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Romancing the Shoalhaven, the perfect getaway with kids.

March 10, 2015

***this post is written in conjunction with Shoalhaven Tourism who gifted my family a weekend adventure***

great family holiday destination

Evening stroll at Crookhaven

I fell in love this weekend.

I mentioned on Facebook that I was invited to explore the Shoalhaven region last weekend, and I mentioned that I was going with my kids and my manfriend on his first ever family vacation.

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.

great family holiday destination

Corn fields on the road to Culburra

great holiday destination for kids

The view from across the road from our cabin.

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….

 

great family holiday destination

Our ‘adventure home’ at the Culburra Beach Holiday Park

great holiday destination for kids

Play areas at the Culburra Beach Holiday Park park, pools and jumping pillow ensured kids never got bored.

Exploring Culburra Beach - a 2 minute walk from our cabin

Exploring Culburra Beach track – a 2 minute walk from our cabin

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.

great family holiday destination

Captain Brendan and Captain Sue, aboard the Ventura for Jervis Bay Wild

great holiday destination with kids

Mother and baby dolphin flirting with the boat.

great holiday destination with kids

great holiday destination with kids

Boom netting for those not afraid of cold water, unlike my fair self.

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.

great holiday destination with kids

The Husky Custard Ring….good lord.

great holiday destination for kids

This is the stuff….

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.

great holiday destination with kids

Wish I painted my toenails…. but look at that sand!

great holiday destination with kids

I have not added saturation to this image…..no kidding. Perfect.

great holiday destination for kids

Trees Adventure – outrageously fun obstacle course.

For the adventurous, Shoalhaven does not disappoint. Fishing, watersports, horse riding, and this…….

great holiday destination with kids

He surprised and impressed me…. my little guy.

And this ….

holiday destination with kids

I surprised and impressed myself at Trees Adventure in Nowra.

holiday destination with kids

…may or may not be squealing with delight….

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.

Trees Adventure is right next to the Shoalhaven Zoo in Nowra so while you’re there you may as well do both.

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.

great holiday destination with kids

Trent and his marmosets at Nowra Wildlife Park

great holiday destination with kids

D Man up close and personal with a Wobbly

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.

The BEST EVER donuts.... fresh, hot, crunchy, cinnamon sugar.... Krispy Kreme has nothing!!!!

The BEST EVER donuts…. fresh, hot, crunchy, cinnamon sugar…. Krispy Kreme has nothing!!!!

waiting for them to cool down so as not to remove a layer of skin off your mouth is excoriating.....

…waiting for them to cool down is excruciating…..

Berry Treat Factory. The calm before the storm.

Berry Treat Factory. The calm before the storm.

You have no idea how much I love a condiment. Seriously. I have a problem.

You have no idea how much I love a condiment. Seriously. I have a problem.

Get. In. My. Belly.

Get. In. My. Belly.

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?

 

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15 Comments

  • Reply Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel March 10, 2015 at 7:54 am

    That looks wonderful! I don’t know how you fit it all in but it sounds like you had a fantastic time. Anything south of Sydney seems very far from Brisbane but it’s an area I’d love to explore with the kids some time.

  • Reply Louisa March 10, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Absolutely LOVE the Shoalhaven – such a beautiful part of the world! Glad you had such a wonderful time 🙂

  • Reply bigwords March 10, 2015 at 9:06 am

    What a wonderful spot to visit – would love to go there one day x

  • Reply Nina March 11, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Look at you guys! So much fun. I love nature but like you, can’t hang with the sleeping in a tent thing and would need to glamp it up.

    • Reply Danielle March 13, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      Every now and then I toy with the idea but it really doesn’t inspire me!

  • Reply Shell Parsons March 11, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I adore the Shoalhaven and Jervis Bay….and Berry is just beyond gorgeous. Such a beautiful part of the world.

    • Reply Danielle March 13, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      So gorgeous. Definitely going back there.

  • Reply Maxabella March 11, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    My home town! x

    • Reply Danielle March 13, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Husky? So many awesome spots down there. I would consider moving there I think.

  • Reply Sonia from Sonia Styling March 11, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    What a fabulous little getaway! Looks like a beautiful spot. And those donuts? Oh. My. Word! x

  • Reply Gillian March 12, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Oh my. Stunning! What a incredible place for a mini break! So much to do. Wish I loved a bit further south. And your photos are really special Dan. What a great opportunity! Xxxx

    • Reply Danielle March 13, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Such a fab opportunity. It was an awesome spot at the perfect time of year!

  • Reply Kim-Marie, Chief Dreamer at Kimba Likes March 12, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    The Welshman is our family holiday planner and is always looking for fun family adventures. Overseas holidays are awesome, but loving local is awesome too!

    Needless to say, he has been forwarded this link STAT!

    • Reply Danielle March 13, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      I do love an overseas vaycay, I must admit. But for a weekend or short trip? Local is so much easier.

  • Reply San March 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Love is in the air………… and who wouldn’t love Shoalhaven. The East Coast of Oz…… just beautiful ;O)

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