Stanwell Park

Stanwell Park on the NSW South Coast feels like a quiet beach town hundreds of miles from anywhere. But in fact, it sits at the southern end of the Royal National Park, just an hour’s drive south of Sydney’s CBD.

Up in the air

This pretty-as-a-picture village on the northern tip of Wollongong is internationally famous area for hang-gliding and paragliding. In fact, it holds an important place in aviation history. Stanwell Park is where Australian aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave first flew his box kite 125 years ago.

For the thrill of a lifetime, try a tandem glide with Hanggliding Oz or the Sydney Hang Gliding centre at Stanwell Tops. From Bald Hill lookout, watch hang-gliders and paragliders fly above the cliffs and ocean, and enjoy stunning views of the village and beautiful Stanwell Park Beach below. Or watch it all play out from the sand.

Students enjoying a day at Stanwell Beach, Wollongong

Things to do

There are many other things to do in Stanwell Park. Visit the Symbio Wildlife Park, where you'll meet native and exotic animals, and hand-feed kangaroos. Tour the area behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 with Cliff to Coast Sports Car Drives or on a motorcycle with Just Cruisin’ Tours.

Horse riding is another great way to explore the area. Otford Farm and Darkes Forest Riding Ranch offer trail rides for all types of riders. Visit the Apple Shack at Glenbernie Orchard, and buy fresh and dried fruits, cider and honey, or pick your own fruit.

Millie the wombat at Symbio Wildlife Park

Restaurants and cafes

Foodies are well catered for in this tiny hamlet. Local’s favourite The Palms Cafe, is set close to the beach and is the place to relax with coconut quinoa and apple muesli, or a spiced dahl breakfast bowl after a swim or surf. If you’re looking for fancier fare, Tumbling Waters Retreat offers a degustation menu with ingredients sourced from the local region.

Getting there and where to stay

Stanwell Park is just over an hour’s drive south of Sydney. You can also catch the train from Sydney and the journey takes one hour. Places to stay include stylish holiday houses, cosy cottages, oceanfront campgrounds and high-end boutique retreats.