10 great South Coast beaches under three hours drive from Canberra | HerCanberra

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10 great South Coast beaches under three hours drive from Canberra

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Canberra, we need to talk.

Yeah, we go on about our lack of beaches but to be totally frank—we aren’t too far from some of the best in the world.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best beaches (plus a cheeky waterfall) so you can keep your cool this summer, even if you only have a day off.


Practice COVID Safety even at the beach, and be aware of water conditions, rips, patrolled areas and other directions from surf lifesaving personnel.

Stay safe this summer, Canberra.

Emily Miller Beach, South Durras

If you’re looking for seclusion, Emily Miller Beach should be top of your bucket list. Located inside the Murramarang National Park in South Durras, this beach boasts crystal clear waters and a rigid rocky outcrop through the centre.

The native wildlife are the true locals of this beach, perfect for photographers wanting to capture nature’s intimate moments.

Drive: 2 Hours 17 mins
Location: Emily Miller Beach, South Durras, NSW 

Maddens Creek, Dharawal National Park

Those who don’t follow the beaten track are rewarded—especially if you’re on the road towards Maddens Creek. We couldn’t help but include Maddens Creek even though it’s not necessarily a beach as it boasts a beautiful natural pool under a lush waterfall.

Pack a picnic and get ready for a walk (approx. 20 minutes). We promise all the effort will be worth it once you plunge into the pools.

Drive: 2 Hours 43 Mins
Location: Maddens Falls, Madden Falls Track, Darkes Forest, NSW

Shark Bay, Broulee

Despite the name, this is one of the calmest swimming spots in Broulee.

Shark Bay is popular amongst locals for its protection against waves, sandy bottom and outlook to Broulee Island.

If you’re looking for a safe place for your kids to swim, a relaxing float and picturesque views, Shark Bay is the perfect day trip.

Drive: 2 Hours 22 mins
Location: Shark Bay, 19 Harbour Drive, Broulee, NSW

Seven Mile Beach, Geroa

Twelve kilometers of Australian beach goodness…need we say more? Well, we will because this beach deserves all the glory. Located in Gerroa and home to surf lessons and snorkelling, this beach is all about family.

The waters are child friendly for a relaxed paddle at most times of the day, and this massive stretch of the sand will ensure you’re able to find a private little sanctuary despite the season.

Drive: 2 Hours 49 Mins
Location: Seven Mile Beach, NSW

Lilli Pilli Beach

Lilli Pilli beach offers turquoise waters and tall spotted gums along the 200-metre curving beach. Lilli Pilli beach isn’t as known as other swimming spots in the area, ensuring a quieter experience.

Only a 15-minute drive from Batemans Bay perfect for swinging past the local fish and chip shop before arriving to enjoy between dips. Access via the bush track off Fairview Drive.

Drive: 2 Hours 13 Mins
Location: Lilli Pilli Beach, Lilli Pilli, NSW

Tuross Lake, Tuross Heads

Tuross Heads has long been a popular spot for Canberrans and there is a great reason why, as Tuross Lake offers the perfect day trip if you’re looking for a bit more activity.

Canoeing, kayaking, fishing and standup paddleboarding are just some of the activities locals enjoy on this lake. It’s also popular with animal lovers as you’re likely to see a wide variety of birdlife and kangaroos.

The Tuross township also has a variety of locally-owned shops and eateries including Tuross Boatshed & Cafe.

Drive: 2 Hours 37 Mins
Location: Tuross Head, NSW

Denhams Beach

A popular spot amongst locals and holiday goers, Denhams Beach is one of the closest to Canberra. Sheltered by a rocky headland and offering tranquil waters, it really encompasses everything needed for a no-fuss day trip.

Keep your eyes out for pods of dolphins that are often sighted from the beach.

Drive: 2 hours 9 mins
Location: Denhams Beach, NSW

Depot Beach

Backing onto the Murramarang National Park, this stretch of soft sandy goodness is charming to the eye and calming to the soul. The drive into the beach is a site of its own, as the long stretch of road lies between tall spotted gums.

You may not have the beach to yourself, however, as it has been noted that the local goanna population enjoy sunbaking on the shoreline too.

Drive: 2 hours 16 mins
Location: Depot Beach, NSW

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

Would it really be a ‘best beaches’ list without mentioning Hyams Beach? Highly regarded for its powdery white sand, Hyams Beach is so picture perfect it could be a desktop screensaver.

The township of Jervis Bay offers a variety of local eateries and watering holes to relax after a day in the sun. Our favourites include 5 Little Pigs and Pilgrims.

Drive: 2 Hours 38 mins
Location: Hyams Beach, NSW

Honeymoon Bay, Jervis Bay

It’s the furthest drive on our list at 3 hours 16 minutes (yes we know, it’s slightly over…) but we promise Honeymoon Bay is well worth the extra time in the car.

Located inside Beecroft Peninsula, this calm bay delivers picturesque outlooks and a safe cove for swimming.

Popular activities include snorkelling and kayaking. Be sure to check before heading to the bay as the Beecroft Weapons Range (BWR) is located next to the beach and the area can be closed to the public for training purposes.

Drive: 3 Hours 16 mins
Location: Honeymoon Bay, NSW

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