Off the beaten path: Sydney to Shoalhaven

Off the beaten path sydney to shoal haven


When many of our customers hire a car in Sydney, they often stick within the city limits and don’t explore further out. Of course, with the sheer plethora of things to do in the New South Wales capital, you certainly won’t be strapped for entertainment. However, there’s so much awesome holiday potential but a few hours away!

Use this road trip itinerary to encourage your exploration further south, using the Grand Pacific Drive.

Royal National Park

Ace Rental Cars royal national park

Your first detour is via Royal National Park, the sprawling, World Heritage-listed bush area just below Sydney. You can weave your way through here from just off the A1, leading you past the unusual Figure 8 pools walking track, as well as loads of splendid picnic spots.

Sea Cliff Bridge

Ace Rental Cars sea cliff bridge

Continue along the Grand Pacific Drive (there are brown signs indicating its direction) to catch pristine ocean views. You’ll soon be driving across the Sea Cliff Bridge, a curving, award-winning 665-metre structure that people love to stop and walk over, filling their camera storage as they go.

From here to Wollongong

Ace Rental Cars scaroborough beach from here to woolong

Between the bridge and Wollongong, our next stop, you’ll meander through some of the most charming coastal towns in NSW. Beaches are aplenty along the way, and a lot of great cafes as well. Scarborough Beach is a great example of the former, while the latter can be found in Thirroul, just south.

Wollongong

Ace Rental Cars woolong

This is one of the largest cities in the country (number 11 at last count, based on figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics), and is a fantastic urban centre to stop and enjoy on your NSW road trip holiday. Action sports are popular here, including surfing and sky diving, and there are numerous walking and cycle trails to wander.

Lake Illawarra.

Ace Rental Cars lake iliwra

You’ll find calmer waters a bit more south in the form of Lake Illawarra. This 33-square-kilometre water body has both fresh and salt water flowing into it, thanks to an escarpment on one side and a channel from the ocean on the other. People love to fish and sail here, but we recommend having a splash about in your cossie, too!

Kiama Blowhole

Ace Rental Cars kiama blowhole

One of the most popular natural features in the area is the Kiama Blowhole, on the coast of the eponymous township. Winds from the southeast push water into a small opening beneath the hole, which is then forced upward with an impressive spout. Selfie potential? Oh yes!

Coolangatta

Ace Rental Cars coolangatta

No, you haven’t been transported to the Gold Coast by some mysterious time portal, but are in fact just south of Kiama, in a historic region of the area. Coolangatta Estate was the first European settlement on South Coast, and is now famous for its excellent wine.

Nowra

Ace Rental Cars nowra

As the commercial hub of Shoalhaven (the region of NSW you’re now in), you’ll find Nowra has a great small town meets urban centre vibe. There is a real mixture of holiday options here, including both adventure trips – in the form of canoeing, scuba diving and cycling – in addition to historic attractions. For instance, Meroogal is a Gothic-style 1800s home that has one of the most authentic 19th century interiors in the state.

Bonus: Jervis Bay

Ace Rental Cars jervis bay

Head just that itty-bitty more south and take the time to visit Jervis Bay. This is hailed as one of the top spots in the nation for whale watching, and dolphins are known to play in the sheltered waves most of the year round. Plus, the bay is incredibly safe for swimming, making it a great place to learn how to surf.