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 minutes, 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.
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.
Jamberoo Music Festival, Jamberoo - Credit: Linda Faiers Photography
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.
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.
Where to stay
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.
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. There are also flights available to Shellharbour, which is 16km north from Jamberoo.
Fly into Shellharbour Airport
Shellharbour Airport is located at Albion Park and is the gateway to Shellharbour City.
Flying to Shellharbour is the fastest way to enjoy everything the region has to offer from surfing at a National Surfing Reserve or enjoying a round of golf, to spectacular beaches, beautiful scenery, bush walking and more.
Link Airways operates direct flights from Shellharbour to Melbourne five days a week and Shellharbour to Brisbane five days a week.
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.