The Shellharbour region stretches from the entrance of the magnificent Lake Illawarra to the surf of the Tasman Sea. With a backbone of state parks and forest reserves, the region’s scenery is superbly diverse. Shellharbour is approximately an hour from Sydney and within two and a half hours from Canberra, making it an easy day trip from the nation’s capital cities.
Guest post by Michael Adams
a Few Facts about Shellharbour
Even with a population nearing 70,000 residents, Shellharbour’s natural beauty has remained largely unspoilt by tourism. The friendly townspeople, smorgasbord of activities, easy accessibility and elixir of natural lustre all make Shellharbour one of the largest tourist destinations along NSW Central Coast.
What’s the best time to visit?
Of course, like anywhere along the coast, it is best to visit during the warmer months – from September to early April. The climate is typical of a coastal town, warm with a light sea breeze and a little humidity in the midst of summer. Winter is cooler, but pleasant by most standards. Temperatures are less overwhelming during spring. Check out the weather before you head to the area, since a coastal storm may mitigate your exploration opportunities.
One Day in Shellharbour Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Shellharbour.
Kick of your day with a magnificent harbourside walk. The pristine waters lining the unoccupied sandy beaches are simply stunning. They say the early bird catches the worm, so get up early and take your camera down to witness a gorgeous sunrise – a sure-fire Kodak moment.
Feeling peckish? Head to Shellharbour Village and stroll along Addison Street to weigh up which quaint outdoor café best suits your needs. There is a fabulous variety of cuisines to satisfy all of your cravings! But for a local favourite, head to Green Poppy for a unique culinary experience. With live music, a small in-café store and all day breakfast! Try the ricotta, prosciutto and basil baked eggs for a wholesome and delicious start to the morning.
If you’re a die-hard beach goer, you must head to the unpatrolled waters of Killalea State Park, affectionately known to locals as the Farm.
Here, you’ll find rolling waves at the foothills of an opulent forest with well-kept amenities and facilities. Grab a surfboard and try your luck in one of the best surfing beaches in NSW, or take a picnic down to the exquisitely landscaped barbecue area. In reality, you could spend your whole day here exploring the nature trails, watching the talented surfers and soaking up the sunshine. If you plan on doing so, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy!
After checking out the beach, go for a walk to Minnamurra Falls – a sensational natural wonder hidden amidst The Minnamurra Rainforest. There’s ample wildlife to spot including wallabies, water dragons and the majestic lyrebird.
Once again, head to the gourmet hub of Addison Street. Check out the Andaman Thai Restaurant, known as the best in the region with its generous servings and deliciously authentic flavours, with a little American flair. Spring for the tofu Kra-Pow or the Hotpot Seafood. Both combine fresh local produce with unique flavours and delectable textures.
If you fancy staying in the great outdoors, pack a picnic and head over to the Bass Point Reserve. This charmingly historic site holds great significance for the Indigenous people of Shell Harbour, as one of very few littoral rainforests in the region. It is also a renowned diving area, with shipwrecks to explore!
For the fishermen of the region, this is the best time of day to launch the boat at Lake Illawarra, or cast a line from the rocks. The main catches include bream, flathead and mullet. In the summertime, wade in the waters of Lake Illawarra’s lagoon and try your luck at some prawning.
If fishing doesn’t tickle your fancy, head over to the Links Golf Course in Shell Cove. Despite being dubbed the “Beast of the East” due to the challenging nature of the course, you shouldn’t be put off, as the friendly staff and stunningly preserved greens create a comfortable and sociable atmosphere. Kick back at the Tavern, the course’s clubhouse, for some live entertainment and a cold beer.
Head to the local gem, the Ocean Beach Hotel for an impeccable seafood dinner you will never forget. This award-winning restaurant is perched over the Pacific Ocean, offering unobstructed, panoramic ocean views. Be sure to book a table out on the deck in the early evening, to witness a sensational sky of pink and orange encroaching upon the waterfront at sunset.
Where to Stay in Shellharbour?
The Dream Catcher Beach House offers cosy feels with stylish looks. The Beach House is a super modern 3 bedroom house overlooking the ocean. Equipped with all the mod cons including spa, this chic beach stay is sure to impress. The hosts are lovely and attentive, and more than willing to help you find your way around beautiful Shellharbour.
For a larger group, the Shellharbour Resort and Conference Centre is ideal. The location is absolutely supreme, near the beach, the Links Shell Cove Golf Course, and the main shopping mall, Stocklands. There’s also a tennis court and a pool to entertain the kids!
Extra Tips for Visiting Shellharbour
– The sun is harsh in the land down under, so be sure to practice sun safety, as a nasty sunburn could ruin your holiday. You can buy sunscreen and hats around the Shellharbour region at any service station or general store.
– If you are staying in Brisbane or Melbourne, you can now fly regionally to Illawarra Regional Airport. And Shellharbour has a free public transport system, namely by bus, so you can transfer from the airport to your hotel quite easily. Look up the timetables here to navigate the region with ease. And if you get stuck, Uber does operate within this region, although it might cost a little more than normal because the drivers have to come from Wollongong.
PIN FOR LATER!
If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Shellharbour Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below!
Logistical Tips and Tricks
Organize your trip in five easy steps!
BOOK A FLIGHT!
Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!
BOOK A ROOM!
To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.
GET A CAR!
If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.
INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!
Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.
FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!
Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.