by Mary Foreman,
From enjoying a fine glass of wine at a swanky Newcastle eatery to hiking through the scenic trails of the Greater Blue Mountains, there are any number of adventurous, culturally enriching and family-friendly activities to explore across New South Wales. Your travel itinerary is filling quickly, but you still want to spend a few hours of your vacation relaxing on any of NSW’s best beaches. Realistically, splashing in the crystal blue waters and napping under an umbrella on the sand are the true reasons why you’re visiting the area, so why not enjoy yourself at any one of these beautiful beaches.
Situated about 82 km south of Sydney, you’ll find the port city of Wollongong. Known by many for its industry and the Nan Tien Temple — which is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Australia, you’ll quickly associate Wollongong more with the 17 beautiful, pristine beaches stretched along its shores. If your main objective is surfing, stick to Stanwell Park, Coalcliff, Coledal or Thirroul. Aside from featuring some impressive breaks, all these beaches are patrolled from September through April. If you love the water or have children but hate the idea of facing the potentially brutal surf breaks, several beaches in Wollongong feature rock pools. The most popular include Coalcliff, Coledale, Austinmer and Bulli. Aside from convenience, the sheer variety of beaches ensures you’ll always find a spot on the sand to throw a towel and relax between surf lessons.
Hyams Beach is a small town situated along the shores of Jervis bay and found 180 km south of Sydney. Hyams Beach boasts a beautiful beachfront, which feels much more organic and wild thanks in part to the nearby Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens. The sand found along the shore also sets it apart from the rest, namely because it is so white. You’ve probably read the phrase “beautiful white-sand beaches” in numerous travel brochures, but you haven’t seen anything until you walked along Hyams Beach. The “Guinness Book of World Records” actually proclaimed Hyams Beach as having the whitest sand anywhere in the world. If Hyams Beach is too crowded, there are two more lovely stretches of sand found at nearby Chinaman’s Beach or Seaman’s Beach.
Aside from having what is arguably the coolest name of all Australia’s beaches, Spooky’s Beach is often overlooked by several surfers on their way to either Yamba or Angourie. If you’re in the area, take the time to pull out your gear and lug it down the narrow incline to the beach. The first thing you’ll notice is the sheer lack of people, which is because so many forget that Spooky’s Beach even exists. Use this fact to your advantage by grabbing your board and enjoying the impressive break.
Seven Mile Beach
Beaches are the obvious first choice for swimming, but there is a unique spot that’s ideal if you’re looking to practise windsurfing or catch a few mulloway. Situated on Gerroa Road outside of Nowra, Seven Mile Beach lies in the centre of a national park, making it one of the most isolated stretches of sand in all of New South Wales. The spot is so confined it was actually a small runway for several decades. The planes are gone, but what was left behind is a long stretch of flattened earth that’s ideal to spend the day either teaching or practising windsurfing. The fisherman in your travel party will appreciate Seven Mile Beach’s variety of undersea life. Once you’re done playing in the surf, enjoy the beach’s picnic and barbeque area before heading back to the hotel.
When it comes to hotels, steer clear of Sydney and instead lodge in one of New South Wales’ more charming, smaller towns and villages. For instance, there are plenty of reasonably priced and lovely Byron Bay hotels to stay at. The city itself boasts several festivals and events to enjoy.