5 coastal spots where you can leave the world behind
There is no better place to feel the world slow down than at a laidback beach town, so leave the big-city buzz behind, disconnect and reinvigorate yourself at these five coastal enclaves.
It’s the tang of salt spray in the air, and the tickle of sand under your soles. It’s the tiny cafe where locals congregate, and the way you can withdraw to a quiet spot. It’s the rejuvenation that only comes when you can disconnect and totally relax, which is exactly what you can do at these coastal retreats, far from the cares of the world.
Killcare, Central Coast
Nestled in the embrace of Bouddi National Park, the pretty Central Coast village of Killcare is the perfect getaway when you want to take things at a slower pace. Life unfolds easily here. You may choose to start your day with a leisurely dip at Killcare Beach or its equally lovely neighbours, Pretty Beach and Lobster Beach.
If you’re in the mood for a stroll, there are plenty of trails through the national park, including the 8km Bouddi Coastal Walk. Follow the boardwalk from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach, or just choose a scenic spot where you can gaze out to sea and watch for dolphins or migrating whales: the Gerrin Point Lookout is an excellent choice.
Pambula, Sapphire Coast
Perched between the Sapphire Coast hubs of Merimbula and Eden, Pambula is the place to let your cares fall away as you focus on the simple joys in life. From watching birds taking wing over the Panboola Wetlands to the magical sight of kangaroos grazing on Pambula Beach in the early morning, Pambula lets you live closer to nature.
For those who savour the pleasures of good food, the colonial-era main street is the place to pick up fresh-from-the-oven sourdough or pastries from Wild Rye’s Baking Co. Perhaps the greatest treat is to head to Broadwater Oysters and feast on a dozen fresh oysters beside the pristine waters where they were grown.
Broulee, Eurobodalla region
Locals at the laidback village of Broulee in the Eurobodalla region know that the best way to ease into the day is with a relaxing walk along the sand spit to Broulee Island Reserve as the water sparkles in a dozen different shades of blue around you.
Or perhaps you’d rather head out on the water itself. Hire a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and be prepared to spot all kinds of marine life in the crystal-clear waters, including fast-moving eagle rays. If you enjoy throwing a line out, the fishing is exceptional, with whiting, flathead and bream just some of the species which are found in abundance.
If you need some big-town distractions, Batemans Bay is not far away, but we suspect you’ll find yourself adapting to this easygoing lifestyle very quickly. Base yourself in a romantic retreat like the adults-only The Bower at Broulee, or try the family-friendly BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Broulee.
It’s not just the four beautiful beaches surrounding Bundeena that make it such a special escape. This tiny suburb in Sydney’s south, best accessed by a quick ferry trip from Cronulla, sits on the edge of Australia’s oldest national park, the Royal National Park, where the lush bushland is rich in hiking trails, pools and beaches. Love a waterfall? Winifred Falls, Wattamolla Falls and National Falls – where you can actually stand behind the water – are all popular options.
Other highlights include visiting one of Sydney’s most outstanding Aboriginal rock art sites, the Jibbon rock carvings, or simply relaxing with a coffee at Driftwood Café. On the first Sunday of the month, the area’s many artists throw open their studios for the Bundeena and Maianbar Art Trail.
Splurge on a luxe stay like the four-bedroom Periscope House, complete with its own private beach, or try a smaller retreat like Fogo @ Ethel & Ode’s.
Angourie, Clarence Valley
If you’re dreaming of discovering a sleepy seaside town that has stayed under the radar, we have news for you. Just south of the scenic holiday town of Yamba lies Angourie, a charming coastal village with just a handful of shops. What Angourie has in abundance, however, is spectacular surrounds.
You have a choice of beaches – Angourie Point has great waves for surfers, while the sheltered Angourie Back Beach is the place to go for a swim. Then there are the famous Blue and Green Pools, old bluestone quarries that flooded and were reborn as popular swimming spots. On days when you feel like staying dry, the magnificent 65km Yuraygir Coastal Walk follows old emu trails south, offering jaw-dropping views along the way.
Angourie Resort has comfortable accommodation options for couples and families.