With a name like Mountain Ridge Wines, it is no surprise that this winery has spectacular views to take in while you enjoy a tasting of liquid gold on this family-run farm, vineyard, restaurant and café. It’s lovely that the wine bottle labels are paintings by local artists. Top picks are the 2018 Organic Shiraz and the 2019 Semillon.
At Coolangatta Estate, it’s not just wine you can taste; you can also savour the history of the area. In 1822, Alexander Berry picked Coolangatta as the site for the first settlement on the NSW South Coast, with many buildings from the era still in use. Book a tasting then take a history tour of the Estate.
Another with gorgeous views is Two Figs, a family-owned boutique winery overlooking the meandering Shoalhaven. Book a tasting and accompany it with a cheese platter. The Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 Shiraz and the Frizzante Dulce are excellent and several more bottles may find themselves in your boot.
If three aren’t enough, slightly further afield there is Crooked River Wines at Gerringong, Silos Estate at Berry and the very popular Cupitt’s Estate, which is a winery, fromagerie, microbrewery and restaurant between Milton and Ulladulla.
There is so much to do it is hard to pick. Do discover Seven Mile Beach, which is stunning at sunrise. Go for a horse ride, hit the surf, or walk all the way up the beach to Gerroa.
Keen hikers can also do the Kiama Coastal Trail from Gerringong to Kiama, which is home to the famous Blowhole next by the Lighthouse.
Jervis Bay delivers a raft of activities with many aquatic delights. Go for a swim at the famous Hyams Beach with its white sand, or go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, whale watching, dolphin spotting or even better, snorkel with seals or swim with whales with Dive Jervis Bay.
There is more water fun to be had at the beautiful ocean pools in the area. Splash out at Ourie Pool in Werri Beach or the historic Boat Harbour Ocean Pool in Gerringong.
Antique shopping is all the go in Berry or save your money and go chasing waterfalls in the area, with two of the best being Minnamurra Falls and Carrington Falls, around Kiama.
Bangalay Luxury Villas at Shoalhaven Heads added a liberal dose of city flair and elegance to this beachside village when it opened in 2018.
It offers 14 one-bedroom villas and two two-bedrooms, plus a four-bedroom pet-friendly house right next door.
The property is steps from Seven Mile Beach and backs onto Shoalhaven Heads Golf Course. Apart from the fabulous villas, the jewel in the crown is the restaurant. Bangalay Dining is excellent, with chef Simon Evans incorporating a range of native Australian ingredients. Pre-dinner have the new favourite cocktail – The Warming Sonny.
At the exquisite Dovecote, it’s all about the location, with two architecturally striking stand-alone properties located on farmland by the seaside. The Headland has four bedrooms while The Ranch has two, and both offer luxuries such as spa treatments, wine tasting on site with a sommelier or dinner cooked by a chef, so you don’t need to lift a finger.
For something a little less luxurious, Mercure Gerringong Resort has 52 rooms and is a great base from which to explore the region. Book a treatment at Bella Spa, then enjoy a beautiful meal at Bella Char Restaurant and Wine Bar.
Two great foodie experiences
For something special, book a cooking class at Far Meadow Table in Berry.
Courses include Back to Basics, the Basics of Bread and Pastry Making, Vegan and Vegetarian Essentials, and Room for Dessert.
A tree-change bought Kath and Iain Smart to Berry, and they have created something truly amazing. They also offer Long Table lunches and dinners under a very photogenic elm tree. Forget the car once you settle in, you won’t want to leave.
Learn about oysters – oh, and eat some of them as well – on a tour at Jim Wild’s Oysters at Greenwell Point.
Jim nurtures Greenwell Point rock oysters and Pacific oysters in both the Crookhaven and Shoalhaven Rivers, and shucks them fresh for visitors.
Jim also offers tours covering the life cycle of an oyster, from spawning to the table. But be sure to book tours ahead.