Gerringong may be small (population 4,000), but what it lacks in size, it more than achieves in personality and seaside charm. On a headland webbed with the inland waterways of Werri Gully, this NSW South Coast town unites calm coves with surf beaches, rolling farmland with rugged escarpments. Choose from memorable wining and dining, kayaking and golf, or just find a spot on the sand to look for whales.
A classic Aussie beach town, Gerringong life revolves around its main beach, Werri Beach. Set on a long stretch of sand, its split and bordered by Werri Lagoon on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Patrolled by lifeguards in warmer months, the beach draws swimmers and surfers alike, with reliable point breaks found at either end of the sand.
Just south of Gerringong is Seven Mile Beach, where Land’s Edge Surf School, Surf Camp Australia and Gerringong Surf School offer lessons on how to ride the waves. Golfers will enjoy the ocean views and beautifully manicured greens on the 18-hole course at Gerringong Golf Club, replete with a 19th-hole for cool after-game beverages. During the months of late May to July or September to November, take a drive to the Gerringong Whale Watching Platform to watch the whales migrate or enjoy a horse ride at Kimberly Park Stud.
Hundreds of ocean-fed rock pools stud the state’s coastlines. Among the most alluring is Ourie Pool, located at the southern end of Werri Beach. Chiselled into the rock shelf and sporting a concrete floor, the waterhole also features a handy wading pool for children.
Meanwhile near Cooke Park, Boat Harbour Rock Pool is set amid natural rock foundations, its watery playground offering shimmering views over the headland. Dry off, and make the most of barbecue facilities, picnic tables and a children’s playground – a neighbourhood favourite.
Eat & drink
You’re not going to go hungry in Gerringong – fertile soils and bountiful produce will leave you spoilt when it comes to places to eat and drink. Toast your arrival in the region at Crooked River Wines, with sips at the cellar door and brewery, or a well-paired meal in the restaurant.
Family owned Roselea Vineyard is nearby, known for producing everything from sparkling wines to reds and vintage ports. Then stop by for a cold glass of something delicious at Stoic Brewing, whether a Hazy Pale Ale or Cloudy Apple Cider.
Stop in for a nice lunch at The Hill Bar and Kitchen which overlooks Werri Beach, or the The Blue Swimmer in Gerroa which is located at the mouth of the Crooked River. For a classic pub meal, try Gerringong Bowling Club.
If you’re after a quick but nourishing bite, join queues at Gerringong Bakery for homemade pies and pastries; if you have time to linger, visit Buena Vista Farm to attend a tour or cooking workshop using farm-to-table fare. Visit the Gerringong Rotary Markets on the third Saturday of the month to meet more local producers, or see what's on in the events calendar.
Getting there & where to stay
It is less than a two-hour drive from Sydney to Gerringong along the Grand Pacific Drive, the epic coastal route winding south from the Royal National Park. You’ll weave over the scenic Sea Cliff Bridge, pass geological wonders, skirt powdery beaches and navigate coastal towns and cities, including Wollongong (35 min north) and Kiama (10 min north). Or take a three-hour coastal train journey from Sydney’s Central Station. There are also flights available to Shellharbour, which is 29 km north from Gerringong.
Accommodation in Gerringong includes stylish holiday houses, seaside cottages, rural retreats, holiday parks and campsites. If you’re after a high-style retreat, try one of Dovecote’s two dramatic pavilions, or architect Espie Dodds’ view-capturing Ocean Farm.