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 10 mins, 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.
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), make sure you soak in the soccer memorabilia of the Johnny Warren room, serving top-quality tap beer. 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.
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. If your feeling like a nice spot to unwind and relax for lunch, try Nellies Glen Picnic Area.
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve also boasts some spectacular views, and walking opportunities for all ages, making it the perfect family day out. Encircled in rocky cliffs at the top of Jamberoo Pass, it has a wealth of birdlife and unique plant species.
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. Or picnic at Jerrara Wetlands and take a walk to the Jamberoo Lookout.
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.
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 30 mins, while from Kiama, your route northwest takes about 10 mins. There are also flights available to Shellharbour, which is 16 km north from Jamberoo.
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; the sprawling Jamberoo Valley Farm Stay, where cottages offer a front-row seat to life on the land; settle in to Greyleigh’s providing luxury farmhouse-style accommodation; or indulge your senses at the Ananda Wellness Retreat. Or simply pitch your tent or caravan at Kevin Walsh Oval.