South Coast Family Holidays

How does your family like to reconnect? Together on adventure activities that get the heart racing, like ziplining through the rainforest or swooshing down water slides? Or perhaps you’re more inclined to immerse yourselves in nature, hiking, biking, swimming and snorkelling, all the while on the lookout for wildlife – whales, dolphins, kangaroos. Maybe you like your holidays with a side of education, learning about the heavens, the oceans, Australia’s engineering feats. No matter you passions, your family can enjoy them all when you visit the NSW South Coast.     

Visitors enjoying the Illawarra Fly Zipline Tour in Knights Hill, south of Wollongong

Adventure

There’s joy to be had standing on the forest floor, looking for native birds; another perspective is provided when you’re whizzing through the canopy alongside feathered friends on Australia’s longest zipline at Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures – or the more leisurely Treetop Walk along an elevated platform. If you work up a sweat, Jamberoo Action Parkoffers plenty of ways to cool down, with waterslides, rides and attractions for all ages. Every family member will also appreciate the Bigfoot tractor-bus ride at Coolangatta Estate winery near Shoalhaven Heads.

Family enjoying a day at Bar Beach, Merimbula

Nature

Whether you’re seeking calm, crystal blue waters for the little ones to swim, are bringing avid anglers looking to cast out a line, or have grommets in tow ready to take on epic waves – a beach for every family awaits on the South Coast. Beginner surfers can also sign up for lessons, with multiple schools teaching you how to jump on a board.

Women learning how to surf with Illawarra Surf Academy on Corrimal Beach near Wollongong

On dry land, lace up your shoes and trek through untouched rainforest and national parks, on the lookout for everything from the platypuses to lyrebirds. Clifftop treks, like the Kiama Coast Walk, reveal fascinating rock structures en route – consider it nature’s geography lesson. Among the region’s formations is the record-breaking blowhole in Kiama, which drenches visitors with seawater if they get too close. A short drive southwest is Berry – head to the Treat Factory for delicious handcrafted sweets to reward your efforts. 

Friendly koala at Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh in the Illawarra region , South Coast

Wildlife

You don’t have to travel far from Sydney for your wildlife encounters to begin. Near Stanwell Park is Symbio Wildlife Park, where you can meet native and exotic animals up close or even become a junior keeper for the day. Similar experiences are on offer near Batemans Bay, at Mogo Wildlife Centre, an establishment dedicated to the conservation and protection of endangered species.

Of course, you can spot the region’s most sought-after animals without spending a cent. Enjoy a picnic on some of the whitest sands in the world at Jervis Bay, on the lookout for dolphins and seals and (from May through November) whales. Dolphin cruises depart across the coast year round, and whale tours operate during the annual migration. Tours depart Narooma for Montague Island, a wildlife wonderland of little penguins and fur seals. To the north, you can discover kangaroos in the wild at Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park.

Fur seal swimming around Montague Island, Narooma, South Coast

Museums

If you want to feel insignificant in the best possible way, gaze at the stars, planets and galaxies at Wollongong’s Science Space interactive museum and planetarium. While you’re in town, seek out some of the regular regional tours and events, suitable for all ages. Heading south, jump aboard a steam train at the Illawarra Light Railway Museum in Albion Park, which provides mini-rides for the tots.

Meanwhile, on the Sapphire Coast at the southern tip of NSW, discover the Merimbula Aquarium and the Eden Killer Whale Museum, both showcasing the area’s symbiotic relationship with the sea.