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Duration:  4 days 

Driving Distance:  ##kms

Time in car:  ## mins

Regions Included:   Shell Cove, Shelharbour Village, Albion Park, Macquarie Pass, Lake Illwarra

Shellharbour is the ultimate drive holiday destination on the South Coast.

It’s a place people come to connect, create lifelong memories and experience all that this vibrant coastal city has to offer.
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The road trip has begun! Head South along the Grand Pacific Drive which will just take your breath away set against the dramatic escarpment and stunning coastline. En-route along the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge, head further south winding your way through all the coastal villages until you arrive at the gorgeous Shellharbour Village.

Arriving at the NRMA Shellharbour Beachside Holiday Park, you will be keen to park the van and hit the waves as soon as possible. Follow the locals lead and paddle straight out off the shore in front of the holiday park to take on a local’s favourite break, Bombie. 

After settling in and a quick surf, it’s off to explore this village which is giving off laid-back vibes, just what’s in order! Wander past the ocean pool, named after local legend Olympic swimmer Beverley Whitfield and make a mental note to take in some early morning laps during your stay.

Ameander up Addison Street, browsing through the village boutiques will lead you to the art-deco Ocean Beach Hotel at the end of the street, the perfect place to enjoy lunch and watch the fishermen feeding the pelicans across at the boat harbour.

If you are keen to learn about the cultural history of the area, download the “Tread Shellharbour” app where you can learn all about the Wodi Wodi people, who are the First Nations custodians of the Dharawal land on which you are visiting. It’s full of amazing facts, such as that 17,000 years before the Egyptians built the pyramids, First Nations People were using Bass Point as a camping ground.

Bass Point Reserve is 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 Aboriginal and  European Values.  A place you will definitely want to explore,  so be sure to take the self-guided Indigenous tour.

Bushrangers Bay is then calling! This pristine  protected aquatic reserve is an excellent spot for  snorkelling amongst the diverse marine habitat including the resident grey nurse sharks, who casually glide by as you explore this incredible underwater world. 

Feeling sun kissed and salty, head back to the holiday park for sunset drinks and nibbles overlooking beautiful Shellharbour South Beach. Sample some local brew  from Bass Point Brewing Company before getting ready to head out to the award-winning restaurant, Relish on Addison and enjoy their contemporary Australian menu from the balcony with views out towards the harbour. 

Killalea Beach, Killalea Regional Park, Shell Cove

Enjoy a relaxed brekkie from one of the many village cafes and then head out to Shellharbour Airport where you are about to see this stunning coast from a whole new perspective… 15,000 feet off the ground. With Big Wave Skydive you can experience a skydive that takes in the spectacular scenery of the Illawarra Escarpment, Lake Illawarra, Killalea and the Marina landing right on the beach at Bass Point. If jumping out of plane together isn’t the ultimate couples bonding experience, we don’t know what is. What a rush!

Once you are back on solid ground, head over to the Waterfront at Shell Cove to grab some fresh sushi and Japanese for lunch at the Waterview Japanese Restaurant. Maybe even a little sake to help the adrenaline levels
return to normal.

As you may have been too busy screaming with pure thrill and not spotted any from up in the sky, after lunch you can take to the water to hopefully spot some of the majestic humpback whales on their annual migration with a whale watching tour directly from Shellharbour Marina with Shellharbour Wild. As well as whales, you will enjoy the seals when visiting the local seal colony and most like come across a pod of dolphins on your cruise. Whales or “Gawura” have a special connection to this area being the main totem of the traditional custodians of this land, the Dharawal people. 

Back at the Marina, head to the Waterfront Tavern to settle in for the late afternoon/evening and soak in the views, enjoy a beautiful meal and maybe watch the game or listen to some live music. Locals tip – their seafood harvest platter is spectacular!


Wake early to see the breathtaking sunrise over Killalea Regional Park. This is a very special place, known as Arrijong by the Dharawal people and is rich in cultural history. For keen surfers, it’s the more recent stories of days gone by that may pique your interest. Access to this once hidden beach was on the land of a local farmer, who use to ask surfers to shell out a few coins and then would kindly let them open the gates and cross his land to Killalea Beach, which is how it came to be known as “The Farm”. 

Grab a coffee and egg and bacon roll from the Kiosk at Killalea (the breakfast of champions) and then head down  

to The Farm to surf this world-class break in a National Surfing Reserve. Taking in the sights of the lush green hills surrounding this coastal paradise, you will be captivated by the natural beauty and understand how its serenity has made it one of Australia’s best beaches. 

After an amazing surf, you will have certainly worked up a hunger, so head to The Links Shell Cove for lunch at the  Tavern. Il Lago’s restaurant offers delicious Italian inspired meals and woodfire pizzas. Overlooking the picturesque Links Golf Course, you can relax and watch the golfers whilst you plan the afternoon ahead. 

With a shoreline spanning 37 kilometres, the impressive Lake Illawarra is the perfect place for a Stand-Up Paddle Board. 

Meet the crew from Stand Up Paddle Boarding Shellharbour for a private lesson and enjoy the commentary, learning more about the local area and its history, whilst paddling the crystal blue waters and looking out over some of the incredible  sculptures that dot the foreshore as part of the Arts Trail

Check out the What’s On guide for a full list of events and entertainment. Try your hand at a Create & Graze, Cocktail Masterclasses, Sing & Sip or maybe even Drag Trivia at Georgia Rose at the Waterfront Shell Cove and enjoy an early dinner and then join in all the fun. 


It may be last day but ensure you have a full day planned to experience as much of this beautiful area as possible before you leave.

Wander across the road to the Darley Street Local for breakfast with a view and amazing coffee, then head back to pack up the van and hit the road.

Heading west, drive towards Shellharbour Airport where the HARS Aviation Museum is located just next door. A passionate volunteer and retired aviation professional will take you on a tour of the museum and the adventurous side of you will want to get out on the wing of the towering QANTAS Boeing 747-400 for a wing walk.

Fuel up with some great pub food at Plough & Ale in Calderwood before heading out to Macquarie Pass National Park for a bushwalk and to go chasing waterfalls. Immerse yourself this lush rainforest set on the Illawarra escarpment.

Discover steep sandstone ridges, gullies and waterfalls as well as lyrebirds, platypus’, koalas and goannas that are just some of the incredible flora and fauna that call this place home. 

As you wind your way up Macquarie Pass on the trek home, take one last look over the stunning Illawarra panorama. 


We hope to welcome you back to Shellharbour again very soon!

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