Wine, whales, and a wonderful time: your ultimate winter guide to Shoalhaven | HerCanberra

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Wine, whales, and a wonderful time: your ultimate winter guide to Shoalhaven

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There’s never been a better time to take a road trip to the coastline where the wine is flowing, fireplaces are crackling and the whales are frolicking.

With white sandy beaches, clear blue water, and the winter sun, there’s something incredibly magical about Shoalhaven in the cooler months. And with fewer people around—but plenty to explore—it’s the perfect opportunity to escape the city and go beyond the basic beach trip to enjoy wine and whales, wonderful food, and welcoming hospitality. 

All tried and tested, here are some of the best places to eat, stay and play in Shoalhavenperfect for a quick weekend getaway or a romantic winter escape. 

Eat 

 

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Full of small coastal cafés, microbreweries, fine dining restaurants, and seaside bistros, Shoalhaven is a foodie’s delight. But did you know you can also dine amongst the tree tops? 

The Gunyah

A celebration of nature, breakfast at the Gunyah takes the concept of bush tucker to a whole new level. Overlooking soaring eucalyptus and paperbarks in Woollamia, this restaurant is open during the early winter months (closing the doors when it gets really cold) and offers a cosy home-style two-course breakfast menu that includes freshly squeezed juice, seasonal fruit, a granola cup, and the choice of warm breakfast as well as a tea or coffee.

Prepared with a sustainable ethos in mind, bookings are essential for this breakfastbut it’s worth it to enjoy the tranquility of the bush in the early morning light.

5 Little Pigs

But if you enjoy a more casual dining experience, 5 Little Pigs, a small family-run cafe that overlooks Jervis Bay, is perfect for a relaxed breakfast. A menu favourite is zucchini fritters served with soybean salad, chilli jam, haloumi and smoked fish with salt and vinegar hash browns—it will leave you feeling beyond full and happy, and you can eat in or takeaway. 

Jervis Bay Brewing Co

With plenty of breweries and wineries nearby, it’d be rude not to enjoy a delicious local drop while winding down after a day of exploring. Just off the highway on the outskirts of Huskisson, Jervis Bay Brewing Co is the perfect combination of casual atmosphere paired with an industrial fit-out.

Feeling like the ultimate backyard party (complete with a fire pit, picnic benches, and a playground for the little ones) you can enjoy an abundance of craft beers available on tap or in cans (including the award-winning Cow and Calf Pale Ale which features flavours of peach, lychee, and citrus, and the Eggcellent St. Chocolate Milk Stout–the ultimate chocolate beer), as well as local wines.

And if you’re looking for a lazy lunch or casual dinner, worry notJervis Bay Brewing Co has a different local food truck pop-up every day to provide the perfect snack to go with your beer. Think pizza, BBQ, and Korean cuisine or Mexican. 

Flamin Galah Brewing Co

A street away, Flamin Galah Brewing Co also has some flamin’ good beer. Offering more of a modern vibe (and interiors that reminds us why we were so obsessed with millennial pink) you can enjoy their beer range in the sun or sip on a French martini five days a week. Add in gourmet dumplings from The Nest (their permanent food van) and the good vibes will continue long after the sun has gone down. 

Pavilion Bar & Kitchen

But if you’re craving a cracking Chardonnay with a view to match, we recommend stopping in the Huskisson Hotel’s Pavilion Bar & Kitchen where you can sip, munch and crunch while overlooking the white sandy shores of Jervis Bay. With everything from burgers to seafood platters on offer, go for a long lunch on the deck or plan for a delicious dinner that features the best local produce from the South Coast. 

If you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your accommodation there are also plenty of takeaway options available for a lazy night in front of the fire. 

Play 

 

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Did someone say whale watching? While you might think the summer months are the prime times to book a whale cruise, starting in May every year Shoalhaven is home to a massive humpback whale migration as they travel to warmer waters. 

Swimming and breaching and blowing water from their spouts, an eco-cruise with Jervis Bay Wild gets you close and personal to the beauty of the whales. Perfect on a sunny winter’s day, you set off from Huskinsson on a two-hour tour to explore the Jervis Bay and help the crew spot resident dolphins, seals and whales in the water, watching (from a safe distance) as they frolic in the waves. If you’re lucky, you might even see a whale breach the water and leap into the air or (if they’re feeling shy) get a cute flick of a flipper.

Add in the bonus of a friendly crew who will give you a history lesson on Jervis Bay as you travel, information about migrating humpback whales and their calves, and the stunning backdrop of rugged cliffs and ancient sea caves, it’s an adventure you’ll remember forever. Make sure to layer upwith the wind in your hair and the spray of cold water against your face, you might lose feeling in your fingers. But trust us when we say spotting humpback whales and dolphins frolicking in the clear water makes every second of Canberra-esque cold worth it. 

If you’re looking for a more land-based adventure, there are also plenty of breathtaking walks to reset and return to nature. Perfect for a pit stop on the way to the coast, Tianjara Falls offers stunning views of a natural waterfall as well as the valley and National Park below. But for something longer and closer to your destination, The White Sands Walk and Scribbly Gum Track is an easy track that loops through Jervis Bay National Park, taking you to the white sands of Chinamans Beach before heading back into the stunning coastal forest. With the coast on one side and the bush on the other, it’s the best of an area known for its mountains, coastal plains, and magnificent beaches. 

Stay 

Whether you decide to make Huskisson home (like we did) or book in Berry, there are plenty of places to stay in Shoalhaven. 

If you decide to have a whale of a time and book in with Jervis Bay Wild (and why wouldn’t you?), The Villas of Huskisson are the perfect home away from home for the weekend. The gorgeous white weatherboard villas are a stone’s throw from the beachand the launch point for the toursand almost everything you want to see, do or eat is a short walk or drive away. 

Originally a weatherboard house called the Oxford, the villas are made from the original timber, creating the perfect combination of a cosy beachy-themed stay with luxurious interiors (including antique items from the original house and local artwork). Completely self-contained, it has everything you need. 

But if you prefer the bush to the beach Paperbark Camp in Woollamia (AKA home of the amazing treetop dining destination the Gunyah) takes glamping to a whole new level with their deluxe African-inspired canvas safari tents. 

So does wine and whales-themed winter holiday sound perfect right about now? Visit the Shoalhaven website  or follow @VisitShoalhaven to discover even more inspiration. 

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