Shoalhaven, NSW: Destination Guide

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Located on New South Wales’ beautiful coastline, about 200km south of Sydney, Shoalhaven is a hub for natural wonders just waiting to be discovered.

Boasting 109 pristine beaches, spectacular natural landscapes, 14 unspoiled National Parks, an abundance of wildlife, plus fantastic fishing, boating and water sports, Shoalhaven offers a laidback outdoors retreat set against an impressive vista.

Read on to discover what makes Shoalhaven a must-visit destination, or head straight to Turu's listings to find your next Holiday Haven destination.

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Shoalhaven Heads

A quaint coastal river town on the northern boundaries of the Sholhaven, Shoalhaven Heads is home to the wonderful Seven Mile Beach, which is ideal for surfing or swimming. No trip is complete without a visit to the historic Coolangatta Estate, sitting on the northern bank of the Shoalhaven River, which offers a golf course, a restaurant and wine tasting rooms.

A trip to the historic village of Berry is also well worth your time. At only a 10 minute drive north-west of Shoalhaven Heads, Berry is well known for its many boutique and specialty shops, the Berry Sourdough Bakery and Café, as well as the some of the best pub food on the coast at the Berry Hotel. 

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Kangaroo Valley

Sitting on the Kangaroo River, Kangaroo Valley is one of the few completely enclosed valleys in the world, with a vast escarpment encircling the valley and protecting its unique climate. The drive up Cambewarra Mountain through lush rainforest reveals glimpses of ancient landscape and vegetation, and culminates in a spectacular lookout on top of the mountain. The lookout provides a sweeping view of the Shoalhaven floodplain, looking north to the Illawarra, south east to Jervis Bay and west to Morton National Park.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more adventurous, pick up a kayak and head on down the Kangaroo Valley for some beautiful scenery.

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Culburra

Get your adrenaline pumping in Culburra, with Culburra Beach a great spot for swimming and fishing, and Warrain Beach offering ample opportunities for surfing and scuba diving.

There are also two National Parks on your doorstep to explore, with Jervis Bay National Park offering forests, bays and beaches that are perfect for swimming, bushwalking, bird watching and simply relaxing.

Booderee National Park features the historic Cape St George Lighthouse, which makes for a great spot to glimpse whales, and offers the opportunity to swim amongst the fish at tranquil Green Patch Beach. Or learn about Koori culture and traditional foods through Booderee’s Aboriginal interpretive program. 

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Currarong

A mecca for beach lovers, Currarong is home to numerous secluded white sand beaches, including the sheltered Abrahams Bosom beach, and is popular for its scuba diving and snorkeling.

The town also boasts a gorgeous rock pool, and offers world class fishing, with a spot down the cliff from Point Perpendicular one of the only land based locations to catch Yellow Fin Tuna and Marlin in Australia.

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Huskisson White Sands

From May to November, Huskisson is the perfect spot from which to spy dolphins and whales, with a number of whale and dolphin watching cruises operating on Jervis Bay.

The beaches are also perfect for indulging in a little R&R, while snorkelling, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding opportunities are also available.

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Huskisson Beach

History buffs will relish a visit to the Lady Denman Maritime Museum at Huskisson, as well as at the museum at HMAS Albatross.

A short drive south will take you to the Botanic Gardens in Booderee National Park, the only Aboriginal owned botanic gardens in Australia. The gardens are home to local Koori plants and coastal flora of south-eastern Australia, and visitors are encouraged to learn about ‘bush tucker’ and the medicinal uses of plants.

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Swan Lake

Swan Lake is a wonderful destination just minutes from the secluded waters of Sussex Inlet, offering all forms of water sports, including water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing and knee boarding, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing and fishing.

Nearby Berrara offers sheltered lagoons and the beautiful Mermaid Pool, a natural swimming pool found in the rocky headland. 

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Bendalong

The village of Bendalong is surrounded by vast National Park and half a dozen beaches including Inyadda Beach, famous for its surf breaks, and Boat Harbour beach where the stingrays come in every afternoon to feed off the local fishers catch.

A short drive south of Bendalong is the historic village of Milton. The village offers a number of unique and eclectic specialty and antique shops, as well as the Milton Village markets, which are held on the first Saturday of every month. 

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Lake Conjola Entrance

Located just to the south of Lake Conjola, this coast-side town offers pristine waters that are perfect for swimming.

Fishing enthusiasts are also spoilt for choice, with the options of lakeside fishing or hiring a tinnie to tackle the middle of the lake or reach the upper section of the lake near Fisherman’s Paradise. 

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Ulladulla

With its stunning beaches and proximity to several wonderful National Parks, Ulladulla is a hidden gem of New South Wales’ southern coast line. The secluded headland beach, Lobster Jack’s Beach, is ideal for swimming or exploring rock pools at low tide, and the challenging walk to the top of nearby Pigeon House Mountain is worthwhile as much for the scenery along the way as it is for the views of Southern Shoalhaven from the peak.

Visit the Warden Head Lighthouse and try to catch a glimpse of migrating whales, or swim with the surfing kangaroos of Pebbly Beach in the Murramarang National Park. For those in the mood for a little more relaxation, experience the Shoalhaven Coast Wine Trail, starting with the famous Cupitt’s Winery. 

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Burrill Lake

Burrill Lake is a haven for avid fishermen, with its estuary providing many species including flathead, bream, blackfish, whiting and blue swimmer crabs. The local beach also offers the chance to catch Australian salmon, whiting and tailor.

Those who don’t have any luck on their own line can enjoy locally caught seafood at the fish and chip shop, which in 2012 was awarded the honour of the best in New South Wales. 

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Lake Tabourie

This lakeside town offers quality fishing opportunities, just 10 minutes south of Ulladulla there is enough happening on dry land to keep everyone entertained in this coastal town, from bushwalking through Morton National Park, wandering through the quaint Lake Tabourie museum and discovering the village’s history. For the more seasoned and adventurous, cyclists can choose one of the four MTB and cycle tracks up Pigeon House.

A trip to Crampton Island is easy at low tide, when the off shore island is accessible by foot. The winter months are also energetic at Lake Tabourie, owing to the uncrowded surf swells and the opportunities to watch the whale migration from the beach lookout.