***this post is written in conjunction with Shoalhaven Tourism who gifted my family a weekend adventure***
I fell in love this weekend.
I joked how weekends with children are not known for their romance, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
I think you could say we all fell in love.
Depending which part of the 125kms of coastline you land on, Shoalhaven is about a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney, and it’s easy to fall for undulating hills and coastline. Skipping the light fandango on a Friday afternoon means you can be in a whole new world by kiddie bedtime- just in time for a sundowner whilst listening to the ocean crashing at your doorstep…oh, and my kid falling out of the top bunk with the ‘thwack’.
Ahhh, the serenity.
Driving down country roads flanked by corn fields as the sun was setting set the tone for the trip. Rolling into the Culburra Bowling Club for an old fashioned Honey King Prawn reminded me of when I was a kid and I lived in a sleepy coastal town. The perfect laid back pace for a getaway.
We all know I’m a ‘glamper’ and the two bedroom self contained cabin at the Culburrra Beach Holiday Park was perfect for my glamping tastes.
It was comfortable and clean as a whistle. Our welcome from caretakers Kim and Simon was warm and it felt like we were visiting friends… especially after I borrowed a nappy after a packing mishap.
The kids were amped about the TV in each room, and I was pumped about the spa bath which I sadly never got to to take for a spin. Maybe next time….
There are so many cool things to check out in the area but when someone mentioned dolphin watching with Jervis Bay Wild I was sold.
I knew my kids would get a kick out of an ocean adventure and although D Man kept yelling “shark!” or “crocodile!” and alarming the fellow passengers it was exhilarating to get so close to these magnificent creatures.
The dolphins would come right up ands roll on their side to look you square in the eye, before darting off and riding the bow of the boat.
Between the vineyards, cafes and the pubs there is some fab fare to be devoured.
The entire region has gems peppered amongst the Chinese restaurants and the ‘bowlos’, but even that stuff is so quintessentially Aussie that you need to give it a crack. We hoped to try a vineyard, but exhaustion and children meant we made the most of our cabin with its kitchen and chilled wine in the fridge.
I still ate like a beast the whole time.
We sampled goodies from the Husskison, or Husky as it’s known, bakery followed by fish and chips at the Husky Pub. I love a good pub with a beer garden, and Husky does not disappoint with its view over the water where the local kids were hanging out and skiving around the jetty.
The famous Hyams Beach officially has the whitest sand in the world according to the Guiness Book of Records…. I had to see it for myself as I’ve lazed upon some amazing beaches around the world. The sand squeaks when you walk on it because it’s so fine, and the glaring white pierces your eyeballs and ensures the water is a surreal blue.
For the adventurous, Shoalhaven does not disappoint. Fishing, watersports, horse riding, and this…….
And this ….
This adventure you see here is Trees Adventure and it’s all that.
A fantastic physical challenge set against the backdrop of the breathtaking Shoalhaven River. There are a few different courses of varying degrees of difficulty for those aged from 4 years old (sorry, Kiks) and it was an adrenaline rush packed with smiles.
Shoalhaven Zoo does not have the most exotic animals you’ve ever seen, nor the biggest array, however it is a privately run wildlife park and the zookeeper, Trent, gives engaging shows that give you much more insider knowledge than I’ve seen before. He talked about training the marmosets and I fell in love right then…..not with Trent, but his marmoset friends.
If my affair with the region wasn’t already in full swing Berry stole the rest my heart.
Could I move from the city and make a tree change? I don’t know, but when I see the bull nosed homes, and the quaint historical town I wonder.
They also have the best damned donuts ever, and The Treat Factory is home to some spectacular treats. If you want to talk about adrenalin sport try taking two overtired and excited children to a lolly factory!
We lived the expression ‘like kids in a candy store’ as they manically ran from bullets to lollipops, chocolates to jelly beans trying to decide what to take home.
Owner, Leon, showed us where the hundreds of jams and relishes are produced, and the confectionary rooms smelled like Willy Wonkas factory. They have chocolate making classes in the school holidays which would surely feel like a Golden Ticket to any kid.
Of course, there was the little issue of the romance with my patient and lovely manfriend. He fell in love too, and we’re already planning another trip to the Shoalhaven.
This time, we may even go alone.
Have you been to the Shoalhaven? What did you love there?
If you’re thinking of getting away for the Easter break, why not think about Shoalhaven?