New South Wales has a coastline that boasts many jewels and more often than not, holidaymakers have their own favourite spot, be it up north or down south.
One of my favourite destinations is Shoalhaven, a remarkable pocket of paradise that sits just south of the city of Wollongong.
Covering an area of 2800 square kilometres, the Shoalhaven stretches from near Kiama down to South Durras, spreading as far as Bungonia to just near Braidwood, taking in the remarkable Budawang National Park, with its rugged slopes and chiselled valleys.
The region has stunning coastline and the surrounding waterways, lakes and bays offer many diverse activities to dive into.
If you like the idea of fishing but balk at messing with fishing lines and slippery bait, get on board with the gang at Ulladulla Fishing Charters.
Laura and Dan Cockroft and deckhand Benny Somerfield aim to provide you with a superior fishing experience, using their local knowledge and taking you to their secret locations. Best of all, they do everything. They prepare the rods and bait your lines, unhook your catch and clean and prepare the fish for you to cook. Now that's my kind of fishing.
You can get in among the mangroves when the tide is up and see all sorts of marine and bird life.
They also supply some light refreshments and have plenty of tales about ones that got away! For as little as $120 for a six-hour adventure, it's a day out I can highly recommend. The day we ventured out, the sun was shining, the fish were biting and we even saw a few whales breaching nearby on their journey north.
After a big day on the water, Cupitt's Winery is the perfect place to relax. A short distance directly west from Ulladulla Harbour, the family-owned and operated business is headed by matriarch Rosie Cupitt, with the assistance of the extended family. The venue and all-round experience had us singing its praises highly.
Cupitt's has diversified over the past 14 years, extending its business to include its own micro-brewery and onsite fromagerie. These offerings add to the business's established reputation for serving top-notch cuisine from its vantage point overlooking Stony Creek and Burrill Lake.
If you'd like to stay a little longer, take advantage of the charming self-contained cottage, perfect for a lazy Sunday session with live music.
One Shoalhaven gem that invites exploration is the stunning Jervis Bay. I chose to venture onto the bay waters from the charming seaside village of Huskisson. Huski is popular with tourists and has been a favourite destination for many old-school family holidays for years, including mine. It's a super spot that has it all, everything from a short stopover to a much longer stay.
Getting out on the surrounding waters here is easy and there are many ways to explore them. I grabbed a kayak from the team at Jervis Bay Kayaks and took a few hours exploring the turquoise waters of Currambene Creek. It was absolutely beautiful! The creek can be travelled for a fair distance and is easily accessible. You can get in among the mangroves when the tide is up and see all sorts of marine and bird life. Just floating around in the calm and serene atmosphere was just brilliant.
The next morning, we took advantage of the opportunity to see the bay's local dolphins who put on a show for us. The crew at Dolphin Watch have been operating here for years and will give you a great experience with these playful marine creatures.
The team's local knowledge comes into play here and they and the dolphins appear to be old friends. They also offer whale watching eco adventures. In fact, they have several tours on the bay to choose from and I can't wait to return so I can experience the towering cliffs of Point Perpendicular or a twilight barbecue cruise in summer.
After the recent bushfires and coronavirus pandemic, tourism operators are keen to get back to business and show holidaymakers what they've been missing. For all you need to research your Shoalhaven adventure, visit www.shoalhaven.com/
- Scott McRae is TheTravelling Guy. See more at www.thetravellingguy.com.