Shellharbour is one of those places in New South Wales, which often gets missed on the tourist map. Mostly due to travellers either ending their trip in Wollongong or bypassing it for Kiama, it doesn’t get the attention it should get.
Founded in 1851, Shellharbour was once a hub for one of Australia’s largest cedar tree logging ports; with the cedar trees being native to the area. At the time, sea was on the only transport available due to the lack of rail and road systems, so the township was developed and founded to help accommodate for the industry.
Now a cute little seaside boutique town in the 21st century and ninty minutes south from Sydney, Shellharbour hosts a nice variety of fun activities, perfect for a weekend getaway with friends and family.
And if fitness isn’t your thing, that’s okay too. There are plenty of other activities to be had in this scenic oasis.
Paddle Boarding on Lake Illawarra:
Stand Up Paddle Boarding owned by Bec and husband Justin offers everything for a first-time beginner to the advanced Paddle Boarder. Group sessions for friends and families are also available. Paddle your way around Lake Illawarra with the Pelicans as you watch the sunrise; or sunset. Stand Up Paddle Board also do a night Paddle where your board is lit up with LED lights under water for a pretty unique experience. They also offer a yoga on water fitness class, which is held on inflatable fitness mats which float on the water.
Snorkel at Bushrangers Bay:
The Shellharbour Scuba Centre offers a wide range of personalised water activities, from snorkelling to scuba diving. Dive Master Mick Harris owns and runs the centre and personally takes all his customers out on snorkels and dives. Bushrangers Bay is a secluded bay nestled within Bass Point Reserve and is an Aquatic reserve. Because of this, all marine life is protected and in an abundance, so you are sure to see a few sting rays and even some friendly grey nurse sharks.
Forest Bushwalk at Macquarie Pass:
Macqaurie Pass National Park is an untouched jewel of the New South Wales south coast. The scenic bushland area is one of the largest protected habitats of the region which has been untouched for many years and a safe haven for many native Australian animals. It’s a great place for bush walking and bird watching. For a more personalised experience at Macqaurie Pass, you can book a guided walking tour with Nature Engagement Tours. They also offer great camping experiences and Scones in the Forest walking tour. Tip: The scones are home made by the tour guide’s mum and are simply delicious.
Walk on the Wing of a Qantas Plane:
HARS Aviation Museum at Albion Park, only fifteen minutes from the main town centre of Shellharbour, have an extensive collection of restored commercial and military aircraft, including the famous 1950s Connie Aircraft; which was the first of its kind in Australia to fly long-haul overseas. The main attraction of this aviation museum however, is the Qantas Wing Walk. here you get to take a walk along the wing of a Qantas plane on the historic 747 Longreach, which made a groundbreaking flight from Sydney to London without stopping.
There are also Surfing lessons at Shellharbour’s famous surfing beach called The Farm, fantastic boutique and home ware shopping in the town centre of and plenty of great eats serving up delicious and healthy foods for even the fussiest of eaters. Like Relish on Addison who cater for gluten-free and vegan diets and make delicious fruit smoothies.
And if you like bike riding, South Coast Bike Hire will drop off a bike at your stay location on the day you require the bike and collect the bike from you once you’re done.
Make sure you check out www.visitshellharbour.com.au for a full listing on local accommodation in the area and other interesting activities to do there.