Perfectly positioned between the picturesque Illawarra Escarpment and the blue waters of the Tasman Sea, Shellharbour is a vibrant destination on the NSW South Coast of NSW. Discover gorgeous beaches, world-class surf breaks, famous dive sites and magnificent national parks.
Beaches and water sports
Relax on white sand beaches all along the stunning coastline. Shellharbour is home to one of Australia’s few National Surfing Reserves at Killalea. Catch a wave at two iconic breaks, The Farm at Killalea Beach and Mystics at Minnamurra Beach.
The area is also known for its excellent snorkelling and diving. Visit Bushrangers Bay Aquatic Reserve, where underwater cliffs are teeming with marine life. Shellharbour Scuba Centre runs regular tours. At Bass Point Reserve, divers can explore shipwrecks off the coast, the first dating back to 1879.
Enjoy the serenity of Lake Illawarra by learning to stand-up paddle board with an accredited instructor. For a special SUP experience join a sunrise or night tour. Drop a line in and try your luck at fishing or grab your bike (or hire one) and enjoy the scenic coastal cycleways.
Things to do
Lace up your hiking boots and explore rare littoral rainforests, waterfalls and hidden beaches on the Cascades and Clover Hill trails in the Macquarie Pass National Park. Bass Point Reserve is a place of significant cultural and natural heritage, which you can explore on a self-guided indigenous walk.
The delightful seaside town of Shellharbour Village is perfect for a beach holiday with cafes, restaurants, specialty shops and a splendid golf course, the picturesque The Links Shell Cove. Nearby, the Calderwood Valley Golf Course is on the edge of the beautiful cliffs of the Illawarra Escarpment.
A short drive west is Albion Park. Visit the HARS Aviation Museum, where you can sit in the pilot’s seat of an F-111 fighter jet or walk the wing of the record breaking Qantas 747-400. The town is also home to Australia’s largest air show, Wings Over Illawarra, held each May at Shellharbour Airport.
Take a ride in carriages from the golden age of rail travel, hop on a steam or diesel train, and circle the grounds on a miniature train at the Illawarra Light Railway Museum. For an unforgettable experience, try a scenic joy flight with Touchdown Helicopters to get a bird’s eye view of Shellharbour from the sky.
There’s plenty for the kids as well. Zip around the track in a go-kart or challenge your friends to laser tag at C1 Speed Indoor Karting, then put on your skates and have fun rolling around the region’s only skating rink at Oak Flats.
Getting there and where to stay
The Shellharbour region is two hours’ drive from Sydney along the Grand Pacific Drive. You can also catch a train direct from Sydney to Albion Park or Shellharbour Junction, which takes around two hours. Places to stay include resorts, holiday parks, beach houses and apartments.