Take the Pacific Highway south from Sydney and when you reach the Illawarra district, you have begun your exploration of South Coast NSW. There seems to be a magical border crossing there. The climate becomes a little cooler and the scenery a little greener. There are longer stretches of road between towns and each of the areas you visit has its own unique atmosphere. Many south coast attractions are on the coast, but others, sometimes overlooked by travelers on the Pacific Highway are inland gems you just don’t want to miss.
Kiama is likely to be your first stop on the South Coast. This delightful seaside town is the perfect place to call your base of operations. Not only does Kiama have many wonderful attractions in its own right, its central location means that you can easily reach many other popular destinations without spending half your day driving.
From Kiama, a short drive inland will take you to Berry. Berry is a rural village steeped in heritage and charm. It will enchant you even before you arrive in the city center as you pass through the rolling hills of the surrounding dairy lands. Don’t expect a sprawling metropolis in Berry. The total population of the city is around 2000, but the town center is accustomed to catering to the needs of visitors and you’ll love all the restored buildings and wonderful shops.
A little further inland and you come to Kangaroo Valley. Like Berry, it is a small town, but it has a unique character all its own. Many people say Kangaroo Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. As you cross the historic Hampden Bridge, you will likely agree and when you look down on Kangaroo Valley from a distance, your thoughts will echo the words of explorer George Evans, who described the valley as something “no painter could beautify” any further.
Just twenty minutes drive back towards the coast and you arrive in Nowra, the regional center of the south coast and its largest town. Situated on the Shoalhaven River, Nowra has an abundance of natural attractions. For a fascinating look at Nowra through an artist’s eyes, visit Bundanon, the rural property Australia’s great artist, Arthur Boyd bequeathed to the state as an artist’s retreat. It is only open to the public on the first Sunday of each month, but is well worth planning a south coast holiday around.
Whenever you happen to be in Nowra, you can take a Shoalhaven River cruise. As you make your way slowly up the river, the scenery will always be changing. One minute you will overlook a long, flat landscape and the next you will be passing by sheer sandstone cliffs.
You can return to Kiama or choose to Nowra for your South Coast NSW accommodation. For that matter, you might be intrigued by one of the other famous landmarks south of Nowra. Mollymook and Bateman’s Bay are just a couple of the coastal towns that will enchant you before the south coast turns into the Sapphire Coast and you continue on the Pacific Hwy south as far as you like. Be careful, though: you may become so enchanted by the south coast you will decide never to leave.
There is a diverse range of South Coast holiday rentals available to cater to all types of accommodation needs. You will find hotel and motels suitable for couples for a short stay, or a range of holiday houses for families or large groups wanting to get away for a summer vacation.