The South Coast of NSW is one of the most beautiful places in the world. You’ve got the combination of beaches and rolling green hills. It’s the perfect place for families in Winter. You can spend a whole weekend outside exploring the natural beauty – bush walking and searching for shells along the white sand.
It’s more affordable in the off-season, and it’s quiet. You don’t have to wait forever to get your kid on a swing. If that’s not enough to tempt you on a trip down south this Winter, I don’t know what will. Ok, so maybe the reasons below might give you a further nudge.
1. It’s far enough – but not too far – from Sydney
Huskisson is about 3 hours south of Sydney – so not too far for small children if you don’t mind playing a long audio book (choose wisely – I’ve heard The Day My Bum Went Psycho more times than is fair or natural).
There are plenty of beautiful points to stop and stretch your legs and give the kids a break. You can stop off at Kiama, or promise them delicious ice creams at the Dairy Bar in Berry (that promise kept my kids in the car longer than usual!)
Such an underrated quality in a holiday destination, but really, with small children it makes all the difference.
My family stayed at the Huskisson White Sands Park in a beach cabin that was spacious and had gloriously-warm air conditioning. It sits on a path that gently rolls in to town – a safe scooting place for little ones and a five minute walk to food, ice cream and playgrounds. The Spider Park is something else, and an easy space to let the kids run wild while you sip on your coffee.
We only got in the car once while we were there, and that was to visit the National Park. Otherwise, everything we wanted to do or see was in walking – or scooting – distance.
3. Animals, animals, animals!
Small children are fascinated with anything that moves, from a tiny caterpillar to the more exotic, bigger mammals. You’ll find it all around Shoalhaven.
About 15 minutes outside of town is the Booderee National Park. It’s $11 for 48 hours and you can visit some amazing secluded beaches with kangaroos so tame the children can pat them.
Or head out to the ocean and show your children dolphins and whales in the wild. We went with Jervis Bay Wild (if you don’t see a whale, they’ll take you out again). June is the time to go visiting as whales are migrating north to have their babies.
If you’re heading back to Sydney the Shoalhaven Zoo is set in breathtaking surrounds. My husband said it reminded him of Jurassic Park. The kids can feed the farm animals, kangaroos, see snakes and crocodiles. For a special experience they can also feed the marmosets which was a definite highlight for my kids.
4. Delicious food – all year round
You don’t have to go far for a good feed or a hot coffee (or baby cino!) From Salty Joes which offers South California food, to Kanpai Japanese, The Quarters, The Huskisson or Husky Bakery there is something to suite every taste – including fussy children!
You can even get the nearby Vincentia Butchery to deliver meat to your cabin (or other residence, you just need to check with the butchery) complete with salads for you to pop on when you arrive. It was my son’s birthday when we went, and the lovely folk from Inner Cupcake left us some amazing ninja cupcakes that absolutely made his day.
Huskisson is one of the most child-friendly locations I’ve had the pleasure of staying at. There are always options for children and much of the food is sourced from the local area.
5. The culture and people
One of the best things we did when we stayed in Huskisson was an Aboriginal cultural tour with Raymond Timbery.
Raymond took us on a short walk through the bush, pulling plants out and explaining their uses and properties – from medicine to soap. He was funny yet always respectful of the knowledge he was passing on. It was astonishing how different the bush looked after a short tour with him.
And besides that, of course, are the people of Husky itself who are friendly and always seem ready with a hello or a short chat. That’s a nice thing to experience after the rush and chaos of the city.
6. Winter is quieter and cheaper
Peak season in Husky is around summer, but if you open up this little Winter treasure you’ll find good deals (see below regarding accommodation).
And it’s quiet. There’s room on the beach to go looking for sea shells. The parks aren’t busy and the footpaths aren’t crowded. If it rains there’s even a cinema in Husky – and the Bay and Basin Aquatic Centre with a heated indoor pool with kids play equipment and a slide.
Where to stay: White Sands Holiday Park have Winter specials: stay 3 nights, only pay for 2
Where to eat: We pretty much didn’t stop eating all weekend. Any of the restaurants above are a sure bet.
What to do: You could choose any one of the paid activities we did on our weekend away and spend the rest of your time exploring the beaches and bush areas around Husky for free. By far the stand out for me was Raymond Timbery’s Aboriginal cultural tour and the kids had a ball on the whale-watching tour with Jervis Bay Wild.
Writer Shevonne Hunt was sponsored by Shoalhaven Tourism on her trip to Husskison.
All images are by Daniel Guerra