South Coast (New South Wales)
The South Coast region of New South Wales has an interesting rural/tourist mix. The area is rich in rural charm, having a strong dairy industry (and cheese-making in Bega). Most of the coastal areas are popular tourist destinations, especially with weekend visitors from Sydney and Canberra.
Historically, the South Coast area of New South Wales has been an area of primary production, with fishing, timber, dairy and other farming contributing to the wealth of the area. Service towns were built, and steamers connected many of the coastal towns to Sydney and to export markets.
It's also a choice for sea-changes and tree-changers. The first wave of retirees are now being followed by hobby farmers and telecommuters.
With unspoilt beaches and national parks in equal measure, the South Coast of New South Wales is a premier holiday destination. In peak holiday season (summer school holidays) the population swells to more than three times the number of long-term residents. It's ideal for road touring or a beach or bush vacation while taking in local food and wines.
Two major local government areas administer the region: Eurobodalla Shire to the south and the Shoalhaven Municipality to the north including Nowra.
The small Jervis Bay Territory was excised from New South Wales as part of the process of federation, and is administered separately with a Federal Police Force and housing a naval base and military airport. The commonly visited parts of the bay itself and the main townships are still in New South Wales.
80% of the Eurobodalla shire is national park or state forest with extensive stands of spotted gum forest.
The coastal region has a reputation for locals who are easygoing and friendly, environmentally conscious and are even mix between politically liberal and conservative.
You can get to the South Coast by car. Parts are also accessible by train and bus.
Be aware that traffic can be very slow around Kiama, south of Wollongong, at the start and end of long weekends or school holidays.
You can catch a train from Sydney Central platforms 4-15, or at Hurstville or Sutherland. You can catch a train as far south as Bomaderry, on the northern bank of the Shoalhaven River. Nowra is on the southern bank of the same river, but the railway bridge that was constructed for the continuation of the railway line was converted into a road bridge before rail services could begin over the river. Along the way Kiama, Gerringong and Berry are easily accessible by train, and are interesting destinations for visitors.
The Premier bus does the Princes Highway route a few times a day, stopping in most major towns en route. Murrays also runs a single daily coach service from Canberra to Narooma via Batemans Bay, with brief stops at the towns along the route. The Premier and Murrays services connect at Batemans Bay.
The best way to get around is to drive. The Princes Highway travels the length of the South Coast and most places aren't far from it.
- Before you drive down Mount Ousley pass, stop to look out over Wollongong and the ocean from the top of the Escarpment
- Hanging Rock lookout in Nowra
- Bega Valley Lookout
- Stanwell Tops
- Swim at one of the region's many beaches
- Canoeing in Kangaroo Valley
- Art galleries in Berry
- Dolphin cruise in Jervis Bay
- Jambaroo Recreation Park (The largest theme park in the state)
- Bega Cheese Factory
- Mogo Zoo
- Feed the birds at Green Patch
- Minamurra Rainforest
- Visit the Beecroft Peninsula (extensive bushwalking and many pristine beaches)
- Kangaroo Valley
For most of the year, this is a very safe area. Locals are almost always willing to help and welcome friendly conversation with visitors. During summer however, there has been a history of major violence on the New Years and Australia Day celebrations in many tourist prone areas. There is now a total alcohol ban for all public places during these holidays.
Also, in the locale of Nowra, visitors would be advised to stay away from the areas of Junction Court and Nowra East due to higher-than-average cases of pickpocketing, muggings etc.
Beaches are usually patrolled by lifesavers, but ask locals about dangerous surf and bluebottles. Sunburn is also a risk for visitors unused to Australian summers.
Roads are busy during summer; often people will walk to beaches along the road. Caution is advised during peak periods.