Shellharbour is a charming seaside destination on the NSW South Coast about 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney. Relax on beautiful beaches, wander through rare littoral rainforest, enjoy fishing and boating, explore a World War II shipwreck on a diving tour, visit museums or play a round of golf.
Enjoy a delicious selection of outdoor cafes and restaurants in Shellharbour Village, an ocean-front strip near the small harbour. The 1929-built Ocean Beach Hotel looks over the harbour. On either side of the harbour are the main beaches, Shellharbour North Beach and Shellharbour South Beach.
South of the village is the heritage-listed Bass Point Reserve. You can explore the reserve’s littoral rainforest on walking trails and discover more about Bass Point’s ancient past on a sign-posted Aboriginal cultural heritage walk in one of the most important indigenous historical sites in NSW.
In the waters off Bass Point are six shipwrecks, the first dating back to 1879. One of the outstanding diving and snorkelling spots in Australia, the Bass Point Marine Area includes the Bushrangers Bay Aquatic Reserve, a protected embayment with amazing undersea cliffs teeming with sea creatures.
Surfers will be thrilled with some of the best waves in Australia. The Farm and Mystics in the Killalea State Recreation Area are declared National Surfing Reserves, a register of Australia’s iconic surfing locations. Bring your board or take a lesson with surf schools such as Pines Surfing Academy .
You can pitch your tent in the Killalea campground. Other fun things to do and see include walking trails to littoral rainforest and seabird breeding areas. From scenic vantage points, spot humpback whales between May and November. There are lovely picnic areas and barbecue facilities as well.
The picturesque Links Shell Cove golf course is nearby. After golf, savour refreshments at the Tavern in the clubhouse. Another tasty place is The Shellharbour Club, nicknamed Shelly’s. There is a vibrant street market-style dining area called the Precinct, and the club’s entertainment caters for all ages.
Cycling along the spectacular Shellharbour coastline is wonderful, too. Bring your bicycle or hire one and explore the extensive network of shared paths, including the foreshore of shimmering Lake Illawarra, a popular waterway for stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and other fun water sports.