South of Sydney, beyond Botany Bay and the industrial hinterland of Wollongong, the South Coast of New South Wales is a rugged paradise of big bays, spectacular geology, and long, empty beaches. Dark rivers of tannin-stained water curl down from the inland forests where the big trees are still kings. The rich waters of Jervis Bay and the Tasman Sea are crammed with oceanic wildlife, and all along the South Coast you can go whale watching, swim with dolphins, and commune with seals and pelagic birds. But there’s more to this part of Australia than just wilderness.
Many of the region’s 5-star hotels are to be found in the South Coast’s main towns, such as Mollymook, Hyams Beach, Bateman’s Bay and Merimbula. But travellers in this wild region will also discover luxury hotels, eco-retreats and glamorous day spas in the most unlikely of places: hidden away in quiet forests, beside reflective lagoons, or on breath-taking headlands. Mixed in with these superb places to stay are some of Australia’s finest epicurean experiences. Local seafood and the freshest of local produce grace the menus of the South Coast’s world-class restaurants. You might even chance upon a Rick Stein eatery!
Unit 12, 33 Shoalhaven Street, 2533 Kiama, Australia
Rating: 9.4 Superb
The Belle Vue Penthouse at Black Beach is one of the most unique accommodation options around Kiama. This penthouse is situated 2.2km away from Boneyard Beach, 700m from Kiama Harbour, less than 1km away from Kiama Blowhole, and 13km away from the nearest airport (Illawarra Regional Airport).
The apartment boasts a gorgeous panoramic view of the ocean at Black Beach. A massive sun terrace attached to the penthouse is one of the most appealing features in the building where guests can relax. The apartment also contains a DVD player, a kitchen which is fully equipped and has a dishwasher, a living room, dining area, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a flat screen TV. This apartment is extremely modern looking warmly decorated and the sun terrace lets in a lot of natural light.
There are many restaurants and cafes immediately within the area such as Penny Whistler’s which is immediately next door to the complex, Hungry Monkey, Milk and Honey, Hanoi, and Kai Asian. The Kiama Inn Hotel and the Grand Hotel are both popular destinations for those wishing to unwind and socialise.
The complex in which this penthouse is located has many of the life amenities you would expect of a luxury five-star hotel. There is a saltwater pool, beach towels given out free of charge, a spa and wellness centre, a sauna, sun loungers and beach chairs, lift access, a barber, air conditioning, heating, a mini bar, and free Wi-Fi in all areas of the complex free of charge.
260 Bunkers Hill Road, 2577 Barrengarry, Australia
Rating: 10 Exceptional
Amaroo Valley Springs is the perfect base for a peaceful trip away from home. Nestled in the rolling mountains surrounding the infamously stunning Kangaroo Valley, near Barrengarry, this villa is sure to impress guests with its world class views of the valley, and its excellent facilities.
The villa itself contains two bedrooms, and the whole place is fully air conditioned. From the villa there is direct access to a terrace where guests can admire the beauty of the valley around them, a gas fired barbecue where guests can cook (possibly using some local produce from the valley and its surrounds), and a fully equipped kitchen.
There are a lot of restaurants within the general South Coast area, along the main strip of Kangaroo Valley. Valley’s Curry House, Kangaroo Valley Bakehouse, and the Kangaroo Valley General Store (the store is also a cafe) all come with a highly regarded reputation. The Friendly Inn Hotel is a good place to unwind with a drink and some food.
The owners of these luxury cabins make sure to provide a unique and relaxing experience for their guests. They provide towels, linen, robes, slippers, fresh eggs, bread, jam, honey, and milk along with soft king-sized beds and under floor shower heating.
3/5-7 Golf Avenue, 2539 Mollymook, Australia
Rating: 9.0 Superb
Located at an enviable position directly across from gorgeous Mollymook Beach and Golf Course, this apartment is the perfect oasis to wind down at. 2.5 kilometres away from Ulladulla where more shops and restaurants are to be found, and a leisurely stroll away from Mollymook’s selection of cafes and shops, this apartment provides a great deal of comfort and centrality.
This three bedroom apartment features a large deck exposed to the sun’s warming rays, a spacious living area, lots of windows allowing for natural light, a neutral and modern colour scheme, and an overall homely feel. A barbecue area and fully equipped kitchen will allow guests to cook with all the local produce available in the area.
When guests wish to take a break from using the robust kitchen equipment, there is an abundance of cafes nearby. Mollymook Golf Club is right across the road from the apartment, Mollymook Beach Hut Café is a 3 minute walk away, along with Breaker’s café. Cupitt’s Winery is less than ten minutes’ drive away and is highly rated within the area.
This property is extremely well maintained by its owners and the level of care provided to guests is well appreciated. Guests have access to linen and towels at no additional cost, child equipment such as highchairs or portacots if necessary, free Wi-Fi, free undercover security parking, and a dedicated cleaner.
191 Mitchell Parade, 2539 Mollymook, Australia
Rating: 8.8 Fabulous
Sitting proudly atop a sweep of headland at Bannister’s Point, Bannisters by the Sea shines as an example of a modern, luxurious hotel sitting right on the beachfront. Merging luxury and convenience perfectly, Bannisters is only a 10 minute drive away from Ulladulla Wharf, another popular tourist spot, as well as 3 hours away from Sydney and 2 hours from Canberra.
Staying at Bannisters affords you an enormous wealth of options when it comes to rooms. There are deluxe rooms, suites, and penthouses, many of which have sprawling ocean views, separate living areas, and private balconies. The colour palette is fresh with a lot of neutrals, blues and greens integrated within the rooms. For a true five star experience, the Colette Dinnigan and Cameron Kimber penthouses are available, which feature panoramic water views and gas fireplaces.
Furthermore, there is no shortage of fine eateries near Bannisters. The Bannisters Pool Bar is open daily, which serves light snacks. Award winning chef, Rick Stein, opened Rick Stein’s Restaurant within the premises of Bannisters, where they serve primarily seafood from local sources, along with a range of desserts and breakfast. Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar and Grill is also a short walk away.
Facilities at Bannisters are one of a kind, between its solar heated pool and beachfront location, it has all the amenities you could need including air conditioning, snack bar, a day spa, daily housekeeping services, a concierge service, heating, and room service.
Market Street, 2548 Merimbula, Australia
Rating: 8.6 Fabulous
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, the Albacore Apartments in Merimbula offer the kind of timeless, laidback, yet luxury hotel experience that is sure to impress even the most hardened traveller. Situated directly across from the Merimbula Lake, and 5 minutes walking distance from shops and restaurants, this oasis on the lake is sure to impress not only with its proximity to points of interest, but with its included amenities. 20 fully self-contained, generously sized apartments make up the Albacore building.
Most of these apartments contain two bedrooms, although some contain one bedroom, all of which feature an open plan living room, a well-equipped kitchen, a large balcony, and best of all, expansive views over Lake Merimbula. If you happen to be looking for some excellent eateries nearby, look no further than Duci’s Italian, Valentina Merimbula, Grapevine Pizza or The Waterfront Café. All of these restaurants are a five minute leisurely stroll along the lake from the Albacore Apartments. Be sure to try the highly recommended homemade pizza from Duci’s!
The hotel itself boasts numerous features that you’d expect of a luxurious lakeside oasis. You can enjoy barbecue facilities, a heated salt-water pool, gardens, a terrace, an airport shuttle, secured parking, a lift from parking level to all floors, and CCTV so you can be assured of your safety on your getaway. This hotel is perfect for families, people of all ages and those looking for a peaceful serene experience.
1 Norman Street, Lake Conjola NSW, 2539 Conjola, Australia
Rating: 8.8 Fabulous
Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola is a hotel and camping ground located on the banks of the serene Lake Conjola. It boasts gorgeous, expansive camping grounds and modern, clean lodges which makes it the perfect places for everything between a large family and singular person. It is surrounded by the national park and is conveniently located a mere 15 minutes’ walk away from the beachfront. The villas and apartments at Ingenia are impressive and can comfortably fit a maximum of 8 people in a villa.
The rooms are extremely modern and feature air conditioning, which is a necessity in the Australian climate, as well as fully equipped kitchens with all expected amenities such as a fridge and dishwasher. Many villas have lake-views, with private furnished balconies and large open living rooms. Of course, the fully equipped kitchens and barbeques within villas will entice you to cook at home, but if you desire a meal to be cooked for you, there are a few highly rated eateries in the area. Lake Conjola Bowling Club is a mere two streets away and serves some of the best bistro food in the area.
There is also a beautiful little café called Tilly & Mo. which serves breakfast and lunch every day until 12pm. One of the best things about the Ingenia Holidays resort are the numerous amenities and activities offered on site. There is a water park, an indoor children’s playground, a library, games room, fishing facilities, mini golf area, a tennis court with equipment, an on-site minimarket, and various pools.
11683 Princes Hwy, 2536 Batemans Bay, Australia
Rating: 7.9 Good
Find relaxation and charm when you head to the luxury hotel, Lincoln Downs Resort. Close to the beach and the chilled out town of Batemans Bay, you will find everything you love about home mixed with what you love about having time away to recharge. The tranquil lake is waiting for you on your morning walks around the stunning gardens.
Modern and spacious rooms offer comfort and luxury to all guests, from couples to families. Your morning will start right and your day will end relaxed with each room being equipped with a mini bar,tea and coffee making facilities as well as access to Netflix. Couples or best girlfriends should really indulge by booking the Lakeview Spa Suite and take advantage of the private spa and steam room.
An Australian Contemporary menu is waiting for you at Briars Restaurant. On site at the resort, it is one of Batemans Bay’s most recognised restaurants. Open for both breakfast and dinner, guests will enjoy local produce and wines without straying too far from their room.
Guests will enjoy relaxing in the outdoor heated swimming pool after exclusive use of the onsite gym. Enjoy a game of tennis or a picnic in the perfectly landscaped grounds. All rooms feature complimentary wifi and guests arriving by car will also enjoy free onsite parking.
Banyandah Street, 2536 Durras, Australia
Rating: 8.5 very Good
Located on the South Coast of New South Wales is Murramarang Beachfront Holiday Resort. The resort hosts luxury villas overlooking Beagle Bay and surrounded by breathtaking nature. With beachfront views meeting the Murramarang National Park, everything you need from the city is only 15 minutes away in Batemans Bay.
There are a variety of villas catering from 2 guests up to 7 guests, so you will find the perfect one for your weekend getaway or longer vacation. Couples will enjoy the romantic ocean view villa with king bed and spa, while families will love the option of the practical Forest Villa. All villas feature kitchens, outdoor dining areas for balmy nights, and Foxtel inside for cosying up.
There is no need to leave the resort when it comes to dinner time. Not only can you relax and prepare your own meals on site, but the resort hosts the Beach Bistro for casual yet delicious meals as well as a takeaway option and poolside cocktails.
With so many onsite facilities close to your luxury villa, you will not be stuck for something to do. Relax in the sun by the resort swimming pool or plan a special night in with DVDs and board games, with a local glass of wine.
31 Shoalhaven Street, 2533 Kiama, Australia
Rating: 8.0 Very Good
Boasting stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Kiama Harbour is The Sebel Harbourside Kiama. The luxury hotel apartments are close to great walking trails, historic shops and access to some of Australia’s great wine and produce at local markets. It is also close to the Kiama Blowhole and the Kiama Coastal Walk.
Studio rooms are available for solo travellers and deluxe rooms offer sweeping views of the Kiama Harbour. Families can choose from one or two bedroom apartments depending on your group size. With several room options featuring kitchen facilities you will be able to find the right place to call your home away from home while exploring this amazing region.
Not only does the accommodation offer a gorgeous dedicated breakfast room, the restaurant Yves Bar Bistro is also on site and open for cocktails and dinner 7 days a week. It is also a great location to head out on day trips to heck out some of Australia’s best wineries and enjoy wine tasting by appointment.
This accommodation is the place to stay while in the South Coast of NSW for its seaside views and perfect location. Guests can take advantage of the onsite gym and all rooms feature complimentary wifi.
Voted by many of leading travel brands as having the whitest sand of any beach in the world, Hyams Beach is a detestination that you simply must not miss when visiting the South Coast of NSW. To get there will take you 2 hours and 45 minutes (190Km) by car. Once you get there you can enjoy the enjoy the crystal clear waters of Jevis Bay which this stunning beach is part of. Hyams Beach also has many great local cafes that you should definitely try after a long hot day at the beach. Cooked Goose On Hyams is a solid choice, which serves up excellent quality snacks for breakfast and lunch, as well a decent Flat White coffee.
An experience like no other is swimming and snorkeling with seals from Montague Island. The island is near Narooma and is home to a colony of fur seals, amazing birdlife and thousands of penguins. The small island is best seen on a guided tour. This is often paired with designated snorkeling tours, where you get up close and personal with the seals in the water. For those who choose to stay in the island or don’t like getting their feet wet, make sure you enjoy the breathtaking views of ocean while penguin spotting. You can do this as you walk the entire island, which is only 1.5 kilometres.
Known as one of Australia’s most scenic walks is the Kiama coast walk. Completing the entire walk is a 20 kilometre stretch, but the walk can be broken down into three sections. With ocean views the whole way, you will also see magnificent rock formations, and stunning beaches. Before you visit, you can download a map to your Google Maps which will guide you to the best lookouts. Depending on the section you walk, will depend on how your day turns out. Maybe you like more challenging hikes, or you wish to jump in the water for a dip. There is even a bowl club who serve lunch and offer you a lift back to the town of Kiama (minimum spend and reservation required).
In some circles, visiting South Coast NSW, is known as the Oyster trail as there is no shortage of this fine produce and places where you can shuck your own oysters – and eat them too! While some visitors may want the hard work done for them, while they sip on champagne, shucking your own oysters is an experience in itself. Why not head out on a kayak tour from Batemans Bay, where you can see oysters growing, meet the farmers, and sample some while floating on the water. Or visit Jim’s Wild Oysters, a champion shucker, for fresh oysters and prawns.
Between the months of May and November, up and down the south coast of New South Wales is known as the humpback highway. As the magnificent creatures migrate to the warmer waters, they “rest” in Jervis Bay, where they frolic with the likes of dolphins and sea turtles. While there are many land-based lookouts, where you can admire these creatures from (don’t forget to pack the binoculars), consider boarding a dolphin and whale watching cruise from Jervis Bay. There are many to choose from and all come with an expert guide to speak about the area.
While the entire region of South Coast New South Wales is an exhibition of local produce, Shoalhaven is the place to go to sample it all. The location of this area makes it perfect to showcase some of Australia’s finest seafood, dairy and vegetables, and the community prides itself in using local produce within their dining establishments. The farm to table motto is shown in boutique eateries and fine dining as well as the local farmers markets in the region, where visitors can purchase goods to whip up their own culinary delights. For some rustic country charm, be sure to check out the township of Mogo which is just south of Batemans Bay.
What is more perfect than a winery close to the beach. Only 1 kilometre from Shoalhaven Heads is the sustainable winery of Mountain Ridge Wines. On location is a cellar door, where you can try the wines that are made on premises, and Mountain Ridge restaurant, which uses local produce in their ever changing menu.
While you are in the Shoalhaven region, you must visit Mollymook. Known for its great surf breaks, picturesque ocean views and boutique stores, Mollymook is the place to add to your luxury bucket list. Seaside seafood dining is a must here, especially at exquisite eateries such as the famous restaurant, Bannisters by Rick Stein.