroo Valley. From the Sunken Forest, to Bendeela and Tallowa Dams, there’s plenty of paddle spots around the Valley. Need to hire your own yak? Speak to the friendly folk at Kangaroo Valley Safaris.
A little further down the coast, there’s no shortage of lakes to dip your paddle into. From Lake Conjola, down to Tabourie and Burrill Lakes as well, these spots are perfect for a gentle paddle across calm waters. Find a hidden shore on the banks for your own private picnic.
Walking on Water in Ulladulla will help you out with watercraft.
Beaches and Surfing
The Shoalhaven boasts 100 beaches, each more unique and stunning than the last. There’s no shortage of great surf, whatever your level of experience. And if hanging ten isn’t for you, simply wile the day away on the sand instead.
What are our top picks?
- Cudmirrah Beach – around the Sussex Inlet area and the home of Ocean & Earth.
- Culburra Beach – this is the homeground of World Champion surfer Tyler Wright. There are plenty of waves to share here.
- Gannet Beach – there are heaps of quieter breaks around this beach at Bawley Point and it’s pet friendly too!
It’s always more fun to have the surf to yourself, so check how many people are already in the surf before you paddle out. Seek out the quieter spots, check the local conditions and respect the locals.
Diving and Snorkelling
There’s no better place to go diving in the Shoalhaven than Jervis Bay. The sheer size of the bay means there’s always something to see. Offshore reefs hide an abundance of wildlife, from Wobbegong sharks to sea dragons. And if you head down to the shore at night, you might even see the glow of bioluminescence in the shallows.
For a really big adventure, book a trip with Dive Jervis Bay. They offer opportunities to swim with the migrating humpback whales. No dive experience necessary!
Woebegone Freedive allows you to dive or snorkel with seals and Wobbegong sharks.
Further south, Dive Adventures Ulladulla will sort you out with everything you need for an unforgettable dive.
Just make sure you book ahead! These trips have strict number limits. Don’t disappoint yourself!
A seal beneath the Drum and Drumsticks
Road Trips and Camping
Who are you kidding? You can’t pack all of these activities into just one day. What you need is a long weekend to really get under the skin of the Shoalhaven and discover all its nooks and crannies. Better yet, make it a road trip!
Pack your tent and hop down the coastline, taking in the charming towns and villages as you go.
Need somewhere to pitch up?
- By the river – Coolendel and Grady’s Campgrounds can be found right by the Shoalhaven River
- Free camping – Termeil Point and Sunburnt Beach Campgrounds are just south of Ulladulla, close to beaches and lakes. If you’re planning on camping for free, why not give back to the local community in other ways? Stock up on delicious local produce and goods before you camp.
- Guaranteed facilities – Holiday Haven Tourist Park has 11 campgrounds at prime locations throughout the Shoalhaven, including Lake Conjola, Huskisson, Culburra Beach and Lake Tabourie.
Booking ahead is essential! Whether you want to stay in a national park or at a holiday park, figure out your dates early and book in advance. The Shoalhaven’s a beautiful and popular place to be, make sure you secure your adventure and accommodation ahead of time so you don’t disappoint yourself!
Oh and don’t forget to practice proper social distancing measures! The Shoalhaven wants to welcome you in a way that’s safe for everyone.
Read More: How To Explore Responsibly in Regional Towns