Arguably the best way to explore New South Wale’s South Coast is by car. A South Coast NSW road trip takes you past some of the best beaches, national parks, rainforests and quiet small towns.
While you can drive from one side to the other in 6 and a half hours, a South Coast NSW itinerary should be spread over a couple of weeks, because there is so much to see and do along the way.
After spending five weeks discovering the south coast for the first time, we were lucky enough to discover the beauty of this region and have lasting memories of our trip.
To help you out, I’ve shared the itinerary for the South Coast NSW that we took from Sydney, so you can map out you own itinerary.
- How Long Do You Need for a South West Coast NSW Road Trip?
- What is Considered The South Coast NSW?
- Map of this South Coast Road Trip Itinerary
- 2 Week South Coast Road Trip Itinerary
- Final Thoughts on This 2 Week South West Coast Itinerary
How Long Do You Need for a South West Coast NSW Road Trip?
While there is no set answer for this, we think the ideal amount of time to spend exploring the South West Coast is two weeks?
You could actually do five weeks, like we did, and not get bored, but most people generally have a two week period for travel.
What is Considered The South Coast NSW?
The South Coast of NSW region begins just outside of Sydney and stretches from the Royal National Park to the town of Eden.
It’s one of our favourite regions in Australia and is famous for its stunning beaches, hinterland, hundreds of wild kangaroos hopping around, and quiet atmosphere compared to the north NSW coast.
Map of this South Coast Road Trip Itinerary
To help you plan your trip, here is a map of this South Coast road trip and where to stop.
2 Week South Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Without further ado, here is my recommended South West Coast road trip itinerary for two weeks.
Stop 1: Wollongong (2 Nights)
Heading south from Sydney, drive through the Royal National Park and make you way down the Grand Pacific Drive.
Along the way, make a stop at Bald Head Lookout for some beautiful views, and the Scarborough Hotel for lunch.
After an hour and 45 minutes of driving, you’ll pass over the Sea Cliff Bridge to Wollongong.
Wollongong is a vibrant seaside town with so much to see and do.
Things to do in Wollongong:
- Cycle the Wollongong foreshore
- North Wollongong Beach
- Nan Tien Temple
- Science Centre & Planetarium
- Seven Mile Beach
- Kiama Blowhole
Places to Eat & Drink in Wollongong:
- Illawarra Brewery
- Dew Drop Inn Tea House (Nan Tien Temple)
- Diggies Beach Cafe
- Lagoon Restaurant
Read more ideas in our post on things to do in Wollongong, NSW
Stop 2: Kangaroo Valley (2 Nights)
After spending a couple of night’s in Wollongong, it’s time to explore the South Highlands. Head south from Wollongong and stop at Gerringong for coffee, and then lunch at the Great Southern Hotel in Berry.
After driving for an hour and 10 minutes, you will reach Kangaroo Valley, the next stop on this itinerary.
Kangaroo Valley is known to be as green as Ireland and with the Australian bush and escarpments framing it.
There’s so much to see and do here, it’s really a pretty place to spend a few days.
Things to do in Kangaroo Valley:
- Historic Hampden Bridge
- Fitzroy Falls
- See wild wombats at Bendeela Picnic Area
- Upper Kangaroo river for a picnic or bbq
- Cycle (or drive) the Upper Kangaroo River Road
Places to Eat & Drink in Kangaroo Valley:
- Sweet As Kangaroo Valley Fudge House and Gelato Shop
- The Friendly Inn Hotel
- Burrawang Village Hotel
Places to stay in Kangaroo Valley: Crystal Creek Meadows
Read our review of Crystal Creek Meadows and our post on things to do in Kangaroo Valley
Stop 3: Jervis Bay (4 Nights)
Drive for another 1 hour and 10 minutes from Kangeroo Valley and you will reach our next destination, Jervis Bay.
Jervis Bay is magical and easily one of the best beach destinations in Australia. I have no doubt you will be blown away by the beauty just like I was.
The Jervis Bay area needs most of your attention, which is why I recommend you stay for 4 nights/3 days at a minimum.
There is so much to see and do around Jervis Bay, from exploring its lush beaches, taking whale watching cruises or exploring the beautiful Booderee National Park, which are arguably the best beaches in NSW South Coast.
Things to do in Jervis Bay:
- Hyams Beach
- White Sands Walk
- Green Patch Beach
- Greenfields Beach
- Murrays Beach
- Chinamans Beach
- Booderee National Park
- Scottish Rocks
- Kayak along Currambene Creek
- Go fishing / whale watching
Read our post on top things to do in Jervis Bay, NSW.
Places to Eat & Drink in Jervis Bay:
- The Husky Pub
- Husky Bakery & Cafe (famous for pies)
- Hyams Beach Cafe
- Picnic or BBQ at any of the Beaches
Stop 4: Murramarang National Park (2 Nights)
Now we’re getting into rural territory, it’s time to ditch technology and enjoy cutting off for a couple of nights. The drive between Jervis Bay and Murramarang National Park is only 1.5 hours, but you will want to drive slowly and stop off along the way for amazing coastal views.
Take a detour over to Milton and the neighbouring towns of Mollymook and Ulladulla on the way to the national park, which is known to have amazing places to eat such as Rick Stein at Bannisters. Be sure to check out Cupitt’s Estate Winery in Ulladulla if you’re a wine lover.
Murramarang National Park is a great place to go camping, either by pitching a tent or staying at a caravan park near Batemans Bay or Bermagui.
It’s one of the best places in Australia to spot eastern grey kangaroos.
If you have time at your disposal, you can walk the entire Murramarang South Coast Walk which takes 3 days, and takes you through the parks most beautiful sites, from craggy cliffs to grassy headlands.
Things to do in Murramarang National Park
- Pretty Beach
- Pebbly Beach (famous for kangaroos)
- Depot Beach
- Durras Beach
- The Pretty Beach to Merry Beach coastal walk
- Mogo Zoo
Stop 5: Narooma (2 Nights)
Drive for an hour and a half South along the Princes Highway and you will reach Narooma.
Narooma is another sleepy town that is simply stunning. The scenery is breathtaking and so unique, in fact, the name Narooma means “blue water” in ancient aboriginee, so you can pretty much expect beautiful waters here no matter when you visit.
I don’t think I have ever seen water that colour before in any other place in NSW.
It’s also a great place to rent a bike and cycle between beaches, check out impressive rock formations, take a boat cruise over to the nearby nature reserve, Montague Island, where you can see native seals and penguins, or you can simply bath on the beach.
Things to do in Narooma:
- Cycle The Mill Bay Boardwalk (look for stingrays)
- Bar Beach
- Bar Lookout
- 12 km to cycle way to Dalmeny Beach
- Australia Rock at sunrise
- Montague Island Nature Reserve (breathtaking wildlife sanctuary)
- Central Tilba Markets
- Bodalla Dairy Shed to learn about Tilba Cheese
- Drive to Camel Rock and swim in the blue pool ocean pool
Places to Eat & Drink in Narooma:
- The Quarterdeck (cool cafe and bar on the water)
Where to Stay in Narooma: Horizon Holiday Apartments is a 4-star hotel, just a few minutes’ walk from Narooma Surf Beach and the town center
Stop 6: Merimbula (2 Nights)
From Narooma, it’s a 1 hour and 25 minute drive south to our next and final stop, Merimbula.
We actually stayed in Eden when we visited Merimbula, but don’t stay in Eden. Merimbula is a nicer town. We make these mistakes so you don’t have to
Merimbula is a small town on the Saphire Coast and is known for having surf breaks over a sandbank at the beach, so surfers can find excellent waves all year round. The nearby Short Point is a great place to see humpback whales during their annual migration (June to November).
Things to do in Merimbula:
- Ben Boyd National Park (don’t miss the Pinnacles)
- Cycle the Merimbula Boardwalk
- Mimosa Rocks National Park
- Merimbula Bar Beach
- Short Point Beach
- Whale watching in Eden
- Visit Potoroo Palace to see wombats, echidnas and kangaroos
- Tathra Wharf
Final Thoughts on This 2 Week South West Coast Itinerary
The South West Coast is an underrated region in Australia and one of our favorite parts of New South Wales.
It has some of the best beaches in Aus, incredible natural beauty, and a sleepy small-town atmosphere that allows you to disconnect and recharge your batteries.
I hope that this guide gave you some inspiration for how to plan your South Coast NSW road trip and helped you work out where to stay and what to do.
Have you already been to South Coast NSW? What places would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.