Whether fresh seafood, beach picnics, fine-dining restaurants or wineries, the Jervis Bay region on the South Coast of NSW is a must-visit for foodies.
Top regional restaurants
English celebrity chef Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant sits inside boutique hotel Bannisters by the Sea in Mollymook. The food is simply prepared, but of the highest quality – think Goan-style mussels from Jervis Bay, grilled scallops from Shark Bay – and is perhaps only outshone by sweeping ocean views from the breezy, light-filled dining room.
Bangalay Luxury Villas in Shoalhaven Heads has an applauded restaurant known for its use of native Australian ingredients, including lemon myrtle and bunya nut. Try the multicourse tasting menu, packed with delicious bites like South Coast oysters with fingerlime, Aquana Murray cod with wattle seed oil, and pork neck with elderflower. If you can’t tear yourself away, check in to one of the self-contained villas.
Check in to Paperbark Camp to sleep in elevated safari-style glamping tents, set amid eucalypts and replete with wraparound decks, hardwood flooring, tubs overlooking the native forest and private ensuites. Your meals are served at the retreat’s applauded The Gunyah restaurant, where dishes might feature barbequed cuttlefish with black lentils, or slow-cooked lamb flavoured with saltbush. The good news is that you don’t have to be staying here to enjoy the restaurant – although once you glimpse the accommodation, you’ll want to.
This character-filled garden-to-plate eatery on the outskirts of historic Milton is located in a 19th-century converted cheese factory – on site there’s also an expansive kitchen garden, accommodation, a retail pop-up showcasing Motion Ceramics and a cooking school. The menu is seasonal, and is loaded with fresh fruit and veggies plucked by the chefs just moments before you dine.
Local seafood & produce
Shuckers don’t get any more experienced than those at Jim Wild’s, occupying a shack at Greenwell Point. The estuary of the Crookhaven and Shoalhaven rivers is the breeding ground for Jim’s distinctive Sydney rock and Pacific oysters – the only other thing on the menu is fresh prawns. The motto here is, ‘nothing fancy, just fresh’.
As its name states, Nowra Fresh prides itself on serving up just-caught, local seafood. Weekly specials are chalked up, and might include black tiger prawns, squid, lobsters, crab, mussels… and so much more. You can also grab delicious fish and chips to take away – there are plenty of waterfront spaces nearby to enjoy your meal.
Open seasonally over the summer month, this immense berry farm grows everything from blueberries and blackberries to strawberries. You can pick your own, or purchase farm-made jams, wild bush honey and ice-cream loaded with the farm’s fruits.
There are more than a dozen cellar doors to choose from along the Shoalhaven Coast, known for producing a diverse range of varietals, from chardonnay to shiraz. Set between Ulladulla and Milton you’ll find Cupitt’s Estate, which not only bottles standout wines but also has an on-site craft brewery and cheesemaking operation.
Occupying historic buildings that were once a dairy farm, Silos Estate is as in demand for its wines as its wide-eyed alpacas and guest cottages, nestled amid the vines. Check in or visit the cellar door for outstanding views over rolling green hills, all the way to the Great Dividing Range. Take away a bottle of shiraz or sav blanc from the cellar door, or enjoy your tipple in the restaurant.
With views over the beaches of Shoalhaven Heads, Two Figs produces small-batch, hand-crafted wines produced using sustainable practices. Savour everything from chardonnay to shiraz at the cellar door, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Shoalhaven River. If you’ve got a pooch on board, grab a picnic table on the large swathe of grass and soak up the views.
Family-owned and operated since 1946, Coolangatta Estate offers a casual dining and wine-tasting experience overlooking the winery. Experiences range from wine flights in the cellar door to luxe, styled picnics and tours of the estate. If you can’t bear to leave, you can check in to one of the historic lodges on site.
Sustainability is the credo behind Mountain Ridge Wines, which has a cellar door, restaurant, market garden and accommodation on its site at the base of Cullunghutti Mountain. Sample wines at the cellar door on one of two tasting experiences (the Coast to Country Tasting or the Personalised Wine Flight), and enjoy mod-Australian cuisine in the dining room.
Small-batch breweries & distilleries
Located in coastal Huskisson, this brewery creates a range of intriguingly named drops that reference local history and landmarks. Like the Point Perp Pilsner, the Eggcellent St. Chocolate Milk Stout, and the Rainbird Dark Lager. There’s a relaxed beer garden to enjoy those beers (and non-alcoholic offerings, too), and a rotation of food trucks, serving up the likes of wood-fired pizza and gourmet burgers.
There are plenty of places to perch at this brewery, whether at tables on the front lawn, inside at the bar or at the back beer garden. As well as more than a dozen beers on tap at any time, the brewery produces its own low-calorie fruity seltzers and vodka, and has an array of popular cocktails on offer. The Nest, an on-site food truck, dishes up flathead tacos, sliders, wings fries and more.
This small and charming distillery makes a range of artisanal gins, vodkas and fruit liqueurs that take home awards across the country – they also make small-batch beers, real fruit-based seltzers and non-alcoholic sodas, all of which are on tap. Enjoy a drink paired with snacks at the bar or a more substantial meal in the restaurant.
Tours & food events
If you want to take in the best of South Coast food and wine, but don’t want to drive, these are the tours for you. Trips include tastings around Shoalhaven’s cellar doors, but if you want to take things private, talk to the team to organise a bespoke itinerary.
Forget plastic cutlery and frayed rugs – this company takes their picnics seriously. Choose your location, whether it’s on the sand, in the bush, amid lush gardens… and then the Picnic’s Naturally team will set up a decadent spread, with gorgeous styling, grazing food and (most importantly) no dishes for you to do.