February 7, 2020 / By Emma Moylan
The South Coast is already known for its pristine beaches, lush rolling hills, magnificent national parks and fascinating heritage, but its best-kept secret is the region’s outstanding fresh food produce and elegant, cool-climate wines. Stretching from the Illawarra and Kiama to the Eurobodalla towns of Batemans Bay, Moruya and Eden, visitors can enjoy freshly shucked oysters, artisan cheeses, pasture-raised produce, sweet treats, and boutique, award-winning wines.
With so much to see and do and only a short drive from Sydney, it’s easy to turn a day trip into a sublimely indulgent short break. Create your own food and wine trail as you sample limited-release varietals from innovative winemakers. Or, satisfy your appetite at one of the many incredible restaurants or cafes, all influenced by local freshness and ingredients sourced from the crystal-clear waters and rich volcanic soils.
Whether you have a sweet tooth or a taste for the savoury – don't forget to bring your picnic basket and esky because your taste buds are in for a treat!
Experience the very best produce fresh from local farms by visiting Martin's Orchard for irresistibly juicy cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums sold directly from their Wandanian farm gate on the Princes Highway.
If a more hands-on approach is your style, you can pick your own fruit straight from the bushes at Clyde River Berry Farm, or have a go harvesting your own chestnuts and walnuts at Sassafras Nuts located at Sassafras in the Budawang Ranges.
With a long history of dairy farming and cheesemaking, the South Coast is home to healthy, contented dairy cows who graze on the fertile pastures to produce fresh, flavoursome milk. A visit to the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre is a must for lovers of dairy and history, where you can taste gorgeous handmade cheeses and learn about the cheesemaking process.
The Bodalla Dairy Shed's famous cheese is made with unhomogenised milk, and behind the dairy is a working farm where you can meet the cheesemakers and watch calves being fed.
Every day’s a picnic
There's no better place to have a meal than in the great outdoors, so make it a truly special culinary experience to remember by stocking up on goodies for your picnic basket from one of the many farmer's markets scattered throughout the area such as Sage Farmers Market at Moruya. Or, fill your shopping basket with mouth-watering deli items.
Kangaroo Valley Olives sell handpicked, naturally processed olives direct to the public and you can pick up smoked seafood products from the popular Eden Smokehouse, including naturally smoked Atlantic salmon.
Experience the best of contemporary cuisine at Rick Stein's restaurant at Bannisters By The Sea. Or, if you're looking for a more casual vibe check out Kanpai in Huskisson for Asian-inspired fare.
Wondering where to get a caffeine fix? Hyper Hyper in Nowra is a Shoalhaven coffee institution specialising in authentic 50’s, flavoursome mid/northern Italian style espresso.
What better way to get a taste for the region than by spending an afternoon with a glass of wine (or two!) Home to a multitude of exquisite wineries, a trip to the South Coast wouldn't be complete without a visit to at least one cellar door. Silos Estate on the outskirts of historic Berry makes wines that emphasise the unique characteristics of the region.
Further down the coast you’ll find Two Figs, a boutique winery and vineyard sitting atop one of Mount Coolangatta’s foothills. Learn firsthand about the winemaking process at Cupitt's Winery where you can savour the distinctiveness of old world quality with cool-climate varietals, influenced by traditional French and Italian methods.
Your sweet tooth will tingle as soon as you step inside Woodstock Chocolate Co. on the outskirts of the picturesque South Coast village of Milton. Grab a box of handmade chocolates to take home or gobble them up on the spot. Merimbula Ice Creamery is also a tempting stop on the sweet treat trail, offering 50 flavours with house-made waffle cones and 14 flavours of fluffy syrup milkshakes.
So, what are you waiting for? The South Coast of NSW is a delicious destination. With stunning coastal vistas and verdant hills as a backdrop, embark into a world of scrumptious markets, craft wines, acclaimed restaurants, local fish and chips, and hand-picked strawberries.
We think you should know: The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in, or referred to in this article.