The 140km Grand Pacific Drive starts in the Royal National Park, located just outside of Sydney, about an hour's drive from both Sydney's CBD and Wollongong. Experience the 15,000 hectare expanse of bush, beaches and waterfalls at one of the world's oldest national parks. Highlights in the park include; Audley, Wattamolla, Garie Beach, The Coast Track, Governor Game Lookout and Bonnie Vale Campground. Tip: Follow the Grand Pacific Drive directional signage from Farnell Avenue, at the start of the National Park, and it will direct you along the entire drive passing through Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama en route to the Shoalhaven region.Discover Royal National Park
Glistening beaches, a spectacular green backdrop, a brand new city centre, several vibrant eating and entertainment zones . This dynamic changing city is just the perfect size. You'll see skydivers descend to the beach, surf schools and hang gliders. Enjoy 17 amazing patrolled beaches, beautiful botanic gardens, a spectacular historic harbour and the beachfront 'Blue Mile', the entertainment centre, art gallery, small bars and now a brand new world class shopping centre and city mall. The Illawarra escarpment is the Great Dividing Range as it adjoins the coast with its dramatic cliff faces, spectacular lookouts and many moods and colours. The northern villages of Bulli, Thirroul, Austinmer and Coledale are beachside playgrounds with great food and shopping.Discover Wollongong
You'll marvel at the shades of blue, green and yellow as the Grand Pacific Drive takes you across the Lake Illawarra estuary, the start of our aquatic playgrounds.You're soon in one of Australia's most forward-looking and fastest growing communities, a leader in urban design and planning. The latest shopping and community services are alongside lovingly preserved nature along our beaches and coastal reserves with an outlook that embraces the past and builds an innovative future. The city is building a marina to complete its excellent array of facilities that include a stunning golf course and other sporting venues. At the Illawarra Regional Airport an aviation museum features flying examples of historic planes as well as an F-111 and the first ever Qantas 747. You can often sit in the pilot's seat for a selfie!Discover Shellharbour
The first settlers called it Kiama for 'the Place where the sea makes a noise' but today the noise comes not just from the famous Blowhole and its cousin the Little Blowhole, but from a picturesque caf scene set amid historic buildings housing unique shops, the maritime atmosphere of our harbour and famous lighthouse and attractions such as the breathtaking coastal walking tracks around places like Bombo and Jamberoo Village with its awesome action park. Kiama is surrounded by coastal beauty in areas like Gerringong, Gerroa and the cool tranquillity of Minnamurra Rainforest and its roaring waterfalls and soothing streams. The rolling hills around Kiama offer picturesque drives along lanes lined by dry stone walls past classic dairies and farmhouses. Saddleback Mountain lookout allows you to get a bird's eye view of the entire district and coastline.Discover Kiama
When George Bass named the 'Shoals-haven' he couldn't have imaged it would become so loved as a holiday destination. The very names of the dozens of towns and localities of the Shoalhaven conjure up images of great vacations ranging from placid relaxation at beaches or national parks to some of Australia's best fishing, to wineries and restaurants. Think places like Kangaroo Valley, Berry, Shoalhaven Heads, Coolangatta, Greenwell Point, Culburra, St Georges Basin, Bendalong, Manyana, Lake Conjola, Milton, Narrawallee, Mollymook, Ulladulla, Burrill Lake, Dolphin Point, Durras - all holiday favourites.Accommodation ranges from various styles of camping or cabins, to Australia's first 'glamping' resort, to luxury stays with dinner like Rick Stein's Bannisters.Discover Shoalhaven
The Southern Highlands is an atmospheric destination where magnificent homes and gardens dot the rolling hills and towns like Bowral, Mittagong, Berrima, Moss Vale, Bundanoon and Robertson have a character all their own. Bowral is famed for its boutiques, gourmet restaurants, gardens, galleries and Tulip Time Festival. It's aptly the site for the Bradman Museum as young Don grew up in the town, practising his cricket against a water tank. The highlands have some of Australia's best country accommodation from magnificent manor houses to cosy B & Bs. Natural treasures include Fitzroy Falls, the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk and Wombeyan Caves with their surrounding wilderness area. The town has some of the most interesting shopping and galleries. The area has many quality wineries with welcoming cellar doors and top restaurants.Discover Southern Highlands
The Clyde River is one of Australia's most beautiful with a backdrop of green hills, national parks and state forest. It runs through the famous resort town of Batemans Bay with its endless attractions from great food (especially oysters), accommodation from luxury to camping. From beaches to the famous foreshore walk, to world class fishing, to diving and snorkelling in Bateman's Marine Park to family attractions like Birdland Animal Park-Eurobodalla has it all!Discover Eurobodalla
The Sapphire Coast on the NSW South Coast is the ideal adventure landscape where you can reconnect with nature. All year round the national parks are natural playgrounds and the lagoons and seas are our wonder-filled aquarium. Explore artisan galleries, taste the freshest of produce from the land and the sea, sample local wine, study Aboriginal history and culture, and the history of the pioneers. Or lose yourself in nature, in whatever way you choose.Discover Sapphire Coast
Beautifully uncivilised is an apt tag for this natural wonderland, much of its ecosystems is classified by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve. Charming coastal villages Bermagui, Tathra, Eden and Pambula showcase an unspoilt paradise with crystal beaches surrounded by some of Australia's best national parks.
Oysters and muscles are irresistible. The Merimbula Boardwalk is extra special as is the five kilometre main beach and renowned Tura Beach. Soak up the rollicking history of Australia's whaling days at Eden's whaling museum and the historic village of Ben Boyd, once a centre for this lucrative trade full of myths and amazing stories.
Where your efforts are always rewarded with a view
Set deep in a gnarled tea tree forest in Ben Boyd National Park is the imposing Boyds Tower, built of sandstone in the 1840’s.
A gentle walking track leads up to the tower and there are two side trips with lookouts offering glorious views of the encompassing coastline.
Nearby you can visit two lookouts with superb views, one over the ocean and the other over Twofold Bay. If you’re lucky you can sometimes see whales performing ocean acrobatics in the Bay during whale watching season.
They say oysters are one of the most otorious aphrodisiacs, boasting a reputation for generating love and fertility.
So, why not take a day (or two) to sample some of Sapphire Coast’s finest oysters and explore five of NSW most pristine estuaries on an Oyster Trail. Experience oysters at farm gates, restaurants and out on the water with the farmer. Each estuary imbues subtle differences in taste, unique blends of salt and fresh water, tidal flow and aquatic plants.
You never know what could come from a little visit to the Sapphire Coast estuaries.
The Eden Killer Whale Museum is the perfect place to start your journey on the Killer Whale Trail.
The most famous killer whale was Old Tom, his skeleton, along with plenty of eye opening whaling memorabilia, displays and interactive stories are on exhibition at the museum.
You’ll find the museum overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In the migrating season, whales may be seen from the various vantage points so make sure you keep a look out when you’re there.
Don't forget a visit to Davidson Whaling Station located at Kiah Inlet in Twofold Bay where you can peer into the lives of 19th century whalers.
From sharks to shrimps, octopus to tropical fish, Merimbula Wharf Aquarium is a must see!
It’s all on display in a living theatre of the deep with 27 tanks and a 70,000 litre Oceanarium full of large ocean fish and sharks. Fish feeding also produces lots of action and is a great time to visit.
The beach is never far away
Looking for a spot to sleep along the Sapphire Coast? You're spoilt for choice!
From apartments and townhouses, to bed and breakfasts, cabins, cottages, caravan parks, camp sites and holidays houses, you'll find a place to stay to fit with your style and budget.
A top pick, with a "superb" 9.3/10 rating on Booking.com is Sails Luxury Apartmentslocated in Merimbula. It's waterfront at its best with all apartments featuring a private balcony overlooking Merimbula Lake, located an easy 5-minute walk from Main Beach. Live like a local in these perfectly located apartments complete with a heated pool and outdoor BBQ facilities.
To search and book other accommodation along the Sapphire Coast including Merimbula, Bega, Eden and Tathra, visit Booking.com.