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, all the while on the lookout for wildlife. Maybe you like your holidays with a side of education, learning about the heavens, the oceans and Australia’s engineering feats. No matter your passions, your family can enjoy them all when you visit the NSW South Coast.
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 Park offers plenty of ways to cool down, with waterslides, rides and attractions for all ages.
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.
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 Factoryfor delicious handcrafted sweets to reward your efforts.
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.
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 Museumin Albion Park, which provides mini-rides for the tots.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.