South Coast Beaches

The NSW South Coast has some of the best beaches in the country. But before you pick one (or a couple) for your lounging pleasure, be sure to check Beachsafe for the latest updates on conditions.

With that out of the way, you have a few hard decisions: calm bays and secret coves, or epic waves? Surfboard, stand-up paddleboard, kayak or swimming? Do you want to snorkel and dive? Spot dolphins, whales, seals and penguins? Depending on your destination, it’s likely you’ll be able to do all this – and more – when you choose the unspoilt South Coast for your next holiday. Ready to dive in?

People enjoying the sand and surf at Main Beach, Wollongong

The route

Stretching from Stanwell Park in the north to Bittangabee Bay in the south, the wild and wonderful southern shoreline delivers glittering ocean, dramatic rock formations and some of the whitest sands in the world. The entire length is part of the legendary Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive, but starting from Sydney you’re on the jaw-dropping Grand Pacific Drive for 140km.

This road trip – one of the most scenic in the world – takes you past blissful beach after blissful beach, from the well-frequented shores around Wollongong to hidden hamlets that characterise Shellharbour and Kiama. Further south, padding along the whiter-than-white sands of Jervis Bay, you’ll likely spot dolphins and (seasonally) whales. Drive south, and you’ll soon reach the Eurobodalla region – oceans, river, forest and farmland meet here – and then hit the sparkling Sapphire Coast, where beaches abound.

Mother and daughter enjoying a morning swim at Guerilla Bay in the Eurobodalla, South Coast

Get active

Waves and surf schools characterise the coast, with Australian Surf Tours and Pines Surfing Academy offering trips to The Farm and Mystics, two fabled regions within Killalea State Park, a National Surfing Reserve.

For more beach-based adventures, try kiteboarding with Jervis Bay Kite Connections in Vincentia, where the postcard-perfect White Sands Walk begins. The impossibly clear waters of Jervis Bay Marine Park are a haven for dolphins, fur seals, little penguins and whales, with many wildlife-spotting experiences available – think snorkelling, diving, beach fishing and boating.

Surfer catching a wave off Werri Beach, south of Kiama on the South Coast

The coast’s calmer coves, meanwhile, are ideal for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding adventures. The good news is that you don’t have to lug around excess baggage. You can hire a range of equipment – fishing rods, kayaks, surfboards, boogie boards, wetsuits and bicycles – from outlets across the region.

National park beaches

It’s one thing to swim or surf from a beach connected to a town or city – it’s quite another to be able to dive into waters that are part of a protected national park. You can find many of these on the South Coast; here are a few standouts.  

 

Linger longer

So many beach options are on offer that you’ll want to have multiple days to explore. It’s a good thing accommodations are available for various budgets, including campgrounds and caravan parks, holiday parks, motels, beach houses and luxury retreats. Wherever you choose as your base, check out the events calendar for exciting festivals, markets and shows in seaside towns, including the lively Gerringong Surf Music Festival in May.