There’s a lot to love about the beaches of the NSW South Coast. Equally enchanting is the fact that you can leave the sand behind and, within 10min, be surrounded by rainforest and waterfalls in Budderoo National Park. It’s here that you’ll find the dreamy village of Jamberoo, the gateway to all manner of adventure activities, from wildlife-rich hikes to ziplining excursions and wet-and-wild waterslides.

Mother and daughter enjoying water slide at Jamberoo Action Park in Jamberoo, Kiama Area, South Coast

Discover history & culture

The forest around Jamberoo may be protected today, but back in the 1800s it drew entrepreneurs keen to get their hands on the cedars that grow here. Many of the colony’s original 19th century buildings still stand, today home to boutiques and cafes as well as the Jamberoo Pub, established in 1857 (you can stay overnight if you wish). Time your visit right to join the Jamberoo Village Market on the last Sunday of every month, or tap your toes at the Jamberoo Music Festival in May.

Rachael Brennan and The Pines live at Jamberoo Music Festival  in Jamberoo, Kiama Area, South Coast

Revel in rainforest

A wildlife fairytale of ferns and native forest, Budderoo National Park is home to some of Australia’s most elusive animals: the platypus and lyrebird among them. Keep your camera poised while exploring trails that depart the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, which features a scenic 1.6km loop along elevated boardwalk, with the option to detour toward a waterfall.

Minnamurra Rainforest waterfalls at Kiama, South Coast

You can also take the Jamberoo Mountain Rd to Carrington Falls to see the Kangaroo River plunge into the Kangaroo Valley, and then make the most of the picnic area nearby.

Get adventurous

If you’ve worked up a sweat hiking (or even if you haven’t) you’ll want to add Jamberoo Action Park to your itinerary. This high-octane theme park comes with dozens of rides, the star attraction being The Perfect Storm, replete with waterslides and moments of zero gravity. Just as fun are bobsleds, river rapids, putt-putt golf and rides for tiny tots.

Families enjoying the water park at Jamberoo Action Park, Jamberoo.

More thrills await at nearby Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, where you can gain a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest on Australia’s highest zipline or an elevated walkway through the tree canopy.

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

Tee off

The Kiama area is blessed with many golf courses, perhaps none quite as pretty as Jamberoo Golf Club, draped over a valley in the shadow of the Illawarra Range. The setting is so lush that almost 100 species of birds call the 18-hole course and surrounds home. Don’t have clubs? Try a round of Footgolf here instead – a fun mash-up of soccer and golf.

Getting there & where to stay

Follow the scenic Grand Pacific Drive south from Sydney, and in less than two hours you’ll be in Jamberoo. Once you pass through Wollongong, the onward drive is around 30min, while from Kiama, your route northwest takes about 10min.

Places to stay amid this patchwork of green range from B&Bs to resorts and camping. If you want a truly memorable stay, check in to the lovingly restored heritage home Terragong 1858 or the sprawling Jamberoo Valley Farm Stay, where cottages offer a front-row seat to life on the land.