four day family getaway
Duration: 4 days
Driving Distance: 80kms
Time in car: 90mins
Regions Included: Shell Cove, Shelharbour Village, Albion Park, Macquarie Pass, Lake Illwarra
Day One: Feeling the Village Vibes
As you drive though laid-back Shellharbour Village to your accommodation, you know straight away that this is a special place where beachside holiday memories are going to be made for your family.
You stop in at the Visitors Information Centre located in the heart of the Village, to stock up on maps, guides and get all the tips from the friendly local staff who make your holiday their priority and ensure you are informed of all the best things to see and do.
Arriving at the NRMA Beachside Holiday Park, the kids will be busting to get out of the car and on to the sandy beach right at your doorstep. Your spacious waterfront cabin is perfectly positioned and the holiday park has a wide range of family friendly facilities and hosts regular school holiday activities.
Once you are settled in and unpacked, it’s straight in for a dip! The ocean pool, named after local Olympic Swimmer Beverley Whitfield, is located just next to the holiday park and has a kids undercover wading pool as well.
Poke your head out over the pool edge after a lap and take in the gorgeous views, watching the waves ripple in over the rocks or back towards town and the boat harbour.
The kids will love exploring the rock pools and fish n chips by the water for lunch is a must!
Little Park at the harbour has a great playground, with plenty of picnic tables to settle in and enjoy your lunch and the kids might even take a dip again in the calm harbour waters.
After lunch wander up Addison Street and browse the village boutiques and shops and after you grab the kids an ice-cream on the way back, stop in at the art-deco Ocean Beach Hotel and sit out on the deck to enjoy a drink overlooking the harbour and soak up those village vibes.
Download the Tread Shellharbour App, follow the guided tour and learn all about the Wodi Wodi people, the First Nations custodians of the Dharawal land on which you are visiting and the history of Shellharbour.
It’s time then to explore Bass Point Reserve, a 72 hectare coastal jewel which contains one of the few littoral rainforest areas in the Illawarra. Recognised as one of the most important archaeological sites on the NSW coast, Bass Point is listed on the Australian Heritage Commission register for both its Aborigi nal and European Values.
17,000 years before the Egyptians built the pyramids, First Nations people were using Bass Point as a camping ground and you can learn more about the history by doing the self-guided Indigenous Cultural Walk.
If the kids aren’t already too waterlogged, Bushrangers Bay is a protected Aquatic Reserve perfect for snorkelling amongst the diverse marine habitat.
After washing off all the sun and salt water, it’s time to head out for dinner. With so many dining options in the village to choose from, Relish on Addison won the family vote tonight. Contemporary Australian cuisine with a seasonally changing menu, Relish has a deck looking down towards the water where you can sit out and enjoy the sea breeze…and a cheeky cocktail or two.
Day Two: Getting Wild and Flying High
Today is all about adventure! To fuel up, head down to the Waterfront Shell Cove for breakfast at Georgia Rose before jumping on a Whale Watching Tour with Shellharbour Wild. The cruise leaves directly from Shellharbour Marina and heads out along the stunning South Coast coastline in search of the majestic migrating humpback whales. The kids (and adults) will be in awe to see dolphins, seals and hopefully whales – maybe even a mother and calf if you are lucky.
Once back to the jetty at the Marina, there is lots to explore. Take a wander around the boardwalk and promenade and you can let the kids have a splash in the little kiddies beach.
Enjoy lunch at the Waterfront Tavern, which cantilevers out over the water for you to take in the stunning marina views during your meal.
Step back in time at the HARS Aviation Museum. You will be guided on a tour by an aviation enthusiast – most likely a retired aviation professional, for a comprehensive tour of the aircraft and displays. Check out the Southern Cross II, Caribou, “Connie” the Lockheed Super Constellation, Tiger Moth and many more. The kids can sit in the cockpit of the F-111 Fighter Jet and Mum and Dad can take a wing walk out on the record breaking Boeing 747.
Enjoy afternoon tea at Café Connie.
Tonight it’s off to the Shellharbour Club for dinner. This family friendly venue caters to all ages. “Precinct” offers a street market with a huge indoor play area, Blockhouse. There are 8 different dining options available from, American-inspired burgers and BBQ, fully loaded hot-dogs, pizzas, dumplings and of course all your Club classics.
Day Three: On the Lake and Under the Waterfall
Grab an early breakfast at one of the many cafes in the village and then it’s off for a morning SUP lesson with Bec from Stand Up Paddle Boarding Shellharbour on beautiful Lake Illawarra. Bec is a passionate local, who loves the water and will take you on a scenic paddle out on the Lake, with lots of informative narrative along the way.
After your Paddle Board, take a walk along foreshore to see the Lake Illawarra Arts Trail. Details for the trail can be found on your previously downloaded Tread Shellharbour App. The kids will no doubt want to take on the incredible Ninja Course at Reddall Reserve as you go past.
Head west and enjoy lunch at the new Plough and Ale before driving up to Macquarie Pass National Park for a bush walk. The Cascades Walk is at the foot of the pass and leads you along the creek through the lush rainforest to the Cascades Waterfall. Plunge into the rock pool and under the majestic waterfall and make sure you keep an eye out for the lyrebirds, goannas and platypus that call this natural wonderland home.
Take the kids for a late afternoon round of minigolf at Shanx at the Links Shell Cove. This mini but mighty course is a scaled down version of a real course and is fun and challenging for the whole family.
Loser buys the first round at the 19th hole? The Tavern at the Links has a friendly and inviting atmosphere and the food at Il Lago restaurant is delicious – the perfect way to relax after a full on day of exploring the region.
A well-deserved sleep in is on the cards today. Although you know it’s time to head home, you are already planning your next trip back to Shellharbour to do it all over again and experience all the things you didn’t get a chance to do on this trip.
But before you go, as all the locals have told you…Killalea Regional Park is a must see! This spectacular coastal reserve is in the middle of suburbia but feels worlds away. Killalea Beach, better known as “The Farm” is a national surfing reserve. With stunning views in all directions from the lookout, it’s the perfect picnic spot. Grab a coffee and some brunch from the Kiosk and settle in on the headland to watch the surfers rip up this famous surf break and just take in the magic and beauty of this spot, and reflect on your great family holiday.