How to spend a weekend in Shellharbour
Just two hours from Sydney, the seaside city of Shellharbour is the perfect place to relax on the scenic South Coast of NSW. Add these Shellharbour must-dos to your weekend itinerary.
Hike, fish & snorkel at Bass Point Reserve
Bass Point Reserve sprawls over a 100-hectare headland just south of Shellharbour Village. This beautiful reserve contains one of the few littoral rainforest areas in the Illawarra region and is recognised as one of the most important archaeological sites on the NSW coast. Follow the plaques dotted along the Bass Point Indigenous Cultural Walk to learn about the Indigenous history and heritage sites in this area. The sheltered waters of Bushrangers Bay are home to a wonderful diversity of marine life and offer excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities, while promising fishing spots can be found all around the headland.
Step back in time at the HARS Aviation Museum
Housed at Illawarra Regional Airport, the HARS Aviation Museum is run by a group of volunteers with a shared passion for everything aeronautical. Many members of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society are qualified aircraft engineers and pilots – something which can be seen in the museum’s outstanding aircraft displays and impressive hangars. The price of admission includes an extensive guided tour of the premises, with opportunities to explore both the interiors and exteriors of these spectacular machines.
The museum’s monthly ‘tarmac days’ also give visitors that chance to board and sit in the cockpit of unique aircraft such as the F-111C fighter bomber and the Neptune submarine hunter. Offering fascinating insights into the history and technology of flight, the HARS Aviation Museum is sure to enthral aviation enthusiasts and amateurs alike.
Walk on water with SUP Shellharbour
In recent years, stand-up paddleboarding has become one of the most popular ways to explore the scenic waterways of NSW. Based in Shellharbour, Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) Shellharbour is a mobile school which offers both private and group paddleboarding lessons for all ability levels. Participants can choose to explore calm, enclosed waters, as well as exposed waters, and challenging surf.
Cruise the tranquil waters of Lake Illawarra with an accredited SUP instructor, or test your strength and coordination during a floating yoga or fitness class. Whether you want to start the day with a relaxing sunrise paddle, or hit the waves for some stand-up paddle surfing, SUP Shellharbour can provide a fun day out for first-timers and experienced paddlers alike.
Take a swing at the Links Shell Cove Golf Course
Nothing says ‘a relaxing weekend away’ like spending an afternoon on the green. Situated just a stone’s throw from the centre of Shellharbour, the Links Shell Cove is one of the Illawarra’s leading golf courses. Once known as the “Beast of the East” due to its challenging nature, the Links Shell Cove has grown to accommodate golfers of all skill levels. This links-style championship course offers four tee options to choose from and has been voted one of Australia’s top 50 courses to play for under $50. The grounds also include a driving range, mini golf course and licensed hotel, making this a great day out for the whole family.
Discover world-class beaches
Shellharbour enjoys more than its fair share of fantastic swimming and surfing spots. From Minnamurra to Lake Illawarra, you’ll find plenty of sandy stretches that are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. The Shellharbour region includes six patrolled beaches as well as the Beverley Whitfield ocean pool, with Shellharbour North and Warilla Beach consistently ranking as local favourites. Surfers will also find themselves spoilt for choice, with a number of world-class surf breaks dotted around Shellharbour.
Killalea State Park contains the popular National Surfing Reserve: ‘The Farm’ (Killalea Beach), which offers rolling, open waves in relatively deep water; and the ‘Mystics’ (Minnamurra Beach), which is known for its intense barrelling wedges. Bring your surfboard or hire one nearby to enjoy some of the best waves on the South Coast.
Explore the local dining scene
Shellharbour boasts a number of fantastic restaurants spanning a broad range of cuisines. Start at trendy Relish on Addison, which uses some of Shellharbour’s best local produce across seasonal breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Sit down to award-winning seafood and a cold beer with a great view at the Ocean Beach Hotel. For authentic Indian flavours served in an elegant atmosphere, you can’t go past Suashan Indian Restaurant. Don’t be fooled by their modest prices; some say this the best Indian food in the Illawarra region. Lastly, head to Nardi’s Italian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, a popular, family-owned restaurant that serves traditional Italian meals and desserts seven nights a week.